Dancing While Black

Get a Glimpse of our Freedom Stories

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Dancing While Black: This Body Knows Freedom

Last month, we gathered at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics to kick off our Fifth Anniversary Season with Story Circles on Organizing Toward Vision in an Age of Resistance.

We were led by DWB founder Paloma McGregor and the incredible Wendi Moore-O’Neal, daughter of John O’Neal, the originator of the Story Circle process we have used at several gatherings.

A huge thank you to Wendi, a native New Orleanian and founder of Jaliyah Consulting, who facilitated our storytelling and led us in multiple rounds of freedom songs, creating a palpable energetic community. 

Shout out to our invited guests – Maria Bauman, Ebony Golden, Dr. Barbara Dixon Gottschild, Ishmael Houston Jones, and Kendra Ross – who shared powerful, wide-ranging stories of what freedom means to them and their work. And much gratitude to all who came out to talk, dance, shout, draw, write their own freedom visions in small groups.

May these visions manifest!

 

 Some Residue from the Evening:

Listening is the most important part of storytelling.  – Wendi Moore-O’Neal

Sometimes your only mode of transportation is a leap of faith. -Kendra J. Ross

Whatever is happening to you right now is feeding the storytelling. You have what you need. -Paloma McGregor

 

 Couldn’t be there? Get a glimpse of the evening through more quotes and photos on Storify.

 

 

Reflections from the 2016-17 Dancing While Black Fellows

The Dancing While Black 2016-17 Fellowship brought together seven emerging Black Women choreographers who spent seven months building community through workshops with master teachers, communal dinners and a public discussion at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Get to know the Fellows and their visions for this collaborative journey:

 

“The collective nature of Dancing While Black really resonates for me. From the fellowship’s multi-formatted approach to the inter-generational community, it all helps re-calibrate our focus from dance as an outcome to dance as a network relationships– more in touch with the possibilities of the WE.

-Katrina Reid

Katrina Reid is a performing artist ​currently ​interested in creating movement from writing — be it song, poem or other text to research and mine responses to words and how they might create emotive, physical landscapes.

Katrina Reid
photo by Peter Born

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Dancing While Black Takes A Look Back to Move Forward

Dancing While Black Takes A Look Back to Move Forward

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Dancing While Black: A Five Year Retrospective!

“Self-definition: Here we are, this is the work we do. We have a place. “ -Charles Rice-Gonzalez

This past Sunday, we gathered at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s Artist Services Day to reflect on the history of Dancing While Black, share stories of its deepening impact, and vision for its future.

Founder Paloma McGregor was joined by members of the Dancing While Black community: Charles Rice-Gonzalez, co-director of BAAD!Nia Love, Curator, Master Teacher, and Dancing While Black: On Fertile Ground Artist in Residence; Shani Jamila, past co-facilitator and Director of The Human Rights Project, and 2015-16 Fellow Sydnie Mosley.

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Reflections from the 2015-16 Dancing While Black Fellows

The 2015-16 Dancing While Black Fellowship brought together eight emerging Black choreographers. They spent six months engaged in a collective developmental process which included workshops with seasoned artists Onye Ozuzu, Jawole Zollar and Ishmael Houston-Jones. We invited the Fellows to reflect on these workshop experiences. Check out what they had to say:

 

“Onye’s workshop re-validated embodied knowledge for me – that we know more than we ‘know’. She also reminded me of the importance of being present, letting go of control, and allowing the energy generated in the room/circle/space to move us forward.
Jawole’s honesty about the role of director stuck with me, particularly the clarity it provided in terms of how manic I feel in terms of the different roles I play. And how much skill development is needed to do these tasks well – dramaturg, coach, rehearsal director, director etc.
And from all of these people I’m left with an idea of a what a long career looks like – the perspective of being able to see things through by investing in skills and knowledge that you hone over time and become masterful at.”

-Candace Thompson

Dance Caribbean Collective presents New Traditions [by Kearra Gopee]
photo by by Kearra Gopee

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Reflections on the 2016 Dancing the African Diaspora Conference (3 of 3)

Reflections on the 2016 Dancing the African Diaspora Conference (3 of 3)

The Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) is an egalitarian community of scholars and artists committed to exploring, promoting, and engaging African diaspora dance as a resource and method of aesthetic identity. CADD’s second Dancing the African Diaspora Conference conference aims to re-ignite the discourse on defining Black Dance on a global scale by bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and other stakeholders for three days of intellectual and artistic inspiration.

We invited Dancing While Black Fellows Candace Thompson and Sydnie L. Mosley to share reflections from this conference experience. Here are Sydnie’s reflections from the gathering.

Be sure to check out Candace Thompson’s reflection from the first and second days of the conference.


I didn’t know it while I was preparing over the last several weeks for Dancing the African Diaspora: Embodying the Afrofuture, but attending this weekend’s conference was attending the church revival. The text: our stories, artistic work and scholarly research. The congregation: scholars/artists/educators/students and anyone else invested in the field from the U.S. and beyond. As closing speaker Dr. Nadine George-Graves remarked,

“Diaspora Dance is an institution, and we are building it.”

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Reflections on the 2016 Dancing the African Diaspora Conference (2 of 3)

The Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) is an egalitarian community of scholars and artists committed to exploring, promoting, and engaging African diaspora dance as a resource and method of aesthetic identity. CADD’s second Dancing the African Diaspora Conference conference aims to re-ignite the discourse on defining Black Dance on a global scale by bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and other stakeholders for three days of intellectual and artistic inspiration.

We invited Dancing While Black Fellows Candace Thompson and Sydnie L. Mosley to share reflections from this conference experience. Here are Candace’s reflections from the second day of the gathering.

Click HERE to read Candace’s reflection from the first day of the conference and HERE to read Sydnie’s reflection.


 

After a very full, almost bursting day of panels, workshops and performances, the overarching theme emerges: We are reaffirming the present and our present work as a way to ensure and embody the AFROFUTURE.

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Reflections on the 2016 Dancing the African Diaspora Conference (1 of 3)

The Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) is an egalitarian community of scholars and artists committed to exploring, promoting, and engaging African diaspora dance as a resource and method of aesthetic identity. CADD’s second Dancing the African Diaspora Conference conference aims to re-ignite the discourse on defining Black Dance on a global scale by bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and other stakeholders for three days of intellectual and artistic inspiration.

We invited Dancing While Black Fellows Candace Thompson and Sydnie L. Mosley to share reflections from this conference experience. Here are Candace’s reflections from the opening day of the gathering.

Click HERE to read Candace’s reflection from the second day of the conference and HERE to read Sydnie L. Mosley reflection.


 

I arrived excited, realizing that it had been two years since the first conference. It literally seemed like yesterday even though so much has changed for me since then. And as I reflect, I realize that the first conference awoke in me the desire to investigate more of my own cultural history; to take up the mantle to advocate for, and invest in, art making in the Diaspora in my community. The last conference was almost magical.

Today, the first day of the second bi-annual conference has been a thought-provoking one. I performed/presented in the first panel slot with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances on ‘Discovering Our Future Body: Movement Making for the Liberation of Black Women.’

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Dancing While Black: On Fertile Ground comes to New Orleans

February 21-28, 2016 | April 11-17, 2016

Continuing their long-standing tradition of partnership and coalition building, New York-based Angela’s Pulse and New Orleans-based Junebug Productions are proud to present Dancing While Black: On Fertile Ground.

Three generations of Black women choreographers from across the nation will engage with New Orleans communities, culture bearers, and Black college students in an exploration of art making practices for social movement building. This collaboration is rooted in the past and present legacy of Black creative change-making that New Orleans has long been home to.

The choreographers – Nia Love (NYC), Jaimé Dzandu and Brittany Williams (NYC), and Onye Ozuzu (Chicago) – will spend one week in February teaching workshops across New Orleans, developing site-responsive performance at Xavier University, and sharing works-in-progress alongside local choreographers at Dancing Grounds. This cultural exchange will culminate in April with Dancing While Black: In Our Own Words, a public Story Circle process centering the voices of black dance makers, followed by a performance at the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans.

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