Riley McCallum is a queer, interdisciplinary performance artist originally from rural Texas. He has a broad background of movement experiences, ranging from martial arts, musical theatre, and color guard to concert and street dance forms. In the final year of earning his BFA in Performing Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he was the artist in residence at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. At this time, he began exploring the integration of dance, technology, and immersive theatre. While earning his MFA at TWU in the dance program, starting in 2019, he furthered his research into immersive theatre by incorporating extended reality technology into his work.
In the marching and pageantry arts, he has performed with Little Elm High School, The University of Louisiana, Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, Cypress Independent, and The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. In addition, he has worked with various groups across Texas and Louisiana, either as a tech, choreographer, or director such as Marcus High School, E.D. White High School, and The University of Louisiana.
Professionally, he has danced with Lafayette Ballet Theatre in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, Basin Arts Dance Collective, and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared in the music video People Like Me by Dustin Sonnier, and as a chorus member in Jambalaya The Musical, among other appearances. He has also produced performance events in partnership with local businesses in Louisiana and universities in Texas and Louisiana.
Who makes up your art circle?
My art circle is made up family and friends I have collaborated with throughout the years. People I work well with I do my best to stay in contact with, trying to maintain an open dialogue with them in order to expand our artistic circle.
How do you expand your art circle?
I always ask people I have worked with previously about who they recommend if the project I am engaged in is outside of their wheelhouse or if they aren’t available. I also do the same for others, connecting those I have collaborated with new artists when people ask me about projects that are outside of my expertises or if I am unable to commit. I believe connecting others will always help the community, and a healthy, well-connected community always helps the individuals in it.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
The creative community is what defines the personality of an area. The creatives in culinary, music, architecture, performance, and community engagement events give their city its identity. Without a creative community, the city has no identity.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
I like to work on projects that require expertise in a large variety of fields, and that requires lots of different people with different perspectives working together to produce a cohesive product. Whenever people can work together to create something positive that everyone feels they contributed to it creates a bond and an energy that vitalizes the individuals involved and those around them. I think the world can do with more collaboration and inclusivity whenever possible.