Dance Up Close to Raja Feather Kelly

Dance Up Close to Raja Feather Kelly
A. Nia Austin-Edwards (ANAE)/Follow @KwanzaaKid on Twitter

By A. Nia Austin-Edwards (ANAE)/Follow @KwanzaaKid on Twitter
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Published on December 4, 2013
Raja Feather Kelly as Drella. Photo by Andy Toad.

the feath3r theory Present's: Andy Warhol's "DRELLA (I love you Faye Driscoll)" at the Invisible Dog

the feath3r theory Present's: Andy Warhol's DRELLA (I love you Faye Driscoll)

At the Invisible Dog (click  Invisible Dog for ticket + info)

51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY 11201

December 12-13, 2013, 7:30PM

Concept + Direction: Raja Feather Kelly

Choreography + Performance: Raja Feather Kelly with Amy Gernux, Yvonne Hernandez, Nik Owens, Rachel Pritzlaff, Rebecca Hite-Teicheira, Connor Voss and Benjamin Wolk

“It’s been nearly 30 years since we have seen Andy Warhol alive and in drag.”

This how Raja Feather Kelly’s press release opens to describe his newest work-- the feath3r theory Presents: Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I love you Faye Driscoll). DRELLA is an alter-ego of Warhol’s, a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella. For DRELLA, Kelly  found himself developing a new movement vocabulary which he calls “vogue ballet.”

Kelly has been inspired and informed by Andy Warhol for years. “I don’t know art without Andy Warhol,” he says. (Warhol died the year Kelly was born.)

But, Andy Warhol is not Kelly's only inspiration. While he has worked with such phenomenal dance makers as David Dorfman, Reggile Willson, and Kyle Abraham, this artist also feels a bond to contemporary choreographer Faye Driscoll. Kelly has no direct connection to Driscoll, but senses that he and Driscoll are “asking the same questions.”

Raja Feather Kelly On His Inspirations

“I’m a director, " says Kelly when speaking of his work process. He invites dancers to develop movement. For this "vogue ballet", the dancers created short phrases with various themes: vougeing, petit allegro, cheerleading, and “competition” dance. Each cast member taught their phrases to the team and Kelly crafted their work into his movement creation, making for exciting collaborative process.

Raja Feather Kelly On Process

Choreography is only one aspect of this “multimedia ‘artsploitation’,” another important feature is DRELLA, a character that no one has ever seen. “If Warhol ever portrayed DRELLA, any records or video footage has been lost.” 

Kelly developed his DRELLA by examining Warhol’s 1981 ‘self-portraits in drag’ and photographs of ‘Lady Warhol’ by photographer Christopher Makos. He also invited his dancers to take on various characterizations of DRELLA based on different Makos photographs. Everyone performs in ‘white-face’ makeup.

“I can be white too!” Kelly interjects.

Raja Feather Kelly- What About White Face?


Join Raja Feather Kelly On December 12th & 13th, 2013, 7:30 pm at the Invisible Dog 51 Bergen Street ,Brooklyn

Experience the world premiere of the feath3r theory Presents: Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I love you Faye Driscoll) followed by an after party with DJ Patrick Robbins, Drella, and Dusty Shoulders. For info and tickets click INVISIBLE DOG

And Now Just For The Fun of It: Raja Kelly Outtakes


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