Jos McKain

Jos McKain is a classically-trained and self-taught dance maker and performance artist.  His creative work approaches performances as a shamanic ritual where the heightened state of performance acts as a trance-like state.   This work is reflective of formative years spent on Indian Reservations and training in the classical East Indian Kathak with Master Teacher Priya Lasya-ji.  Since then his training has encompassed Dunham Technique, West African forms, yoga, Tai Chi and a 5 year mentorship with Sean Greene, former master teacher of the Bella Lewitsky Dance Company.

Currenty based in between LA and NYC McKain has been performing for over a decade in the Los Angeles area.  First as creative director and choreographer of the Bush-era dada-punk collective, The Vixen Kabarett, once described as “ …..a cross between the Pussycat Dolls Live and A Clockwork Orange”   Since then his focus has shifted towards contemporary performance/dance.  Specifically focusing on the transient nature of digital memory onto analog bodies and the Internet as a spiritual practice. Performance is a language, predating any formalized approach to visual art.  Before we drew on the walls in caves we howled around campfires and frenzied our persons into a sweat. 

He has curated shows for Machine Project, Highways and Electronic Daisy Carnival.  His venue credits include Carnegie Hall, MOMA PS1, LACMA, MOCA and MOA. He has appeared in work by Ryan Heffington, WIFE, Marina Abramovic, Scott Benzel, Jerome Bel, Daft Punk, Mike Kelley, and Peter Bogdonovich. 

Artist Statement

My choreography exists to provide physical facsimile of experience and memory. Using the body as an empirical tool to rely upon subjectivity rather than intellectualization.  Intentionally questioning the act of intellectualization as an assumption of objectivity.  Of particular interest to me is the association between observation and performance that enables an indeterminate transaction.  Traditional artistic transaction limits the parties into abstract analysis of creative capita. 


Using distilled archetypes I conceive ritual structures to analyze the relationship between abstraction and reality.  Often citing the atavistic nature of performance.  My practice is predominately dance based, recovers gestural movements that shift between lithe choreography and immobility.  Employing the body as the source of physicality and perception; developing trace amounts of chaos to reveal the abjective in expectation.   The work maintains its simplicity and is practically layered using informal content to reinforce a sense of familiarity to contrast with an unfamiliar aesthetic. The desired effect is to keep the observer in the now.


Featured in Spin Magazines 2013 Best of EDC



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Nathaly Charria