Meet the A’we deh ya Collaborators
This week, Virgin Islanders and Stateside Angela’s Pulse collaborators are gathering daily for virtual creative process, research and development of A’we deh ya (“All of us are here”), a multi-disciplinary call-and-response between colony and mainland.
This iteration of Building A Better Fishtrap, which focuses on Paloma’s homeland St. Croix, continues to be rooted in her dad’s vanishing fishing tradition and explores the animating questions: What do we take with us? Leave behind? Return to Reclaim?
This week we were joined by Dr. Chenzira Kahina-Davis and Hadiya Sewer for a rich conversation on decolonization and disaster capitalism, as well as Frandelle Gerard and Willard John who shared their organizing and expertise on culture-bearing – past, present, future. Through the Fishtrap Method, Shared Practice and these conversations with special guests we are activating a call and response between geographies, cultures and practices; as well as between the past and future of A’we deh ya. We will be building our collaborative muscles as a group of dancers, writers, visual artists, music makers and dreamers while doing embodied research together.
This workshop exploration of Building a Better Fishtrap / A’we deh ya is supported by Angela’s Pulse’s 3-year residency at The Movement Lab at Barnard College, as well as the Soros Arts Fellowship, MAP Fund, Movement Research and The Public.
Please join us for a process share on Saturday, November 21st 4-5:30pm EST. Register for the Zoom HERE by Friday evening. Learn more about all the A’we deh ya collaborators and their work below.
aloma McGregor (Director, Angela’s Pulse) (b. 1974) is a Caribbean-born, New York-based choreographer who has spent her career centering Black voices through collaborative, “community-specific” performance projects. The daughter of a fisherman and public school art teacher, McGregor amplifies and remixes the quotidian choreographies of Black folks, reactivating them in often-embattled public spaces. McGregor’s work situates performers and witnesses at the embodied intersection of the ancestral past and an envisioned future; for her, tradition transcends time.
Working at the growing edge of her field, McGregor has been a recipient of several major awards, including: Open Society Foundations’ Soros Arts Fellowship (2020); Dance/USA’s Fellowship to Artists (2019); Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center Institute Fellowship (2018); and Surdna Foundation’s Artists Engaging in Social Change (2015). In 2017, she won a coveted “Bessie” Award for performance as a member of skeleton architecture, an acclaimed collective of Black women(+) improvisers. She is currently an artist in residence at Columbia University/Barnard College’s Movement Lab.
Alongside her choreographic work, McGregor founded Dancing While Black (DWB), a platform for community-building, intergenerational exchange and visibility among Black dance artists whose work, like hers, doesn’t fit neatly into boxes. Since 2012, DWB has produced more than two dozen public dialogues and performances, supported the development of 22 Black artists through the DWB Fellowship, and published the country’s first digital journal by and for Black experimental dance artists.
K Abadoo (Core Artist, Angela’s Pulse) is a choreographer, educator, and cultural organizer. Guided by the wisdom of Black women, they collaborate to compose dances that disrupt unjust dynamics of power, and invite radical vulnerability. Considered a “rising star” by Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, and one of “20 Change-Making US Artists You Should Track During 2018,” by the Clyde Fitch report, her work has been commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and as a Fulbright Scholar with the Noyam African Dance Institute in Dodowa, Ghana. Their creative practice is rooted in the justice work of Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Angela’s Pulse, Urban Bush Women, and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Abadoo is an assistant professor in the Department of Dance + Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and in the Racial Equity, Arts, and Culture Core of VCU’s ICubed, the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry & Innovation. To stay connected, visit mkabadoo.com.
avannah Lyons Anthony began dancing on her native island St. John, in the Virgin Islands, and rounded out her dancing throughout the territory. She attended Bard College where she earned a BA in dance and performance composition, graduating in 2016. Apart from dance, her performance practice includes theatre and writing, extensions by which she can further explore her identity, geopolitics and the residual body.
ceana James is a St. Croix-born interdisciplinary theater-artist and writer. Her work centers in min(d)ing “jumbie spaces”—the (in) between—spaces of resistance and reclamation. Oceana has successfully shown her one-woman experimental piece, For Gowie: The Deceitful Fellow, in Germany, Denmark, NYC and St. Croix, USVI—and is slated to return it to Europe in the upcoming show of renowned curator, Selene Wendt. Oceana has presented her paper Weaving Jumbie Time: Translocational Storytelling and Praxis at the Royal Danish Art Academy of Fine Arts’ Archives that Matter conference/residency. Oceana is a core-collaborator with Angela’s Pulse and principal member of Sibyl Kempson’s 7 Daughters Perf. Co. a theatre company. Oceana’s most recent residencies have been EmergeNYC at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University; El Residencial in Carolina, Puerto Rico (where she worked with Las Nietas de Nonó and other Caribbean artists), and Migrating Histories (curated by Monica Marin) on the island of St. Croix. Oceana grew up hearing stories/folktales and is proud to continue the long legacy and tradition of storytelling from the Caribbean.
hnuma Simmonds is a proud Virgin Islands mom who was born and raised on St. Croix; and continues to live on the island where she is raising her 7-year old king, Taino Khing, and her 2-year old prince, Khnum Xau! She received a BA in Liberal Arts from Hofstra University in New York with a major in Communications and a minor in Dance; and during her college career, she had the opportunity to study dance with artists like Diane Harvey-Salaam from Forces of Nature Dance Company, Lance Westergard from the Juilliard School of Ballet, Karla Wolfangle from the Paul Taylor and Cliff Keuter Dance Companies, Darrah Carr of Darrah Carr Dance Company and Amira Mor of the Amira Mor International Entertainment Company. Prior to her studies in New York, she received training from the Caribbean Dance School, Pointe Dance Academy, Music in Motion, Cruzan Dance Center and the former Xtreme Edje Performing Arts Company on St. Croix.
Khnuma holds a Master in Education Guidance & Counseling from the University of the Virgin Islands and is currently a doctoral candidate of the PhD in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior Program at Capella University where she will investigate the impact of Caribbean music and dance on survivors of domestic violence for her dissertation studies. Thereafter, she intends to apply her studies to her role as a Behavioral Health Therapist with Beautiful Dreamers and her newly expanded business brand: Girlfriendism TM.
For more information on Khnuma and/or her work in fashion, fitness, wellness, business and the arts, please visit her brand website at www.girlfriendism.com or follow her pages at @mgcstx and @sokhdancefitness on Facebook/Instagram. Otherwise, she looks forward to being in community with fellow artists during the Building a Better Fishtrap / A’we deh ya November Workshop!
emit-Amon Lewis was born and raised on the island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. He received a Bachelor and a Master in Marine Sciences degrees from Savannah State University. Most recently, Kemit was the Coral Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Program. In that role, he led the development of the Caribbean Coral Restoration Strategy. He also coordinated the Virgin Islands Reef Resilience Program, the Reef Responsible Sustainable Seafood Initiative, and managed TNC’s Sea Turtle Monitoring Program on St. Croix. Kemit started dancing at the St. Croix Central High School under the direction of the amazingly talented Lisa Lenhardt. He then danced with and served as president/instructor for the Savannah State University’s dance company and trained with a number of schools and dance intensives; further refining his technique through annual participation in the Black College Dance Exchange. He has performed for numerous concerts, tours, and a production of The Wiz while at Savannah State. On St. Croix, he performed in Caribbean Community Theater’s Chicago, was the Rat King in Pointe Dance Academy’s The Nutcracker Ballet, choreographed CCT’s Cabaret, and acted and choreographed for CCT’s Dreamgirls. He is an instructor/choreographer for the Caribbean Dance School on St. Croix.
hristine King (Core Artist, Angela’s Pulse) currently living in Minneapolis, MN, spent 20+ years in NY being part of the core performing company of Urban Bush Women, where she also served as Associate Artistic Director and had the gift and pleasure of performing with Paloma McGregor. Since 2012, Ms. King has been in a performing, development [receiving and giving] relationship with McGregor’s Building A Better Fishtrap. While residing in Illinois, Ms. King has contributed vocals (“the live band”) to the sound score for University of Illinois Dance Department- November dance series 2013. She has performed in other movement/theater based projects in the Champaign, IL, area. Ms. King has also done several community engagements and performing projects with DC-based dance company DanceExchange.
ina Angela Mercer is a cultural worker. Her plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL (The Warehouose Theatre, The Woolly Mammoth for DC’s Fringe, Abrons Arts Center, Little Carib Theatre); ITAGUA MEJI: A Road & A Prayer (Brecht Forum, Alternate Roots, Rutgers University Newark and New Brunswick, The Nuyorican Poets Café); GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR (The Warehouse Theatre, the former Dumbo Sky); CHARISMA AT THE CROSSROADS (Dorothy Young Arts Center); SPARROW (The Langston Hughes House); and A COMPULSION FOR BREATHING (The Schomburg Center and Target Margin Theater). Her writing is published in The Killens Review of Arts & Letters; Black Renaissance Noire; Voices Magazine #SayHerName Edition; Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre, and Performance; Break Beat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Press, 2018); Are You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century (Duke University Press, 2020); Performance Research (Taylor and Francis, 2020); and the upcoming Represent! New Plays for Multicultural Young People (Bloomsbury Press, in press) and ASHE’: Ritual Poetics in African Diasporic Expressivity (Routledge, in press). Nina’s video poem, “Invocation for Josè Antonio Aponte,” traveled with the exhibition Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom. She is currently the Writing Director for the Beyond Identity program at City College.
E. Bradman is a word nerd and music journalist, Grammy-nominated bassist, stage/studio/touring musician, and musical midwife for childbirth and the dying. Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, he designs award-winning sonic environments for theater, film, animation, audiobooks, dance, and radio plays. Stop by and say hello at eltonsounds.com!
onica Marin is an artist, curator, educator and arts administrator from the Virgin Islands. She has degrees in Art History, Theory and Criticism; and Painting & Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work and research addresses the ways in which coloniality is manifested today through tourism, US industrialization, environmental racism, disaster capitalism, land grabs and the privatization of public land. Past curatorial projects include Paradise Lost at CMCARTS (2010) and AREA Lugar in Caguas, Puerto Rico (2011) that examined issues of environmental injustice in both regions resulting from US colonialism and capitalism. Since 2011, her projects began to examine the blind spots missing in the archive, and how performative artistic practice could be used as a space of resistance to activate histories that hadn’t been told in public spaces of historic significance throughout the Virgin Islands. Curatorial projects include: The Great House: A Reimagining of Power, Place and History with La Vaughn Belle, and This is How We Dance performance in collaboration with Oceana James at Whim Great House, St. Croix (2011); Migrating Histories and Take 5 performance series (2016) co-curated with longtime collaborator Carla Acevedo-Yates, For Gowie the Deceitful Fellow performed/written by Oceana James; Paloma McGregor’s durational performance: “Building a Better Fishtrap” in Christiansted, St.Croix (2016); Invisible Heritage traveling group show featuring VI artists who critically engaged the 2017 centennial transfer; Invisible Heritage:Identity, Memory and Our Town ongoing community arts project in Frederiksted, St.Croix in collaboration with CHANT.
atricia McGregor: Born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Patricia McGregor is a director and writer working in theater, TV/film and music. McGregor has twice been profiled by The New York Times for her direction of world premieres. Productions include Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (co-writer and director, Geffen Playhouse, People’s Light); Sisters In Law (Wallis Annenberg) What You Are, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure (The Old Globe);Skeleton Crew (Geffen Playhouse); Good Grief (Center Theater Group); Hamlet (The Public Theater); Place (BAM);The Parchman Hour (The Guthrie Theater); Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout Theatre Company); brownsville song… (Lincoln Center); Indomitable: James Brown (The Apollo); Holding It Down (Metropolitan Museum); A Raisin in the Sun, The Winter’s Tale, Spunk (California Shakespeare Theater); Adoration of the Old Woman (INTAR); Blood Dazzler (Harlem Stage); Four Electric Ghosts (The Kitchen) and the world premiere of Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Company). She served as Associate Director of Fela! on Broadway. For many years she has directed The 24-Hour Plays on Broadway. She served as director for HBO emerging writer’s showcase and tour consultant to Raphael Saadiq and J Cole. Her short film Good Grief will premiere this year. Additionally she was a directing shadow on HBO’s Lovecraft Country. She co-founded Angela’s Pulse with her sister, choreographer, and organizer Paloma McGregor, and sits on the advisory board of Adam Driver’s Arts In the Armed Forces and the Parent Artist Advocacy League as well as a Usual Suspect at New York Theater Workshop. McGregor attended the Yale School of Drama, where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow and Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.
asha & the Bear Design – Nick and Masha are designers for performance in virtual and human realms. During this wobbly time of distant gathering, they have been exploring creating spaces in non-spaces, and experimenting with analog and digital aesthetics to reach through the screen with makers, movers, and performers around the world. Recently, they have developed events and happenings with Urban Bush Women, Clubbed Thumb, Grace & Milt, HOLD: Design for Empty Rooms, Dwight Street Book Club, David Zwirner Gallery/Diana Thater, The New School for Drama, and Prelude NYC/Dustin Wills. Masha & The Bear was formed at Yale School of Drama, and both designers are proud members of USA829.
halonda Ingram is an innovator who embodies the mantra: Strategize. Design. Produce. Born and raised in St. Louis Missouri, Shalonda is committed to elevating consciousness and empowering the collective liberation of individuals, organizations and communities. Shalonda has deployed worldwide for the transformation of people, principles, practices, and systems. Native to grassroots activism, Shalonda works with social justice, spiritual and corporate organizations to explore network effect and elevate opportunities for resource sharing while scaling. Shalonda is committed to the creation of whole, connected communities that thrive by building structures of clarity, capacity enhancement and trust. www.ShalondaIngram.com | www.BornBrown.us
essica Lee is a dance and teaching artist, arts administrator and organizer tethered to Brooklyn and Vermont. Born right before a snowstorm in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Connecticut near Long Island Sound, water has often shaped her “home.” Jessica swam into the Fishtrap in October 2010 when Paloma was a guest artist at her alma mater, Middlebury College, and has since grown inside as a collaborator, performer, production assistant, marketing organizer, childcare provider, and witness as a member of the Angela’s Pulse team. Dedicated to community-based art and education, Jessica is a Creative Partner with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, a member of the PURPOSE Productions team, and co-director of The Sable Project, an off-grid artist residency in central Vermont.