Sink 1 Robbie Sweeny

NOV 9 + 10
1621 12th Ave.


An intimate solo of rants, dance, and chants by Keith Hennessy


This November, Velocity welcomes Keith Hennessy for a week-long visit including a workshop, Speakeasy, and performance of Sink. Sink’s approach to current politics waivers between punk and contemplative, transformative and fucked. Loneliness, a lifejacket, a white man, a shadow dance, a long angry sad song, and love, suspended.

The performance is an embodied response to the current political, economic, and social shifts that have produced not only Trump and Brexit, Erdogan and Duterte, but also the massive refugee crises all over the world, the bombing of a Sufi mosque in Sinai, the repeated killing of journalists in Mexico, increased visibility of the neo-fascist right in the US and abroad, and the mass shootings in Charleston, Parkland, and Las Vegas.

Sink features poetic texts, contemplative dances, dark satire, plaintive chanting, re-processed nazi music, and an aerial dance. An intimate and confrontational portrait of the current era through the embodied perspective of a middle aged, white, gay male artist.

Hennessy says, “Sink is a personal experiment… I’m feeling fragile and distracted and that’s partly structural. I’m responding to hate and terror, shame and paralysis, the will to survive competing against the urge to implode/explode. I’m reaching in new and old directions, dancing contemplatively, climbing dangerously, singing my guts out, asking too many questions at once: Is freedom a useful concept to motivate dancing? Can a performance be a spell of support for Syrian and Sudanese refugees or victims of fire, hurricane and government betrayal? Is there a non harmful role for the white and male artist? In our need to create contexts for healing, care, and trauma relief, how can I defend artistic provocation or abstract formalism?”

Sink, verb: going under, to fall or drop gradually, to displace the volume by descending
Sink, idiom: everything but the kitchen sink

Choreography, performance, text, visuals: Keith Hennessy
Performers: Nathaniel Moore
Music: new and old compositions by Marc Kate, with additional songs by Sylvester and Terry Callier
Costumes: Jack Davis, Nadine Jessen, Keith Hennessy
Guest dancer December 2017 premiere: Aaron Perlstein
Guest dancer June 2018 & November 2019: Nathaniel Moore
Light design: Beth Hersh in collaboration with Grisel Torres and Keith Hennessy
Production Manager: Alley Wilde

PHOTO – Robbie Sweeny


KEITH HENNESSY (he/him) dances in and around performance. Born in Sudbury Canada, he lives in San Francisco since 1982 and tours internationally. His performances engage improvisation, ritual, collaboration, and protest as tools for investigating political realities. Practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, post/Modern dance, activist art, the Bay Area, wicca, punk, contact improvisation, indigeneity, and queer-feminist performance motivate and mobilise Hennessy’s work. Keith’s 2016-17 collaborators include Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, J Jha, Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, and the collaboratives Blank Map and Turbulence. 2017 awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Sui Generis award. Keith’s writings have been published in Contact Quarterly, Movement Research Journal, Performance Research (UK), Society of Dance History Scholars Journal, and Dance Theatre Journal (UK). Hennessy directs Circo Zero and was a member of Contraband with Sara Shelton Mann. Hennessy is a co-founder of CounterPULSE (formerly 848 Community Space) a thriving performance space in San Francisco. He earned an MFA and PhD from UC Davis.


Sink Trailer from Keith Hennessy / Circo Zero on Vimeo


“it confronts injustice with wild bursts of sentimentality and moments of savage beauty and grace…It is a clarion call for justice, the miracle of surviving, and an amazing journey that embraces a volcano of everyday emotions…” – John Wilkins, KQED (FULL REVIEW)

“There is something queer about Sink, a political purge in heels, a ritualized communal healing, a street-smart shamanic journey… Sink is unsinkable, heavy in content and reality, buoyantly hopeful in its alchemy.” – David Moreno, Culture Vulture (FULL REVIEW)

“Hennessy is as much a dramatic poet as a movement-artist; he knows how to mix the media… He keeps us precarious, and that’s the point.” – Paul Parrish, Bay Area Reporter (FULL REVIEW)

Click here to listen to Jennifer Chien and Keith Hennessy radio feature on KALW.

Sink is made possible with funding by The San Francisco Arts Commission OPG Grant, California Arts Council Local Impact Grant, and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation.