Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reasons to be thankful!

I have many things to be thankful for--among them, being so often surrounded by gifted, accomplished artists. This season, I had the great pleasure of moderating BRIC Arts Media's post-show Q&A with choreographer Ronald K. Brown (celebrating his troupes's 30th anniversary) and poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. For Ronald K. Brown/Evidence's season at BRIC, Brown and Boyce-Taylor presented a revival of Water, their 1999 collaboration. 

The Q&A followed the performance on Friday, November 13 as New Yorkers were just hearing and struggling to process the horrific news from Paris. All through our conversation, I felt the unshakable force of Ron and Cheryl's groundedness and focus. I was happy that they both emphasized how important it is for young, innovating artists to value and tap the experience of arts elders as they move forward in a field--and a world--presenting numerous challenges.

Movers and Shakers: Dance Activists in NYC
a panel at Brooklyn Historical Society
(photo: Tyrone Z. McCants)
L to r: Jason Samuels Smith, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, AntBoogie,
Tamia Santana, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Camille A. Brown
(photo: Tyrone Z. McCants)

I also had the honor of being invited, by Meredith Duncan, Programs and Communication Manager of Brooklyn Historical Society, and Tamia Santana, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Dance Festival, to moderate their panel on dance and activism at BHS. The panelists? Knockouts, all: Camille A. Brown, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, AntBoogie and Jason Samuels Smith, distinguished in their respective genres of dance and deeply engaged with community, education and social justice.

(photo: Tyrone Z. McCants)
(photo: Tyrone Z. McCants)

Despite a late-fall downpour that kept some people home, we had a good gathering and a rich, wide-ranging discussion touching on the power of the arts to shift the way we think and imagine, the fundamental importance of technical discipline, the role of the body in political action, and the perennial challenge posed by mainstream media and conventional tastemakers and gatekeepers. So often, our talk returned to the imperative that progressive artists just go for it, find their own truths, control their own spaces, creating alternatives in an end run around these barriers. I greatly appreciate the example these artists continue to set for us all.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your nourishing support over the years. InfiniteBody continues to be here for you, and I hope you will continue to enjoy it and send your friends and colleagues my way.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Eva :-)

Cynthia Robinson, 69

Cynthia Robinson, Trumpeter and Co-Founder of Sly and the Family Stone, Dies at 69
by Yesha Callahan, The Root, November 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Congratulations to Carla Peterson!

Last evening, our dear friend and colleague Carla Peterson (along with Charles Ruas) was presented with the insignia of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in a joyous ceremony.

All photos 
©2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Bénédicte de Montlaur,
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy,
welcomes guests.
Carla Peterson,
Director of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography,
accepts her insignia from Bénédicte de Montlaur
in recognition of her international work on behalf of dance artists. 
Carla Peterson spoke of her working class upbringing
and how her parents would have been amazed
to see her receive this honor.
Charles Ruas--interviewer,
literary and art critic, and translator--
also became a Chevalier
for his prolific and multifaceted work.
Choreographer Tere O'Connor was one
of a many notable dance community members
 on hand to celebrate this tribute to Peterson.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The political spectacle of Bread and Puppet Theater

Vermont's Bread and Puppet Theater
returns to New York for a December season.
(photos courtesy of Bread and Puppet Theater)

The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood. More complex theater pieces followed, in which sculpture, music, dance and language were equal partners. The puppets grew bigger and bigger.
During the Vietnam War, Bread and puppet staged block-long processions and pageants involving hundreds of people. In 1974 Bread and Puppet moved to a farm in Glover in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Read more and connect with Bread and Puppet Theater here. Volunteers are welcome for the theater's upcoming events in New York:

Upcoming shows and art auction 

The Overtakelessness Circus
December 12-13, 19-20 at 3pm

The Seditious Conspiracy Theater Presents: A monument to the Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera
December 16-20 at 8pm

Bread and Puppet Theater Art Auction (live auctioneer and band)
Friday, December 18at 9:30pm

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets), Manhattan

Saeed Jaffrey, 86

Saeed Jaffrey, Actor in ‘Gandhi’ and ‘The Man Who Would Be King,’ Dies at 86
by Nida Najar, The New York Times, November 22, 2015

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