A young choreographer who has already produced such provocative, experimental dance works as FLATLAND 2010 and The Flight Attendants, Poe has spent the past several years studying and researching J-Sette—an underground dance form born from Southern drill team and majorette events, and developed socially in gay, African American clubs. The tight and meticulous movements of J-Sette, interrupted by hugely explosive moments, were woven directly into Poe’s Center-funded project, Private Places, which premiered at the 2012 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In summer 2013, he worked in residence in the city of Neuss, Germany, working on J-Sette choreography with fellow artist Jermone “Donte” Beacham. In the spring of 2014, he performed with choreographer and dancer niv Acosta at AUX Performance Space as part of the Center-funded AUX Curatorial Fellowship Program. Poe received a Center Project grant in 2017 to create Let 'im Move You: This Is a Formation, further exploring J-Sette in contemporary performance. Poe has performed across the US and in Europe and is the founder and co-director of Philadelphia-based dance/theater company idiosynCrazy productions. He holds an MFA in dance from Temple University and currently teaches at Swarthmore College.
jumatatu m. poe's work exists at an intersection of dance, theater, sociology, and psychology. A 2012 Pew Fellow in the Arts, Poe produced and premiered Private Places at the 2012 FringeArts Festival, his first evening-length dance. Private Places examined everyday interactions with service providers, such as flight attendants. The choreography for Private Places explored J-Sette, an underground dance style borne from Southern drill-team events and made popular in the gay African-American club scene. J-Sette is a tight and meticulous dance form, marked by extreme, explosive movements, which has the potential to elicit strong reactions from both audiences and performers. "I'm committed to discovering ways to respectfully ask performers to go to uncomfortable emotional and psychological places," Poe says. Prior to the performances, he presented a series of public events to engage local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender audiences, as well as African-American communities, and to bring attention to J-Sette and discuss its relevance in pop culture and contemporary dance.