The Woods Hole Public Library continues the Lassalle Dance Series with a talk by Reggie Wilson, nationally famous dancer and choreographer. It is thanks to David R. White, Artistic Director and Executive Producer of Martha’s Vineyard’s summer dance theater and festival “The Yard”, that Wilson will be able to interrupt his time there to come over to Woods Hole. Wilson is working on a new project at The Yard, which he is refining for a performance less than a week after this talk.
The Yard is a center of contemporary dance in Chilmark. The Yard’s main season runs from late May through mid-?September, but also continues through the winter, running educational programs for the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA and island schools, including professional performances by an island-?based ensemble, DanceTheYard (DTY).
DTY is comprised of professionals living on Martha’s Vineyard and in New York City, and each member has become a part of The Yard’s greater service mission: working together to present performances for the public, participating in educational residencies and dance making programs for children and adults, along with other community based events around Martha’s Vineyard. Each component of DTY’s work contributes to The Yard’s overarching mission of support for emerging choreographers through residency and financial support, dance and related arts presentations, and a commitment to arts education in the local and national communities. DTY’s directors have created an emerging body of work and a collective of professional artists who are committed to seeing the work presented in the local and national dance arena.
Reggie Wilson is Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Brooklyn-based Fist & Heel Performance Group. The troupe’s name was inspired by enslaved Africans in the Americas who, denied their drums, reinvented their spiritual dance traditions as a soulful art form that white and black authorities dismissed as merely ‘fist and heel worshipping’.
As a choreographer, Wilson draws from the rhythm languages of the body provoked by the spiritual and the mundane traditions of Africa and its Diaspora, including the Blues, Slave and Gospel idioms. He combines these with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.” Specific persons-of-interest in Wilson’s research for his dances are African Americans in Paris and others in the Diaspora who fought for the human right to ‘belong.’ Of recurring interest is Zora Neale Hurston who returned to America even though many of her artist contemporaries went elsewhere.
Wilson will discuss his current work-in-creation, CITIZEN, a multidisciplinary work that demands us to consider the contradictions imbedded in the co-existence of our individual self with our civil duties. The work wrestles with the many implicit and explicit challenges, struggles, judgments, and webbing that exist between the anonymity of the individual and the experiences of being a citizen of one’s homeland, or one’s adopted homeland. CITIZEN hopes to engage and connect audiences to perspectives and conversations regarding belonging, immigration/migration and the black and white of America. It premieres in the fall 2016.
Wilson, a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, has served as visiting faculty at several universities including Yale, Princeton and Wesleyan Universities. He is the recipients of numerous awards including a 2002 BESSIE-New York Dance and Performance Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Herb Alpert Award in Dance, the 2012 Joyce Foundation Award. His work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music, Summerstage (NYC), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Tanzkongress 2013 (Germany).
Thanks to the generosity of Woods Hole summer resident Nancy Lassalle, this talk is free and open to the public. For more information, call 508-548-8961.