DISCOTROPIC 3rd I SIDE Tanz im August

Photography by Tanz im August
Photographs by Dajana Lothert

jCLAPBACK is about the power of black asses to shed our colonial oppressions, transcend the expectation of dying young, shift the earth’s gravitational field and jettison evil trolls,”
Working across dance performance, sculpture and educational forums “as ways to consider political issues of race and gender”, the event will feature the institution “as a white, blank surface, which he aims to mark by means of his choreographic action, moving across – and against – his audience.

DISCOTROPIC 3rd i Side i
at PS122's COIL 2016 Festival
hosted at Westbeth Artists Community
January 6 & 8-10, 2016

DISCOTROPIC situates itself between the pragmatic and the fantastical while exploring the relationship between science fiction, disco, astrophysics and the black American experience.

One Thousand Twerks at Lehman Maupin
Nari Ward (Ground In Progress)
October 4, 2015 3PM

The rate of police killings of black folks in America this year will bring us to a shocking number of 1,109 deaths by the close of the year. 'One thousand twerks' is one part homage and another part future telling. One twerk for every death that will occur at the hands of police this year alone. 'One thousand twerks' is about the power of black asses to shed our post colonial oppression's, transcend expectation to die young and shift the earths gravitational field to jettison evil trolls.

DISCOTROPIC Ep 1: Train Dance at The New Museum
2015 Triennial: Surround Audience
February 27, 2015 7:30pm

In his new performance DISCOTROPIC (2015), Navild Acosta explores the relationship between science fiction, disco, astrophysics, and the black American experience. Reflecting the artist’s interest in the role of black women in sci-fi history, DISCOTROPIC is inspired by actor Diahann Carroll, who starred in the TV movie Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). Cast by NBC at the behest of donors and audience members, who insisted that a black person appear on the show, Carroll appears only as a holographic fantasy—an illusion that distills the ways in which the black female body has been consumed in mass media: as alien, bodacious, and marginalized. Acosta’s DISCOTROPIC reconsiders past futures, like those in Star Wars, while claiming a fantastical site of possibility through a cast whose imaginative engagement with science fiction rewrites its dominant narratives. Assembled by Acosta on the basis of shared interests in queer politics and Afrofuturism, the performers include Monstah Black, Alexandro Segade, André D. Singleton (aka Brohogany Opulence), and Acosta himself.


Creating our own fantastical world/s via dance, text, and sculpture that seeks to create a space for people of a marginalized experience. A space where we can be together, honest, relaxed, inspired, and self-empowered. These are ingredients for a revolutionary space.

DISCOTROPIC: Ep. 3 Rhythmic Decay

In creating DISCOTROPIC we meditate on sparse unity, quiet virtuosity, and internalized spectacle departing from our collective queer lens.

i shot denzel
New York Live Arts January 2014

i shot denzel
is the sixth incarnation of a three-year series of ‘denzels’ that I have been creating since 2010.
Throughout the denzel series it’s become clear there is a non-
linear progression happening inside and outside of the body of work. The evolution is
not married to a narrative but rather the maturity of the work through time.
‘denzel’ has represented black masculine identity in performance, as seen from my perspective as a queer trans-masculine identified young black person. i'm working with many ideas that continue to interest me such as, death, grieving through sound experiences, original philosophical text, voguing, and fear. exploring these avenues in my work has been educational for me in terms of answering larger questions for myself; how do i navigate being transgender in dance? identifying as black in dance? identifying as queer in dance? and not always be defiant or "challenging"?
i am interested in creating space and visibility for myself and others who identify similarly. the topics that remain challenged in i shot denzel are normativity, complacency, and impossibility.

for i shot denzel, i’ve created a monologue in the first-person as the voice of denzel (played by myself), accompanied by a piece from Stravinsky’s Le Sacre Du Printemps. in this piece i am asking the question "How am i like denzel in performance?" while simultaneously attempting to “end” the life of denzel via an abstract “virgin sacrifice”. In past denzels, i have worked with my friends, lovers, and family, to create a self-portrait. The idea for this new work is to strip the work of other presences and create a "technically challenging" solo on my own body. exploring the performance of “blackness” within the context of contemporary or classical movement. Creating this solo could be somewhat of a breakthrough for the vocabulary, questions and ideas i’ve been developing throughout the entire series of work. However, the “end” of an era within the denzel lineage and what could simultaneously be a re-birth of a new.

died in your arms
Human Resources
Los Angeles, CA 2013


7 October 2013, 9PM
– Human Resources, LA

“I’ve thought about you everyday since I died in your arms”

Sharon Valerii - BattleStar Galactica

This performance will be the culmination of exploration taking place during Navild's workshop, died in your arms”, also at human resources. Navild has been working through a romance with failure, death, voguing, black masculinity, and politics for over 3.5 years. he’s named a series of work ‘denzel’ after Denzel Washington, with hopes to learn more of his own reality as a transgender queer person of color. this piece has no name but a sentiment of newly found clarity. exploring a weathered version of himself through the expression of movement, song, and speech as he attempts reinvention.


October 4th & 6th, 2013 4PM-7PM
Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA

i will be sharing a process with you. i’ve formulated how i make my work and we’re going to workshop creating work with these tools.

i have been creating and recreating the same piece for over 3.5 years and i’ve finally boiled down the words and games that have created six whole pieces. bring in your favorite pieces of music or playlists and i’ll bring mine. we will sit, sing, write, move, be political and talk while we mine our own lives for generative material. come with your deepest desire to work/werk along with your curiosity for mortality. there’s also a space for our collective failure at this.

please don’t be shy about what you wear...here's a list for your reference:

fashion week in new york

monochromatic micro and macro patterning

evening gowns

full body suit with mask

trash bags


birthday suit/the skin on your backs

paper shirts, pants, & hats

your neighbor

shitty chic

pretend/failed clothing

Our work together will be documented and available for your reference after this event. this will be deep research for me and our time together will have everything to do with my performance on October 7th at Human Resources.

excerpt hearts
with Tess Dworman at The Meulensteen Gallery

excerpt hearts is a thought exploration, an abstracted stereotype of our lesbian past lives. we are an under rehearsed cover band. communicating through song and non-melodic momentary processing. exploring the power dynamic of this co-dependent relationship via live performance. our spatial relationship indicates our two-dimensional platonically romantic relationship we have made, just for this. love will prevail.

Reconsidering when, where, and why music should happen is the main concern of artists Navild Acosta and Tess Dworman. Video by Stephanie Szerlip.

denzel minipetite b a t h t u b happymeal
shown as part of the Upstart Festival at Brooklyn Arts Exchange on March 24th, 2012.

choregraphy: Navild Acosta
performers: Navild Acosta, Cason Bolton Jr., and Tatyana Tenenbaum
costume consultant: Mariana Valencia
video credit: Slava Osowska

"denzel minipetite b a t h t u b happymeal" was originally commissioned by the Fresh Tracks program of New York Live Arts, supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

denzel minipetite bathtub happy meal on vacation
at Pieter Performance Space Los Angeles

denzel and i went on vacation. just denzel and i.

denzel again
the fourth in a series of denzels,
denzel again pays homage to the very special intimate relationships niv feels have informed his process.

photo by Dajana Lothert

Making art saved my life.

Everything I produce is centered around my experiences as a Trans-gender-non-conforming queer Black young and poor person born into a single migrant parent home raised in several ghetto’s of NYC. I have found the questions and challenges I face to be, in essence, universal and therefore largely accessible to plethora audiences. Questions around social constructs such as gender and race are a part of the human experience and affect all people. From my audiences,
I seek to evoke empathy and compassion for the life on this planet

I hope my work will make visible the experiences of a historically subversive and deliberately oppressed community of queer, transgender, and/or people-of-color creators. I seek to set a precedent for people who align themselves with these identities to feel they can inhabit spaces where they are often marginalized. I believe in our ability to gather and that our bodies are sites for deep transformation.  Possibilities for transcending our colonial inheritance and making room for the future within ourselves. My version of futurism includes laying foundations for healing societal conceits, being critical of oppressive propaganda and embracing evolved paradigms of inclusivity.

In the presentation of a work, I work to highlight both the rigor and softness to exist as the people we are. I strive to invite an experience that will generate mindfulness for those who witness, no matter their walk of life.

Researching intersections of race and performance is a unifying thread throughout my body of work. Projects I have directed strive to create a platform accessible to audiences of diverse paths of life while maintaining central focus on Black Pleasure. I like to use the term ‘Impossible Bodies’ which describes the lived experiences of myself and fellow collborators. My use of the term ‘Impossible’ is to highlight contradiction and in turn embrace abjection. Blackness remains subaltern, sub-human and dangerous within a settler colonial white supremacist hegemony. There’s nothing more Impossible than that.