This is my second time attending COLLEGIUM FOR AFRICAN DIASPORA DANCE conference
At this years conference I presented in three sessions. A panel with my colleagues, a panel with my peers, and a performance.
From the Website
The Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) fourth bi-annual conference aims to provoke enlivened discussions on the power and politics of global Black Dance by bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and other stakeholders for three days of intellectual and artistic inspiration in Durham.
Our 2020 conference theme, Fluid Black::Dance Back seeks to center African diaspora dance as a resource and method of creative and aesthetic possibility in pursuit of the following lines of inquiry:
How do dance and movement practices across the African diaspora create space for fluidity in gender, race, sexuality, ability, and other markers of identity?
How does race, gender, class and sexuality inform African diaspora dance communities, broadly defined?
What kinds of resistant practices does Black Dance offer to combat gendered and raced based discrimination, violence and brutality?
In what ways does Black Dance engender mobility on and off the dance floor or concert stage?
How does African diaspora dance help us to queer pedagogical pathways for dance in higher education?
How does Black Dance render Blackness visible in the absence of Black bodies?
Ebonies in the Ivory
The MFA In Flux
Panel discussion moderated by Surya Swilley pulled together some of the MFA Class of 2019 from different institutions. Ama Ma’at (Temple University) currently faculty at Drexel University, Tanagna Princess Payne (Temple University) performer for Rennie Harris, and myself (The Ohio State University) currently a professor at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
We had an intimate discussion about our time in grad school and the Post-MFA life. While we all chose different careers path, we all agree that navigating the many different institutions of dance post-school can only be survived by a community of folx by your side.
I presented an excerpt from my MFA thesis performance entitled LackLuster. This section showcased my military experience. I hadn’t danced this piece since its original performance in 2019. So preparing for this was a shift.
Working full-time teaching and being a performing artist is a struggle I’m trying to manage. I used that, as well as the practices I pick up to shift the work into what was performed. I let go of judgment and let the story speak for itself. This section is a structured improvisation based on my personal information file (PIF), the current state of emotion and mind around my military experience, and my response to a reoccurring question in my life “You were in the military, what happen?”
The audience’s reaction to the piece was very supportive. I gage how far I can go based on their interaction with my singing of the USAF mantra.
Post-performance, I cried all my emotions out in the dark backstage corner. After I composed myself, I got dressed and went back on stage with the other performers. Because I’ve worked on this project so long, I found my rhythm for pre and post-show rituals.
Post-Post Show, I was loved by almost everyone at the conference. I can never get used to this. Especially with this piece. All I can do is smile and say thank you. Prior to the conference, I work with fellow friends and therapists to practice questions and answers so that I don’t become long-winded or re-trigger myself. Even with practice, I was still met with a couple of ones I wasn’t prepared for. One in particular that stuck with me was a woman who didn’t believe my story. Her