on Paloma McGregor & Angela's Pulse
In the 4th episode of FABnyc’s art Work podcast, Sarita Covington iappears as guest host joined by Ebony Noelle Golden and Paloma McGregor. The trio talks about art, resistance, and liberation. Are you just joining the party? Are you chasing the thing? What IS Liberation? This conversation will lead you through art-making, lessons in collectivity, visions of resistance… ultimately, to be FREE.
March 1, 2017
“As I move through this landscape and accumulate markers of what some call success, my hope is to always be emerging. For some, emerging means undeveloped; but for me it means pushing beyond my known, acknowledging with my practice that I am endlessly striving, endlessly curious, endlessly a student of this time and my place in it. That, to me, is what it means to be an artist and to be alive.”
The bodies — choreographed by Paloma McGregor of Angela’s Pulse — climbed to their feet, moving into stylized gestures that have become familiar at recent protests over police killings: hands raised in surrender, images of being choked. The music coalesced into rhythmic, tolling modal chords, building like two-fisted gospel without the promise of release, then melting away, unresolved. “Black Lives Matter” read the screen overhead. It was an activist elegy.
December 19, 2014
“Dance was my first love. As a Caribbean kid, raised on Carnival and calypso music, it was second nature. My mom says I even danced in the womb. At 8, I discovered that two of my greatest gifts—athleticism and showing off—were rewarded in something called dance class. Formal training with Caribbean Dance Company in St. Croix offered me a sense of purpose and an official-sounding label I relished: dancer.”
August 11, 2011
on Dancing While Black
Paloma McGregor’s Dancing While Black project just turned five-years-old, but don’t be fooled by the single digit; this youthful, artist-led group has a wise and visionary soul.
…2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Eleo Pomare’s death, and tonight, Dancing While Black acknowledged their ancestor. Pomare, who championed the uncompromising expression of Black experience, seems an important spiritual guide for this group whose mission is to create space for Black artists to define themselves on their own terms.
…Operating under the precept that no artist is peripheral, Dancing While Black and their festival co-presenter BAAD! (Bronx Academy of Art and Dance) are doing important work supporting the diversity and vitality of our dance field.
May 5, 2018
Recent works by Camille A. Brown, Kyle Abraham, Abdel Salaam, Rennie Harris, and others deal with themes like mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial stereotypes. But the same systematic racism and race-based presumptions that the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to upend permeate the dance world as well.
…Knowing the struggle for success, acceptance and equality for black dancers, many black creatives have fostered unique spaces outside of the mainstream dance industry.
November 26, 2017
Paloma McGregor, a former member of Urban Bush Women and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, founded the initiative Dancing While Black in 2012 to bring the voices of black dance artists to the center of the artistic conversation. She points out that while art and activism may inform each other, for some artists they are separate practices. “They’re not making work necessarily about racial justice, they’re making work that honors their humanity and vision and where they come from,” she says. Even an article like this, which asks black artists to comment on politics in their work, demonstrates the inequity of expectations, since white dance artists are rarely required to explain the politics that they do or do not include in their work.
November 30, 2016
Dancing While Black at BAAD!, May 30-31, featuring panel discussion with Greg Tate, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Aimee Cox (moderated by Shani Jamila) and works choreographed by Adia Tamar Whitaker and Brian Polite; Ebony Noelle Golden; and Rashida Bumbray
December 28, 2014
“I’ve talked already about structural aspects of race and racism and how they inform all of our institutions. I’m interested in equity, and I’m curious about some ways to support the work that don’t require institutions that don’t seem interested in us anyway. And how do I, and we, build relationships with like-minded institutions.”
August 15, 2014
I might begin a description of Dancing While Black by stating that it is artist-led, but then would have to interrupt to explain that artist in this context reflects no traditionally bound category; it is much more relevant and generous. It includes all of us and all of the ways that we might imagine movement to transform us individually and fuel our collective, and it is this transformation and collective movement that grounds much of what it can and does mean to dance while Black. Paloma uses Black as prompt and platform.
May 30, 2014
I was most honored when dance artist Paloma McGregor invited me to participate as a storyteller in her recent event…Among artists such as Nia Love and John Perpener and the amazing dance scholar Brenda Dixon Gottschild, invited guests and community told stories about the experience of being Black in the dance field–the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly–and banded together to share movement explorations of our journeys and understandings. The energy in the room was fantastic–warm, respectful, supportive and motivating.
December 19, 2013
on Building A Better Fishtrap
…their actions — which included bursts of grounded dancing, with a motif of circling hands or whole undulating bodies, suggestive of fishing and its reeling in — seemed to occur somewhere between past and present. They were at once on this particular river and also on a mythic river, anywhere in the territory of the African diaspora, away
June 25, 2018
Reclamation Is an Imperative: Paloma McGregor and Damian Griffin Interviewed by Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone
Performing along the river embraces the fluidity and complexity of your total personhood. It acknowledges the historic pain and contestation of global waterways, but also the possibilities of healing and renewal stemming from ancestral knowledge and community power—from finding your place and protecting it for the future.
June 21, 2018
The home that held these memories is gone now. But they have a home in my body.
So what to do with a longing for what my body doesn’t hold?
I will never know what it would be like to go fishing with my father. I will never sit with him at the calm waters of Gallows Bay, slowly crafting each trap. Nor do I have any of the last set of traps he built before his hands, now feeling this dry earth for 92 years, got too shaky.
But I do have this kaleidoscope of memories – some experienced, some passed down, some imagined.
From this, I will have to build my own Fishtraps…
December 20, 2017
The work references performance art and the deep time of land art. As the water climbs toward her neck, the artist uses stillness to navigate the currents of change.
Other work in the gallery offers direct encounters with the water or its artifacts…Choreographer Paloma McGregor collects visitors’ written histories of water in her interactive installation, Building a Better Fishtrap (2017).
As our loving storyteller, McGregor proffers not too much information, just enough – articles and spare gestures that suggest spearing, sorting, stirring; a wheel gently held aloft like a mystical symbol or used in the clever pantomiming of a family excursion; long spliced and braided cords that, when swept across the breadth of the space, evoke both the act of fishing and the foamy rush of Caribbean tide.
May 23, 2015
With each step, the courtyard became a fishtrap, I thought she would never enter the courtyard. At some point, the suitcase became the foundation she stood upon, the keeper of dreams, secrets and maybe even maps to lead back home. The journey became a meditation, a walk back through time to locate her beginnings.
on Blood Dazzler
Maybe I’ll finally find a way to start looking at what the fact of Katrina does inside me, why even typing this post has made me cry. I still won’t be able to fathom the truth of this tragedy, but maybe I’ll be able to talk, maybe I’ll finally be able to facilitate a discussion in my classroom that won’t leave me mummering in a corner. Wake me up, indeed. Patricia Smith and the McGregor sisters may have done exactly that.
October 2, 2010
Hurricane Katrina is not simply an event of the past. The impact of the storm and the devastation of the aftermath are still being felt and now compounded with the oil spill devastating the Gulf Coast. Blood Dazzler is an attempt to reexamine what happened and ignite a dialogue about what can be done now. Culminating in a “Katrina’s Coming to Your Town” touring model, the event will also be a meeting ground to meditate on the vulnerabilities in every community and envision strategies for change to protect ourselves from the devastation of future disasters, both natural and man-made.
September 13, 2010
In time for the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Patricia and Paloma McGregor, the director-choreographer sister act, stage a dance-theatre adaptation of Patricia Smith’s powerful book of poems about the disaster. The author, a stirring reader, makes a special appearance.