As a Black dancer, I often grapple with a question I asked in my 2015 work BodyBusiness: What is my body worth? Over the years, fundraising for SLMDances, the collective I founded and direct, has proven to be an uphill battle. It is not lost on me that what is being funded is not just a creative process, but also my physical self and the physical bodies of the artists with whom I collaborate.
How Black Dancers Regularly Confronting Racism Can Protect Their Mental Health
Dance Magazine | October 2020
From dancers using their art to speak truth to power to theaters opening their doors to protesters, the dance community is mobilizing in our national reckoning with racial injustice. But what is the impact of confronting systemic racism in our dance organizations, especially for Black dancers? How does confronting racism and implicit bias regularly in their creative work affect artists psychologically?
SLMDances, the dance-theater collective I founded and run, found our footing in our art-making practice creating community-engaged and accountable works. Our mission — to work in communities to organize for gender and racial justice through experiential dance performance — began to manifest in 2011 when we started developing The Window Sex Project. Born out of my own desire to walk down the street and not feel like I was being “window shopped” like a mannequin or other sexual object on display...
Do you know when you are unwell? Not unwell like a cold, but unwell, like not well. Can’t think straight or maybe thinking too straight. Brushing your teeth is pushing a boulder uphill. There is a dull yellow dustiness hanging about you. In your feelings. Lachrymose. Out of body. Missing sense of self. Not sure and not used to not being sure. If there is a you that you know, that you are intimately acquainted with, not-well-you is a pale or blurry or refracted reflection.
We walked out. Single file line. And as we arranged ourselves on the altar listening to the words that beckoned our presence and our power I noticed the overwhelming number of white faces staring back at us. Waiting patiently to see what our next move would be. This is first time I have ever done THIS work - church dancing - in white space.
Today/July 4, 2016.
It’s taken me 15 months to get this post out, and today of all the days – the 4th of July – is when I finally feel free enough to finish this writing. Today, when the United States of America celebrates its independence with a day off, too much food and drink, and sparkling lights exploding overhead. On this day, I find myself lounging on my parents’ new porch, gazing at the trees, and inhaling more fresh air in the past 24 hours than I have since who-can-remember-when.
Maria Bauman and Andre M. Zachery Embody Present and Future
The Dance Enthusiast |2015
This weekend at Danspace Project’s DraftWork, choreographers Maria Bauman and Andre M. Zachery will show new works in progress. Although they are working in disparate modes – Bauman in a solo improvisational practice and Zachery working collaboratively at the intersection of movement and technology - each choreographer’s artistic investigation focuses on self-actualization.
On Wednesday, November 7th I had the pleasure of attending “Ntozake Shange on Stage & Screen” sponsored by Africana Studies at Barnard. The event began with a screening of Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of Shange’s choreopoem for colored girls... I was relieved to learn that her thoughts aligned with the criticisms I’d been outlining in my head since I first saw the film over a year ago.