Mad King Thomas: 100 Creatives


Number 57: Mad King Thomas (Theresa Madaus, Tara King, and Monica Thomas)

City: Minneapolis

Years spent living in MN: If you add them up, we've got 30 years. But really it's only 10 years each (only?) (what?) (really?) (10 years?!) (Shit.)

Dance/performance art trio Mad King Thomas have an always playful, sometimes randy, usually physical style that is impossible to look away from. In past shows, the group has fought over a stationary bike while in bikinis, put on animal suits and took turns knocking each other down, and explored different personalities while trying on wigs. But don't be fooled by their enthusiastic smiles and entertainingly weird performances; these ladies are tackling complex topics with each kick of the leg and tackle to the ground. Feminism, power structures, consumerism, gender, and politics play as important roles in their dances as mermaid tails, duffle bags, and body glitter do. It's always a weird, wonderful world with Mad King Thomas.

[jump] Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:

  1. Guy Debord


  2. Ancient rituals (Greeks, Romans, Vikings)

  3. Glitter tits

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as budding creative types:

  1. Emily Johnson/Judith Howard/HIJACK -- the holy trifecta of genius choreographer/dancers who showed up in our lives at the right time and sent sent us down a path we didn't think we wanted to take.

  2. Michael Jackson (Tara), underwear (Theresa), finding Theresa and Tara (not trying to brownnose -- for realz yo), and Cara DeLavallade (Monica).

  3. Hegemony, post-modernism, feminism: Four years of obsessive liberal arts education.

What was your last big project?

We co-produced a show at the Bedlam last summer with Judith Howard called The League of Red Herrings. It featured a mermaid, a slutty trash bag, and a ballerina drag king.   

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

We're in the midst of creating a new half-evening-length dance (tentatively titled "All Sparkle, No Heart") for the 2011 Momentum series in July. We've got a fabulous cast of dancers and too many ideas. In some ways it's the culmination of about three years' worth of dances and daydreaming, but in some ways it's just another new dance. It's a big glittery cauldron full of strippers, Situationalist theory, bicycles, Mary Poppins, suffragettes, Marilyn Monroe, virgin sacrifices, ancient gods, capitalist monsters, and a few other things.

We also launched our website a few months ago, and are trying to blog there regularly. It's exciting! We love it and hate it! Just like everything!

Creative/career high point (so far)?

Oh, man. That's impossible. It feels like each new thing is the best thing that has ever happened to us.

It was pretty excellent winning a SAGE Award for Best Performance and feeling the flood of love from Twin Cities' wonderful, amazing, and generous dance community.

What has been your biggest challenge as a group?

Our biggest challenge might be doing our work at the same time as working the jobs that make our lives economically feasible. It's a balancing act that constantly shifts, and sometimes sucks. Also, we have trouble describing our work to people who haven't seen it. Other times the biggest challenge is just trying to do all the things we want without burning out. 

How has the local scene changed since you began your career?

We...don't know. Money comes and goes, people come and go.  

You're stuck on a desert island. Someone shows up with a life raft. However, you must dance for your life in order to be allowed on the boat. This dance can be from a famous performance, a music video, a movie, or any other source. Which dance do you choose to perform, and why?

The scene from Metropolis, no question. Or, maybe the Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather. Or maybe Gypsy Rose Lee. Or "Single Ladies?"

If you could have a dance off with any fictional character or group (from a novel, TV show, movie, etc.) who would you choose, and why?

Cindi Mayweather. She is fabulous, has stylin' dance moves, and her feet go really fast. Also, we could wear red and she'd be in black and white and it would be great.

Looking for more? Check out Mad King Thomas's Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages. Or follow them on their official website.

Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis

99. Sean Smuda

98. Chuck U


96. Amy Rice

95. Kara Hendershot

70. Tim Sievert

67. Dessa

66. Heidi Arneson

65. Erin Currie

64. Jayme Halbritter

63. Amy Buchanan

62. Kimberly Jurek

61. Kenna-Camara Cottman

60. Joan Vorderbruggen

59. Amber Preston

58. Jenny Carle