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Monday, January 12, 2015

Performance Artist Saturn Jones Vogues Into Pop

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:56 PM

click to enlarge ANTONIO DE LUCCI
  • Antonio De Lucci
Cathartic, gritty, and glam — Saturn Jones’s experimental dance performances have captivated the City’s queer club scene. The interdisciplinary artist works it out on stage at parties like Swagger Like Us and has opened for gender-bending rappers Big Freedia and Le1f.

Now hot off the heels of his conceptual performance series, “The Transcendence,” Saturn is currently gearing up for a U.S. tour (he plans to announce the details via social media in the coming weeks, so stay tuned). And along with the tour, he’ll be able to add singer-songwriter to his resume — his first musical release is nearing completion, a project he describes as “alien pop” as hyperactive and off-kilter as his dancing.

Saturn integrates conceptual art and pop in rapid-fire dance routines that pulsate with the sexuality of hip-hop and the fierceness of vogue. The choreography becomes more fascinating with his eclectic soundtracks and surreal costumes, which are as likely to reference BDSM and cybergoth fashion as they are to pull from The Spice Girls' wardrobes. Though he serves plenty of eye candy, Saturn’s work is more than just aesthetic. The artist says he uses dance as a storytelling medium. Performing, he explained, is his outlet for the frustration he experienced growing up gay and black. His choreography narrates his personal journey.

“It started with being angry at the fact that I was policed as a young boy by my friends and family for how I dressed and how I expressed myself,” said Saturn in an interview. “So I was just like, ‘Fuck, this is who I am.’ When I go on stage, I feel free.”

A Bay Area native, Saturn got his start performing at the now-defunct 18+ dance party Blow Up when he was fresh out of high school. As he enmeshed himself in the City’s club scene, his androgynous, often outlandish way of dressing and wildly expressive performances earned him a loyal following and more high-profile gigs. Performing became a way of conquering his inner insecurities and he says he hopes to use his newfound platform to spread a message of self-acceptance to his fans.

“I’m never just dancing, it’s just the way I’ve learned to express myself,” said Saturn. “I look at myself as a performance artist because it’s always emotive for me. I’m never on stage without a purpose. Every show, I’m performing the art of self-love and finding myself. I’m moving out of a place of doubt and fear and really embracing that I can be as great as I fucking want to be.”

While the scope of Saturn's reach has been limited because of the nature of his medium (you have to be there in person to truly experience his work), he hopes that his forthcoming musical release will take him to new heights. When asked about his end-game, he answered in one word: Madonna. Just as the megastar opened the door for women to express themselves in new ways, he hopes to do the same for gender non-conforming folks, especially people of color.

“I want to spread my love of self-love everywhere I go and I want to make that as big as possible,” he said. “People look to other people for things. We look to someone else for our belief in ourselves. It’s really been about creating positive images for me. If I can save myself with my art and other people can live through that, then that’s really cool.” 
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Nastia Voynovskaya

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