Meet the A'we deh ya Creative Collaborators
Since June, Angela’s Pulse has held Study Group convenings with Virgin Island and Stateside collaborators to continue the next iteration of A’we deh ya (“All of us are here”). Learn more about the members of the creative team in the next iteration of this project.
Paloma 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.
MK 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
Savannah Lyons Anthony is a NYC based writer and performing artist working in dance and film. She graduated with a degree in dance performance and composition from Bard College in 2016. She was born and raised in St. John, USVI and currently splits her time between the VI and New York City. She has performed for and collaborated with artists to include Paloma McGregor, Maya Lee-Parritz and Bill T. Jones.
Shalonda Ingram 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 serves JEDI, Spiritual and Corporate entities to explore the intersection of network effect and scalability. Shalonda is committed to the creation of whole, connected communities that thrive by building structures for capacity and trust enhancement.
Oceana James is a St. Croix-born interdisciplinary artist. 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. She 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 in choreographer Paloma McGregor’s Building a Better Fishtrap and principal member of Sibyl Kempson’s 7 Daughters Perf. Co. a theatre company that has just completed a 3-year residency (12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Oceana’s most recent residencies have been EmergeNYC at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and politics at New York University; El Residencial 2018 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.
Christine 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 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 engagement performing projects with DC-based dance company DanceExchange.
Kemit-Amon Lewis was born and raised on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. He received his Bachelor and Master of Marine Sciences Degrees at Savannah State University; supported through NOAA’s Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center. Kemit worked for the USVI Coastal Zone Management Program to help developers avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate for environmental impacts caused by coastal development projects. More importantly, he helped progress the effort to ban gill and trammel nets. Kemit was also the Coral Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Program. He managed the region’s work on coral reef restoration – providing technical guidance/training to programs in the USVI, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Cuba and, eventually, China. He currently works for Perry Institute for Marine Science and strongly believes that by reducing anthropogenic stress while recovering critical species we can restore “resilient” sites and preserve a culture’s commercial, recreational, and spiritual value for the ocean.
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.
Monica Marin is an artist organizer and curator from the U.S. Virgin Islands.She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Art History, Theory and Criticism; and Painting & Drawing. Her work addresses coloniality in the USVI manifested today through tourism, environmental racism, and disaster capitalism. Past projects address the missing African-Caribbean history in dominant historical narratives and how music, dance, embodied practice, and vernacular cultural traditions act as a space of resistance and as a counter archive. Her collaborative curatorial practice challenges the colonial hierarchy to tell the under told stories of freedom, including projects: The Great House with LaVaughn Belle (2011), Migrating Histories with Carla-Acevedo-Yates (2015), Take 5 with Carla-Acevedo-Yates and Alaina Simone (2016), and as co-founder of the Invisible Heritage ongoing community art project with CHANT. Her curated travelling group shows include Paradise Lost (2010-2011) and Invisible Heritage (2017). Recent collaborations include curating For Freedoms featuring Mark “Feijão” Milligan II, and Forgotten Lands (Vol.3.).
Nina Angela Mercer is a cultural worker. Her plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL(The Warehouse Theatre, The Woolly Mammoth, Abrons Arts Center, Little Carib Theatre); ITAGUA MEJI: A Road & A Prayer (Brecht Forum, Alternate Roots, Rutgers University, The Nuyorican Poets Café); GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR(The Warehouse Theatre, American Theatre of Harlem); ELIJAHEEN BECOMES WIND (Anacostia Arts Center); CHARISMA AT THE CROSSROADS (Dorothy Young Arts Center); and A COMPULSION FOR BREATHING (The Schomburg Center, Target Margin Theater). Her writing is published in The Killens Review of Arts & Letters; Black Renaissance Noire; Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre, and Performance; Break Beat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Press); Are You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century (Duke University Press); Performance Research (Taylor and Francis); Represent! New Plays for Multicultural Young People (Bloomsbury Press); and A Gathering of the Tribes Online Magazine.
Erica Patricia Saucedo is a movement artist, educator and scholar based in Austin, Texas. With an M.F.A. in Dance and Social Justice from the University of Texas at Austin, Erica’s interests orbit around practices of re-embodiment–finding ways to tap into the bold future telling potentials of Latinx folklore, iconicity, and popular music. Enlivened by pursuing collaborative arts-based projects that strive for fearless inquiry, affective curiosity, socio-political irreverence, and shameless bodies, Erica Saucedo’s choreographic commissions include works for The University of Texas at Austin, Mini Movement Fest in Dallas, First Street Studio, 92Y Street Fest, Danspace Project, Triskelion Arts, Austin Dance Festival and The Actors Fund Arts Center. Erica’s pedagogy, artistry, and organizing efforts are guided by questions of legacy, leadership and longevity. www.ericasaucedo.com
Khnuma 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 Edge 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.
Masha Tsimring is a designer for live performance. Recently, she has been creating spaces in non-spaces, reaching through the screen with makers and movers around the world. In her solo work, she explores the intersection of art & technology, specifically surrounding light and video/photo mediums, as they relate to memory, migration, mortality, and the textures of our natural environments. Her work has taken her to theaters across the US and internationally to Russia, Chile, China, Germany, Ecuador, the Netherlands, and Bolivia. Homes for New York projects include Playwrights Horizons, The Kitchen, Atlantic Theatre Co., Clubbed Thumb, PlayCo, Invisible Dog, Page73, and Bushwick Starr. In addition to design, Masha’s interests include progress towards pay equity and a more ethical model of making in the American theatre. Masha received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. She is the Masha of design collective, Masha and the Bear Design and a proud member of USA829. More info at www.mashald.com.