Chris Emile

The Horse

Downtown LA

September 15, 17, 18, 2022 7:30PM

Photos by Gary Askew.

Listen on NTS Radio

Capacity is limited. All attendees are encouraged to wear white.

LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) presents The Horse, a 45 minute immersive performance directed, choreographed and performed by Chris Emile. Developed during a three month creative residency, The Horse is the result of a collaborative process between Emile, sound architect Cody Perkins, vocalist Alevonallure, lighting designer Jason Fox, and a small circle of West African drummers with guidance from Vodun practitioners.

The Horse evokes the supernatural experience of spiritual possession. In Vodun tradition, a “horse” is a person possessed, being “ridden” by a possessing deity. In combining somatic practice, theology and research into the origins of ballet, Emile reassesses what traditional balletic training deems the role of the performer/dancer. The resulting work embodies ancestral knowledge, reverence for African religions, the human-divine connection, and, in reintroducing catharsis into performance, reclaims the relationship between body and spirit.

The Horse is a contemporary ritual. All are invited to witness and experience a shared catharsis.

The Horse by Chris Emile is commissioned by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division).

Evan Greer – Drummer

Kevin Moore – Drummer

Nery Madrid – Drummer

Alexis Vaughn – Vocalist

Cody Perkins – Sound Architecture

Jason Fox – Lighting

Liz Montecastro – Costume

Hatt Merlino – Audio Engineer

Daniela Aramayo – Producer

Special thanks to Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center and James R. Eads

This performance will take place outside. Floor seating and chairs will be available on a first come first serve basis. You are welcome to bring your own blankets and pillows for seating on the floor. If you need specific accessibility accommodations, please email

About Chris Emile

Based in Los Angeles, Chris Emile is an active director, choreographer, educator, and performer. He received his formidable dance education from Lula Washington, Karen McDonald, the Ailey School, and holds a BFA in Dance from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet/Dominican University BFA program as a member of the inaugural class. As a dancer, Chris has performed with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Morphoses, Luna Negra Dance Theater, and BODYTRAFFIC performing the works of master choreographers such as Nacho Duato, Idan Sharabi, Stijn Celis, Barak Marshall, and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano.

Chris’s directorial and choreographic work oscillates between the experiential, film, stage, and commercial worlds. He is a 2022 Artadia Award Finalist. His film work has been presented by the Getty Museum, Compound LB, NOWNESS, 4:3 Boiler Room, Art + Practice, and CULTURED Magazine. His choreographic work has been commissioned by  Solange Knowles, the Kennedy Center, Sao Paolo Opera, Anderson Paak, Moses Sumney, San Francisco Symphony, Opera Omaha, the University of Southern California, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, and LA Opera for the Pulitzer Prize winning opera p r i s m where he also assistant directed. Chris’s first solo exhibition was presented by the MAK Center for Art & Architecture in 2020.  AMEND explored Black male identity through movement, cinema, sculpture and sound. Emile employed archival & contemporary found footage with artifactual set design to re-render the modern architectural marvel that is the Schindler House into a sacred, private place: a home amenable for Black dealing and healing. An intergenerational cast of three dancers acting as one man, move the audience through the house and through time working their way through the question: who, if not me, decides what a Black man is?

He is the co-founder/curator for the movement based project No)one. Art House where he has programmed site specific performances, films, educational workshops, and movement based installations with institutions such as Hauser & Wirth, the Getty Museum, SAINT HERON, Refinery 29, St. Germain,  the 14th Factory, and the California African American Museum among others.

As an educator, he has been a guest lecturer at the California Institute of the Arts, UCLA, AMDA, Loyola Marymount University, Pomona College, Boston Conservatory, and UC Irvine. He also coordinates a week long workshop every summer entitled CIPHER that engages movement based artists in an intense daily practice of meditation, movement research, and composition study.


The Horse by Chris Emile is commissioned by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) and is being presented as a part of Gatherings, LAND’s ongoing series of public installations, performances, collaborations and offerings reimagining civic spaces and ways of gathering with artists who weld ritual, myth, ancestral knowledge, and communal practices to navigate and reimagine the world. Gatherings is presented with support from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

LAND’s 2022 exhibitions are made possible with lead support from the Offield Family Foundation and the Jerry and Terri Kohl Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Department of Arts and Culture, the LA Arts Recovery Fund, Wilhelm Family Foundation, and LAND’s Nomadic Council. Special thanks to Artist Sponsors Karen Hillenburg, Brenda Potter, Abby Pucker, Jay and Deanie Stein Foundation Trust, and the Poncher Family Foundation.

LAND is a member-supported organization. Support LAND’s free, public programming by becoming a member today.