www-urbanbushwomencenter-org-voicesfromthebush-2016-9-13-convenings-and-gatherings-a-conversation-with-marguerite-hemmings-by-tara-aisha-willis.jpgI met Margaurite Hemmings in the 2017 ADF Winter Intensive in New York City. She is currently on of Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative Artist.  In her class, we focused on improvisation techniques of dancehall and African American vernacular styles with relationships to the music of Trap, Rap, Afrobeats, and Dancehall. She and I instantly connected on my introducing to Afro-Trap (which is a music genre of afro-beats and trap music). From there she invited me back out to dance with her in this process of #WEFREE lab. For 4 days we practiced different improvisation scores that dealt with rhythm, emotions, relationships, and more. I will go over 3 exercises we did.

J-Set(ting) is a dance style that is characterized by a lead and follows the format where one dancer initiates a series of high-energy dance moves, and the other dancers join in the movement. In this exercise (which is included at the beginning of the video), we practiced sharing our improvised dance moves. We picked an instrument rhythm in the music and danced to it for 8-16 counts. After that, the people did the exact same thing you did. This kept us engaged and on our toes. Evey time it changed and you were to quickly execute it.

Relationship. We could relate to each other or music via a mirror, contrast, compliment, control.

Compliment: We went across the floor and watched intentionally our partner. Then we did a version of their solo in their essence. We showed moves that caught our eye. the partner watch intentionally to see if they can see themselves in it. W/ music we listen to 1 track several times to find our rhythm and dynamic and we danced to it. this allowed me to slow down and intentionally move within the parameters the musician gave us.

Mirror: Copying of our partner via mimic or in essence of. We tried to keep eye contact with one another

Contrast: One person dancing in their essence and you do something is a different dynamic vain.

Experimental: We played the familiar trap, dancehall, and rap music to get our memory. From there we put a flocking together to follow each others movement.

This 4-day experience led to us performing it at the Braynakove Art Center. To see a clip, check the link in the title. The playlist to get in the Zone. Images of our time together


January 22-24th we collaborated with one another to create a magical performance and exploration.


January 23th we had a sold-out performance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

Below is an excerpt of the performance. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Marguerite Hemmings and the crew.