Gearing Up, Running Out | September 19, 2015

Dear Friends,

Oh my, we are gearing up!!! There is definitely a concept vs reality factor going on that somehow summer is the time we have MORE time… but we always run out!!! Oh well, I hope that we all still have some lovely lazy days.

In the meantime.. I wanted to share some of the fascinating summers our 2015/16 Artist in Residence have had:

Second year AIR AURIN SQUIRE graduated from Julliard in June and completed the Lila Acheson Wallace Fellowship there as well as a Dramatists Guild Fellowship. Also in June he had a second workshop of his new futuristic fantasia “Zoohouse” as a part of his I AM SOUL residency at National Black Theatre. His play “Obama-ology” closed at Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts in mid-June. At the same time he was over in London for Royal Court Theatre’s US Writers’ residency for his play “Mercury Parallel.” Also in her second year PALOMA McGREGOR presented Angela’s Pulse’s first guest curation of Dancing While Black in May – with Nia Love, Jaamil Kosoko and Ebony Noelle Golden (curators), featuring artists Anthony Rosado (who she met at BAX’s Artist Services Day), Brother(hood) Dance and Raja Feather Kelley. In June, she traveled to Miami for a funder meeting as part of her grant from Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences. She also traveled to Duke University for an exciting meeting of academics, artists and curators focused on audiences of color organized by Tommy DeFrantz, Jane Gabriels and Dasha Coleman. She headed to New Orleans in July for one of her favorite annual events, Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, where she has served on the faculty for 10 years. Most importantly, in August, her daughter, Olamina – who has now traveled by plane, train and automobile quite a bit, will be 6 months old and seems to love being on the road! And our THIRD second year AIR DANIEL CARLTON calls himself a child of the beach and takes his summer fun extremely seriously. He strives to spend nearly every moment, even inevitable working ones, in some combination of water, mountains, wood smoke, festivals, sweat filled embraces, day dreams, day buzzes, and classical philosophy. After the mid June showing of “A Seat At The Table,” the new work he generated in his first year of residency at BAX, he took advantage of the most exciting, generous and humbling series of invitations possible to do most of the above. He is currently in various stages of pitching, negotiating, and planning residencies for 2015/16 with schools, organizing campaigns, and community based organizations in NYC and San Francisco. He has also officially kicked off 2.0 of “Act Like You Care,” the teen performance initiative he launched at BAX in the first year of his residency. He hosted a reunion party and goal setting session at Coney Island in August for 10 of his ensemble members.


Now on to our newer AIR’s. KRISTINA HARUNA LEE began her summer on the road. She was driving a huge van with ten people for her friend’s theatre company Fresh Ground Pepper on their way from New York City to Bonnaroo (a young, eclectic scene where modern-day hippies giddily rage on at a commercially sponsored music festival in the middle of nowhere). They were a troupe of about thirty actors, designers, directors camping out on the same grounds as these wily Bonnaroovians, performing site-specific pieces revolving around the idea of a pop-up 1950’s town. By day they donned football regalia and red cheerleading uniforms and drenched themselves under the Tennessee sun, and by night they danced electro-pop wearing lights and glowing things under vinyl raincoats on fire-breathing stages that looked over crowds of thousands.. After regaining her bearings in the city, she set off to Salem, NY to work with Mettawee River Theatre Company, a puppet show which tours around rural towns in NY, VT, CT in the hopes of sharing theater with a community that otherwise may not have access to theatre at all. This year also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the company, so the show is an amalgamation of their many previous works and stunning puppets. Lee shared that working with Ralph Lee is like working with an all-star. At a sprightly 80 years old, he takes his flannel shirt off in the sun and is working all hours of the day in the fields or in his puppet studio, his small muscular back glistening with sweat. NI’JA WHITSON’S culmination of their one-year residency at BAAD to expand When Water Dries the Mouth into an evening-length inquiry on the perversion of prayer and faith took place in June.  July brought full circles and milestones.  As a collaborator with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians for ten-years, and as a jazz artist Ni’Ja  was thrilled at the interdisciplinary, expansive retrospective being hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago on the organization and its intersections within the Black Arts Movement.  Whitson  was the featured choreographer and dancer for the opening of this event sharing the stage with incomparable jazz and creative musicians including director Douglas Ewart, Rita Warford, Edward Wilkerson Jr. Mwata Bowden, J.D. Parran, and celebrated poet, Sterling D. Plumpp.  Just a few days prior, they received a Time Out New York Critic’s Pick and subsequent New York Times review following their opening of the Dance at Vision Fest program.  This concert included the legendary Oliver Lake, and vocalist Mankwe Ndosi, with Ewart again conducting. AIR MARISSA PEREL participated in a panel (in June) at Gibney Dance organized by Eva Yaa Asantewaa entitled Dance Criticism in New York along with fellow dance writers Rose Ann Thom, Jaime Shearn Coan, A, Nia Austin-Edwards, Charmaine Warren and Siobhan Burke. In June, Marissa took a trip out to another beach to make art, Fire Island. They joined Denison University student, Amanda Comstock and professor, Gill Wright Miller. They sat together on a private beach and discussed feminism and representation of gender in performance. Perel was honored to be a field study for Amanda, who is researching the intersection of writing and somatic practices. Later that month, Marissa was asked to guest curate for the QT: Queer Text reading series at Dixon Place. They  hosted C.Carr and Jaime Shearn Coan who read from their reviews and research. It was an incredible, deeply queer and rooted reading. Lastly, Perel is honored to announce their acceptance into the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts SHIFT Residency, where they will work with six other “Arts-Workers as Artists” throughout the year.

WILL DAVIS started off his summer with a production of Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. The piece is about the mapping of the Grand Canyon set on three boats in the middle of a river rapid. He is  incredibly proud of the work, the people who made it with me and my boat choreography! (NY Times review) He also had the pleasure of working at Berkeley Rep as part of their Ground Floor new work initiative. He began work there on a new piece about the practice of color guard. He spent a good chunk of the week on the loading dock with 15 interns learning how to spin flags and wooden sabers. Will taught a course for young directors and theater makers AT THE Kennedy Center this summer that focused on the director’s relationship to space, time, text and the body. Will teaches this workshop once a year and every year he is amazed at these students and their hugely generous and curious spirits . In San Diego, he will spent most of August and September working on a play very dear to his heart called Orange Julius written by Basil Kriemendahl.