Gender nonconforming artist to give Zoom presentations for Fredonia

Roger Coda
photo of dancer Donald Shorter Jr.

Donald C. Shorter Jr., a gender nonconforming artist, will conduct two separate programs – a conversation exploring community activism and the arts and presentation of his one-woman show “Genderosity” – on consecutive nights via Zoom.

Shorter will lead a conversation focused on his experiences that touches upon what it means to be a nonbinary African American art maker within various fields in 2020. As an activist, Shorter thrives on having conversations about the world around him that include the current political climate.

“Having a community-engaged conversation will allow for more open dialogue, potentially leading to ideas for solutions of how we can move forward toward a more inclusive society,” explained Department of Theatre and Dance Assistant Professor Anthony Alterio.

The Zoom session will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and registration is required.

Shorter’s Zoom programs are supported by the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities of the Fredonia College Foundation.

In writing “Genderosity,” the second Zoom presentation, Shorter looks at the process of his drag transformation and uses drag to talk about gender nonconformity. The show has toured nationally and gained critical acclaim among audiences.

As a Black queer nonbinary dancer, Shorter presents the voice of a marginalized person so it can be heard during times when hate speech and exclusionary rhetoric become increasingly more common. “Donald leads the way through this performance and calls upon various communities to address difficult topics that promote inclusion,” Mr. Alterio explained. It is crucial for the voice of the marginalized person of this stature to be heard, he added.

“Genderosity” will be presented on Friday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. A post-performance discussion that includes a question/answer session will follow, and registration is required.

Multiple artistic titles have been applied to Shorter, including activist, choreographer, dancer, singer, actor, gender nonconformist and drag queen, which he notes are interchangeable on any given day. Shorter has appeared in national Broadway touring productions of “Hairspray,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “A Chorus Line” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Shorter has an M.F.A. in Dance from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A. in Liberal Studies and minor in dance, both from West Chester University.

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