Gesel Mason's burst! Takes the Virtual Stage This February


February 4, 2021

For immediate release:

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Conceived and Directed by
Gesel Mason

February 25-27, 2021


Texas Theatre and Dance presents Gesel Mason’s burst!, streaming February 25-27, 2021 as part of the Texas Theatre and Dance 2020/2021 Season. Part of an ongoing investigation that seeks to reimagine our identities and create space for individual voices to impact our collective community, burst! Uses contemporary dance and movement techniques developed as an extension of Mason’s project Yes, And. This methodology works to unravel our current perceptions of self and society in search of freedom; the freedom “to find” and to “be found” from a recalibrated place.

The term "burst" can mean many things - bursting with joy, with laughter, with color; or a burst of anger or violence. To "burst" can also be to rupture or to disrupt. This work is one chapter of a larger investigation of this concept, developed in part through Mason's work at the Texas Performing Arts/Fusebox Festival residency program in Fall 2020. As time continues to march forward, how do our shared experiences and voices shift? How can we find ourselves amidst this ever-changing landscape? What can we learn from this moment and how do we find our own unique voice while holding space for each other? 

“We find ourselves in a unique moment in history as we seek to emerge from a global pandemic, civic unrest, political division and a racial reckoning,” shares Gesel Mason. “I see this moment of rupture as an opportunity to see ourselves and our world anew…burst! is both a physical practice and a curiosity about what might emerge from that practice…there is nothing ‘normal’ about this moment or this event. We are making socially-distant dances on zoom…and yet, we persist. burst! is a journey of undoing and exploring methodologies of transformation. We hold space for each other as we delve into the messiness and joy of not knowing.”

Gesel Mason is a choreographer, performer, educator and arts facilitator. She is the artistic director of Gesel Mason Performance Projects and an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin. She was a member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance Projects. She has also performed with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah and under the direction of Chuck Davis, Jacek Łumiński (Silesian Dance Theatre), Murray Louis and Victoria Marks. In her work, Mason utilizes dance, theatre, humor and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected or perspectives considered taboo. Mason’s solo project NO BOUNDARIES: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, NEFA’s National Dance Project and National Performance Network. In 2017, Mason was one of four choreographers commissioned to create work for American Dance Festival’s Footprints. In 2015, she received a Map Fund for her project antithesis, which challenged how female sexuality is perceived, performed and (re)presented. Mason was one of six choreographers selected by the Joyce Theater for a Rockefeller Residency Initiative in 2011 and received the Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2007.

The production team for burst! includes: Lauren Akard (Production Assistant), Yunia Barbour-Payne (Dramaturg), Lilian Collins (Production Assistant), Kyle Evans (Live Stream Engineer), Eliot Gray Fisher (Video Designer), Matty Hall (Stage Manager), Libby Jantz (Assistant Lighting Designer), Ningmo Liu (Animation Designer), Gesel Mason (Choreographer), Tiffany Merritt-Brown (Production Coordinator), Ashton Bennet Murphy (Technical Director), Maya Parker (Rehearsal Assistant), Skyler Tepedino (Visual Arts Coordinator).  

For more information about burst!,  please visit


February 25-27, 2021 – The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance presents burst! – details available at

Performance times are February 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. (CST). All ticketing for the 2020/2021 Season will be available at pay-what-you-can pricing. All performances this season will be presented virtually. Details about how to stream performances will be made available at: More information about ticketing is available at:

Texas Theatre and Dance is committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and audiences. Due to the uncertain nature of our current times, all titles, dates, times and presentation details may be subject to change. 


The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance is a world-class educational environment that serves as the ultimate creative incubator for the next generation of artists, thinkers and leaders in theatre and performance.

Texas Theatre and Dance is a proud participant of The JUBILEE, a year-long, nationwide theatre festival featuring work generated by those who have traditionally been excluded – including, but not limited to artists of color, Native American and Indigenous and First Nations artists, women, non-binary and gender non-conforming artists, LGBTQIA2+ artists, Deaf artists and artists with disabilities. 


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