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Creativity & Research

Dance and Music

There are three areas of creativity/research in my work, all overlapping in an interconnection of dance and music, a fundamental theme in my career.

I have a lifelong practice as a choreographer and dancer. Beginning with early intensive training in ballet, I expanded into modern and contemporary dance in college and in my professional career in New York City and Vermont. My work often includes narrative or literary components; it is collaborative with other dancers, musicians, film artists. It is highly gender-exploratory. It is grounded in years of experimental, improvisational, musical, and choreographic practice, and my interest in the ritual/religious expression of my own and other cultures. It often integrates a site-specific aspect. A digital format that I have practiced over the years is the online dance and writing improvisational performance, Weekly Rites. Explored in diverse locations from my own bedroom to a soccer field in Florence, Italy, it is a ritual practice itself, in being and movement.

The second creative area moves through the first: work in songwriting, performance and recording via guitar, piano, and voice. I lead a collaborative music collective, The Celestials, in performances in New York City and New England. The group features several musician-dancers; dance is a part of our performances. Several of my musical pieces have been used in choreographers' films or scores, such as Ara Fitzgerald, Paul Besaw, and Marta Renzi.

Dance and music are also part of my scholarly research, which explores the ways in which dance and movement are essential to Black churches' practices of creating alternative experience, embodied decoloniality, in America's white supremacist culture. In particular, I have looked at the intersection of choreographed dance ministry, or liturgical dance, and ecstatic improvisation, and how this involves complex issues of gender in the context of several African Methodist Episcopal churches. It involves exploration of the religious, social, political, and musical underpinnings of Black churches' practice, and the generative and boundary-breaking interplay between Black churches and the secular contemporary stage.

Future directions include a revival of Weekly Rites, my online improvisational practice, with an added live music component; continued research in the area of Black church dance ministry; and choreographing within a specifically ballet vocabulary.

Choreography Excerpt #1

Choreography Excerpt #2

Choreography Excerpt #3

Interconnections of dance and music.

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