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_POWER OUCH! banner by Kevin Plattner 80

Links Hall • February 14–17, 2019

3111 N Western Ave, Chicago

POWER OUCH! is a four-night festival of body-based performance examining the ways violence shapes our lives and our experiences. The program features dance, installation, and performance art: work that looks like self-defense and like battle, that grapples with complex forces—resisting, yielding, mobilizing—to offer a solid blow against oppression. The festival is co-curated by Aurora Tabar and Carole McCurdy.

Press coverage of festival: See Chicago Dance, Scapi Magazine, New City.


Festival Schedule

Thursday, February 14 
A Study of Violence 

Cat Mahari with Keaundre Key Lane
Make the Brutal Tender

Eryka Dellenbach, Hanna Elliot, and Nola Sporn Smith

Friday, February 15          

A Study of Violence 

Cat Mahari with Keaundre Key Lane

Rotten Tomatoes

Carly Broutman

Make the Brutal Tender

Eryka Dellenbach, Hanna Elliot, and Nola Sporn Smith

Saturday, February 16      
Sword Fights and Other Things to Do with Your Manhood

Jeff Hancock, Joseph Hutto, and Rob Welcher
Agentic Mode: Abbreviated History

Marcela Torres with choreographic assistance by Shay Bears

Sunday, February 17        

Sword Fights and Other Things to Do with Your Manhood

Jeff Hancock, Joseph Hutto, and Rob Welcher

Rotten Tomatoes

Carly Broutman
Punch Piece 11

Holly Arsenault

































Featured Works


Holly Arsenault: Punch Piece 11
Holly Arsenault’s installation, Punch Piece 11, uses modeling clay and mixed-media sculptures to explore the vulnerability of human flesh as it is punched, torn, or otherwise mutilated.

Carly Broutman: Rotten Tomatoes
In Rotten Tomatoes Carly Broutman asks how far the body can be pushed. In her piece, Carly repetitively slams her body on the ground, teetering between self-abuse and a sense of continued perseverance over obstacles.

Eryka Dellenbach, Hanna Elliot, and Nola Sporn Smith: Make the Brutal Tender

Make the Brutal Tender is an ongoing multi-disciplinary project initiated by Eryka Dellenbach in winter 2017. Originally begun as a movement study with a single female collaborator, Make the Brutal Tender developed into a deliberate practice of holding space for play and exploration of the thresholds and contours of the sacred, the venomous, and the “brute” in interpersonal female dynamics. The work is informed indiscriminately by raw personal anecdotes, cinema, non-human species, EMDR therapy, flamenco, butoh, and more.

Jeff Hancock, Joseph Hutto, and Rob Welcher: Sword Fights and Other Things to Do with Your Manhood
Sword Fights and Other Things to Do with Your Manhood explores the themes of touch between men within the prevailing cultural norms in the United States—what is expected of men, what is allowed, and how that affects gay men in particular—and how that touch is perceived by others, especially when that touch is intimate or gentle versus aggressive or violent.

Cat Mahari: A Study of Violence

A Study of Violence is a study of accumulation drawn from the solo mixtape series Violent/Break: Volumes II & I, both of which attempt to develop a personal and social relationship with definitions, parameters, and experiences of violence. The work looks at violence through the lens of an ontological relational process between human beings via humor, krump, hip hop, pugilism, and cathartic properties.  The work is performed by Cat Mahari and Keaundre Lane (AKA King Rockstar) of the Chi-Buxk Collective. Mahari also designed the sound and video projection.

Marcela Torres: Agentic Mode: Abbreviated History
Performed by Marcela Torres, with choreographic assistance by Shay Bears
The combatant was not an isolated individual: his actions were taken on behalf of the nation, a hierarchical military establishment, and an intimate, interdependent platoon—this was what distinguished martial combat from murder. In civilian as well as in martial contexts, the power of such institutions was frequently used to legitimate brutal behavior; people slipped into an agentic mode and acted in ways they would otherwise find unacceptable.

The Artists


Holly Arsenault currently resides in Chicago. They graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018 with their BFA. They have shown at Dollhouse, The Bridge, Comfort Station, and Video! Video! Zine and are currently working on their next film.

Carly Broutman graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee with a BFA in Dance. She has performed for many independent choreographers around the city. She is currently dancing with Lucid Banter Project and Innervation Dance Cooperative.

Eryka Dellenbach is an artist based between Chicago and New York. She is motivated by the palpability of corporeal and psychological thresholds, which she perceives as being malleable locations of consciousness. Eryka creates multi-sensory film and performance works with a focus on sound and brutal, sensual physicality. Dellenbach earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in Film from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She works as an instructor of celluloid filmmaking at MONO NO AWARE in Brooklyn.

Hanna Elliott is a Chicago-based performance, sound, and visual artist that hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Her interest in Dionysian art is reflected in the meditative, crude, and absurdist use of voice , body, and rhythm to probe states of trauma and ecstasy. Elliott received her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 and currently performs live musical instruments and designs electronic sound for the groups HOGG and Abstructum.

Jeff Hancock just completed an MFA from Hollins University in choreography, with an emphasis on somatics and queer theory. He performs, teaches, choreographs, and designs movement and clothing that moves all over the US and abroad. He examines the potential mutual influence of the performance of movement and clothing. Since 1990, throughout his years dancing for River North, Hubbard Street, Same Planet Different World, and many others, his dance and design lives collided, supported, and informed each other. Humans, movement, and curiosity about the semiotics of clothing have fueled his long history of aesthetic exploration ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, minimalism to excess.

Joseph Hutto began dancing at 13 and has had a varied commercial and contemporary career in dance for over 22 years now. He has a BFA in dance from University of Georgia and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked in professional contemporary dance companies, trained in aerial arts with coaches from Cirque du Soleil, taught jazz hip-hop contemporary and aerial at many colleges, studios, and conservatories, and gigged it commercially throughout his career, appearing in music videos, commercial ads, television shows, performance events, award shows live, etc. As an out and proud member of the LGBTQ, Poz, and Kink communities (among others) he is ecstatic about being able to collaborate with other artists he truly respects.

Keaundre “Key” Lane, a founding member of the Chicago-based Chi-Buxk Collective, provides knowledge and awareness of krump in Chicago and beyond in order to positively impact individuals and engage the world.

Cat Mahari creates work based in personal and collective transformational possibilities. She is a street-dance-based interdisciplinary movement artist whose work is informed by embodied practice and critical research. Chi-Buxk, a Chicago-based krump collective, provides knowledge and awareness of krump in Chicago through building respect for the culture by positively impacting individuals.

Nola Sporn Smith is a dance and theater artist from Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she received a BFA Dance degree and a minor in the School of Kinesiology. Since returning to NYC, Nola has performed with Donna Uchizono Company, cakeface, Stacy Grossfield, Kensaku Shinohara, Emily Smith/NOT for reTAIL, and others. Nola also creates solo performance art for theatrical spaces and music venues, and has been making work with collaborator Molly Ross as MOLLY&NOLA since July 2017.

Marcela Torres is a social strategist, bringing into action performance, objects, workshops, and sound installation. Torres mobilizes theory and practice to reconfigure social structures and improve navigation of daily life, pairing alternative learning methods with martial arts—using this as a formal language—for the audience to witness a true representation of conflict. Torres has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Three Walls Gallery, Performance Is Alive: Miami Art Week, Detroit’s Fringe Festival, New York City’s Itinerant Festival, Virtual International Exchange in Boston and BarTalk in The Hague, Netherlands. Torres has exhibited work at the Flatlands Gallery in Houston, Texas; Fosdick Nelson Gallery at Alfred University; Acre Gallery in Chicago; Green Gallery at Yale School of Art. Upcoming performances and exhibitions include a two-person exhibition at Roots & Culture Chicago and solo exhibition at Tropical Contemporary in Eugene, Oregon.

Rob Welcher is a Chicago-based contact improviser, performer, and teacher. He is a 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist and a 2018 Chicago DCASE (Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) individual artist grant recipient. He earned his master’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Michigan. He is part of the team that facilitates the Chicago contact jam and pre-jam class. He is a frequent guest CI teacher at DePaul University and Columbia College in Chicago. Guest teaching roles outside Chicago include Ontario Regional Contact Jam (2018, Toronto), NDEO’s Men in Dance Conference (2017, UWV), Contact Meets Contemporary Festival (2016, Germany). His most recent work, Volledig: Emptied of Shame, Full of Life, about the HIV/AIDS crisis, was seen at Links Hall and included Paul Hamilton, Merrick Mitchell, Ted Sollinger, and Power Ouch! artists Jeff Hancock, Joseph Hutto, and Cat Mahari.

Cat Mahari (images by Cat Mahari and Sabrina Chan)

Marcela Torres (image by Jesse Meredith)

dellenbach and smith3 by Brandon Perdomo

Eryka Dellenbach and Nola Sporn Smith (image by Brandon Perdomo)

Robe Welcher by Scrappers Film Group.jpe

Rob Welcher (image by Scrappers Film Group)

Cat Mahari by Cat Mahari and Sabrina Cha
Marcela Torres wide by Jesse Meredith .j
Holly Arsenault by Grace Rutter.jpg

Holly Arsenault (image by Grace Rutter)

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