Maverick choreographer Joe Goode is internationally recognized as an innovator in the development of contemporary dance-theater. Since 1986, his Joe Goode Performance Group (JGPG) has been synthesizing a genre that combines text, gestures and humor with Goode’s own deeply physical, high-velocity dancing. In the episode “Trailblazers,” Spark trails along with Goode and his loyal company as they develop “Folk,” a brand new performance piece about rural life, with less than two months from the initial concept in Goode’s mind to the opening-night curtain.
Born in 1951, Goode earned a BFA in drama from Virginia Commonwealth University, then studied dance in New York City. In 1979, he began his signature genre of dance-theater synthesis. The essence of Goode’s concern as an artist is to explore a “deeply felt, profoundly human experience” in theater. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and prizes, including a New York Bessie; two Bay Area Izzies; a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship; and a Heritage Award from the California Dance Educators Association. Goode has recently joined the full-time faculty of the University of California at Berkeley in the department of theater, dance and performance studies.
To produce a new piece, rather than starting off with a story and filling it with material, Goode starts off with smaller elements and creates a story out of them. This process from creating original choreography and writing their own words and music to premiering the finished work usually takes the JGPG three to four months.
Over the past 13 years, Goode and his troupe have toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa. JGPG is committed to reaching out to population groups who have little access to the performing arts, including gay/lesbian/transgendered/bisexual teens and young adults, low-income and at-risk youth, juvenile offenders, senior citizens, and battered women, as well as pre-professional dance artists.