Building a Better Fishtrap

Building a Better Fishtrap / from the river’s mouth

June 23, 2018 at The Bronx River (Starlight Park, Concrete Plant Park and Hunts Point Riverside Park)

Building a Better Fishtrap / from the river’s mouth is a performance ritual that honors and embodies the stories and spirit of the Bronx River. Created through collaboration with dozens of artists and community members, the work takes audiences by boat on a 1.5-mile stretch of the once embattled waterway; along the way, passengers encounter kaleidoscopic installations that draw from the river’s rich past and present, as well as hopes for her future. The boats will be piloted by docents from Bronx-based partner organizations.

Three riverside parks in the South Bronx serve as the performance boundaries. They are part of the last decade of revitalization along the waterway and mark significant, locally-driven progress in cleaning up the beleaguered waterway. Hunts Point Riverside Park, at the south end of the installation, was one of the earliest wins for community organizers pushing for public access to the river – after more than 60 years in which industry monopolized the water’s edge and turned the river into an open sewer. Starlight Park, on the north end, represents the most recent round of development allowing public access.

During the development process, McGregor and collaborators are conducting interviews with Bronx-based historians, artists and activists; engaging Bronx communities through artistic workshops that provide a platform to unearth their histories; and joining public environmental efforts on the river, such as water quality testing. This research – as well as the embodied experience of the river itself – will serve as the foundation for devising this live, interactive performance on and along the water.

Up Next

june 2018

23jun11:30 amBuilding a Better Fishtrap / from the river's mouth11:30 am EST Starlight Park and Hunts Point Riverside ParkBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

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…

I doubt they will be better than his, but they will be mine.

History

Since 2011, Caribbean-born choreographer Paloma McGregor has been developing Building A Better Fishtrap, a performance project rooted in the vanishing fishing tradition of her 92-year-old father. The project examines what happens when you leave your ancestral home: What do you take with you? Leave behind? Return to reclaim?

McGregor and her collaborators – from a grandfather in the Bronx to dancers in a studio on Governor’s Island – have spent the past few years exploring the body’s capacity to carry place, memory and experience with it in ways that can transform objects, spaces, collaborators and audiences. Each iteration of the work is created using the Fishtrap Method. Like McGregor’s father’s practice of building traps, these creative Fishtraps are crafted using core physical elements and embodied practices that are customized according to how she visions the work functioning in each space it inhabits. “The doing in this work is its magic,” reflected Ni’Ja Whitson in Contact Quarterly. “And McGregor does both the subtle and grand with such intention, the magic hypnotizes.”

“With each iteration, the hope is to
deepen the connections
collaborators and audiences have with one another’s
legacies and the future of our embattled water spaces.

– Paloma McGregor

Past Iterations

Building a Better Fishtrap / Part 1

May 22-24, 2015 at BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance

The project’s first major installment is a dance-theater work in which five dancers piece together a kaleidoscopic tale, bending time to allow the future to bring an offering to the present. The work premiered at BAAD!, a longtime partner, and received development support from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Dance Exchange, Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant, Foundation for Contemporary Art, iLAND, Earthdance, Wave Hill and Middlebury College.

Building a Better Fishtrap / Phase 2

June 17-18, 2016 at BAX / Brooklyn Arts Exchange

The project’s second major installment is a solo meditation on the practice of remembering. Choreographer and performer Paloma McGregor navigates and transforms a series of worlds, encouraging the audience to consider how memory inhabits us and what we can reclaim in the witnessing. The work – which occupied a studio, theater, stairwell and rooftop – was crafted in collaboration with visual artist Sara Jimenez, installation designer Vassi Spanos and sound designer Everett Saunders.

This iteration was developed during McGregor’s two-year residency at BAX.

Press

Press

Developmental Residencies

  • New York Live Arts Live Feed, 2016-18
  • BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 2014-16
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at Governor’s Island, 2015
  • Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 2013-15
  • Wave Hill, 2013
  • iLand, 2012
  • E|Merge at Earthdance, 2011

Developmental Residencies

  • New York Live Arts Live Feed, 2016-18
  • BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 2014-16
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at Governor’s Island, 2015
  • Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 2013-15
  • Wave Hill, 2013
  • iLand, 2012
  • E|Merge at Earthdance, 2011

Past Performances

june 2018

23jun11:30 amBuilding a Better Fishtrap / from the river's mouth11:30 am EST Starlight Park and Hunts Point Riverside ParkBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

july 2017

15julalldayBuilding a Better Fishtrap at the Celebration of the Starlight Park River House(All Day: saturday) EST South BronxBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

june 2017

16jun6:00 pmLive Feed: Building a Better Fishtrappart of a 2016-18 Live Feed residency6:00 pm EST New York Live Arts StudiosBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

05junallday30Works on Waterfeaturing an installation from the set of Building A Better Fishtrap(All Day) EST 3LD Art & Technology CenterBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

january 2017

07jan3:00 pmLive Artery: BUILDING A BETTER FISHTRAP/Phase 2Commissioned by Live Arts as part of the Live Feed creative residency program.3:00 pm EST New York Live Arts StudiosBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

october 2016

01octalldayMigrating Historiespresented by Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts(All Day: saturday) EST Caribbean Museum Center for the ArtsBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

june 2016

17jun8:00 pmBuilding a Better Fishtrap/Phase 28:00 pm EST BAX/Brooklyn Arts ExchangeBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

february 2016

06feb3:00 pmBAX AIR OPEN STUDIOS IIBuilding a Better Fishtrap/Part 23:00 pm EST BAX/Brooklyn Arts ExchangeBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

december 2015

20dec8:00 pmMemory WithholdingsCurated by Love|Fortè, A Collective (BAX Artists in Residence)8:00 pm EST BAX/Brooklyn Arts ExchangeBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

november 2015

21novalldayBAX OPEN STUDIO SERIESBuilding a Better Fishtrap/Part 2(All Day: saturday) EST BAX/Brooklyn Arts ExchangeBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

october 2015

04oct1:00 pmDance on the Greenway 2015presented by Dance Theatre Etcetera1:00 pm EST Dance Theatre EtceteraBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

may 2015

22may8:00 pmBuilding a Better Fishtrap/Part 1New York Evening-Length Premiere8:00 pm EST BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts & DanceBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

january 2015

31jan1:00 pm4:00 pmThe Way Out is Through: Building a Better Fishtrap/Start in the MiddleNo Longer Empty Lab: Dance Performance1:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST LeRoy Neiman Art CenterBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

12jan2:00 pm4:00 pmAPAP 2015 Special African-American Female Choreographer ShowcaseCo-hosted by Camille A. Brown and Pamela Green2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST New York City CenterBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

09jan9:00 am2:30 pmBronx Artists Now: Showcases & Conversationsproduced by Jane Gabriels (Director of Pepatian)9:00 am - 2:30 pm EST BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts & DanceBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

june 2014

24junalldayurban interventionspart of Encuentro: MANIFEST! Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas(All Day: tuesday) EST CanadaBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

may 2014

03may5:00 pm7:00 pmDancing While Black + RE: PURPOSE5:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST FiveMylesDancing While Black:Dancing While BlackBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

august 2013

16augalldayWATERWASH(All Day: friday) EST WATERWASH ABC Wetland ParkBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

october 2012

27oct3:00 pmDraftWork: Malcolm Low and Paloma McGregor3:00 pm EST Danspace ProjectBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

may 2012

17mayalldayDancing While Black: Voices From The Bushpart of BAAD!'s 2012 Boogie Down Dance Festival(All Day: thursday) EST BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts & DanceDancing While Black:Dancing While BlackBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Showing

april 2012

28apr1:00 pm7:00 pmThis Side of Paradise: Dance Here. Modernpresented by No Longer Empty1:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST Andrew Freedman HomeBuilding A Better Fishtrap:Fishtrap Community Engagement,Fishtrap Showing

[PHOTO CREDITS] All outdoor photos by Charles R. Berenguer Jr. | Header Image: Ricarrdo Valentine and Alethea Pace in Building a Better Fishtrap at Starlight Park | Photo of Paloma McGregor by Whitney Browne Photography | Bottom Photo with Press & Residency Text: Jessica Lee, Erica Saucedo, Ricarrdo Valentine, and Christine King in Building a Better Fishtrap in Dance on the Greenway at Dance Theater Ecetera

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