As part of my residency at The Lab, I will create a performance and archive project exploring the late San Francisco postmodern
choreographer Ed Mock.


Ed Mock died in 1986 at the height of the AIDS epidemic; his story continues to engage contemporary conversations. Purnell states, “I believe Ed Mock is the missing choreographic link between Alvin Ailey, Anna Halprin, and Bill T. Jones.  He is my direct predecessor, creatively. We – artists, black queers, Bay Area dancers, gay men – have to extract our collective past and create the historical record.”

Purnell will re-imagine the work and life of Ed Mock through archival research, interviews, choreographic interpretations, music and film. The new and re-created choreography will be performed for live audiences and will be documented in a dance film in order to expand Mock’s publicly accessible archives for future dance audiences.  Purnell will write, choreograph, produce and direct the live performances and the final film.



Brontez Purnell is the author of the cult zine “Fag School,” Cruising Diaries, the front man for his band “The Younger Lovers,” and founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). Formerly a dancer with Gravy Train!!!, he has danced for Amara Tabor-Smith, Keith Hennessy, Eric Kupers, Nina Haft, and South African artist-choreographer Athi-Patra Rugra.  Purnell has presented original dance works at the Berkeley Art Museum, CounterPULSE, Kunst-Stoff Arts, The Lab, and others. With cinematographer Gary Gregerson and lighting designer Jerry Lee, Purnell produced, choreographed, and scored “Free Jazz” (2012), a 8mm B&W dance film. He was guest curator at Berkeley Art Museum in 2012, on Out Magazine’s 2012 Hot 100 List, and given a 2014 SFBG Goldie for Performance/Music. He earned a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance at CSU, East Bay.

Ed Mock Documentary Production Photos