Selected Writings

Black Dance Stories Remains Required Viewing

Dance Magazine | June 2021

 

In Episode 1 of Black Dance Stories, a web series that launched on June 25, 2020, Stefanie Batten Bland talks about how she has no childcare. In another episode, Leslie Parker Zooms from the Twin Cities, where she is having solo rehearsals at a theater three blocks from the epicenter of the George Floyd protests. Nia Love starts her episode with an energetic dance that grounds her before she dives into sharing that she is recovering from a case of COVID-19 and is grieving the transition of family members.

Photo Credit: Tony Turner

 

I Have No Desire to Produce a Performance, Live or Livestreamed, Until the Pandemic Is Over. I'll Wait.

Dance Magazine | March 2021

 

Friends, I'd like to deliver some news that might be challenging for you. As much as we have been trained to believe "the show must go on," I can assure you right now, it will be fine if it does not.

I understand. Trust me, I do. The pandemic arrived smack in the middle of a performance project I've been creating since 2017. I had hopes of getting it to the stage in 2021. Considering that 2021 is here, I'm clear that's an unrealistic goal.

Photo Credit: Kyle Breen

 

On Black Death and Fundraising

Brooklyn Rail | October 2020

 

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. 

Photo Credit: Sydnie L. Mosley

 

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?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dance Magazine

 

Virtual Visionaries: Engaging Communities

University of Michigan Excel SMTD Log | 2020

 

 

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...

Photo Credit: FAB

 

How To Be A Black Choreographer And Not Die

Essence | 2020

 

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.

Photo Credit: ShocPhoto

 

The Haunt-Mourning-F*ck

Girls Like Us Issue #9 | 2016

 

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.

I chose my prompt: the haunt.

Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

 

Sipping Lemonade, Savoring Pound CAKE

Love Stutter | 2016

 

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.

Photo Credit: Sydnie L. Mosley

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.  

Photo Credit: David B. Smith