“I see black people as superheroes because we keep rising.” ~ Question Bridge: Black Males in America (2012)
Go behind-the-scenes for the development of "ink"
“ink” celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora and reclaims African-American narratives by showcasing their authenticity. The work examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced.
Creative Residency at MANCC at Florida State University
Image from "Cultural Codes" - Excerpt from "ink"
“Cultural Codes” begins with a call to Elegba - a Yoruba deity that that opens and clears the space as guardian, protector, and communicator. Through the various revolutions of a structured phrase, the grio pulls out all the manifestations of Blackness.
Image from "Balance" - Duet from "ink"
"Balance" represents the shared energy between a man and a woman. Often men and women are put into very specific roles—the man as the protector/provider and the woman as the nurturer. In Balance these roles are interchangeable. Through their mannerisms and gestures, you see the story of how they meet, court, lift, care, protect, and most importantly, love each other.
Image from "Milkshake" - Excerpt from "ink"
Inspired by Saartje Baartman’s ample curves, "Milkshake," transposes the objectification of the Black female body into a rhythmic celebration and glorification of her form. It’s where “pattin Juba” meets “Go Go”.
Image from "Turf" - Male Duet from "ink"
"Turf" is about brotherhood, and similar to BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play’s journey of sisterhood, tells the story of two Black men from boyhood to manhood. They are claiming their turf in society, home, and life. Through it all, they walk the path together—protecting each other.
Image from "Shedding" - Excerpt from "ink"
For those who bear the burdens of others, "Shedding," evokes the story of those who keep us lifted even in the midst of their own enervation.
Image from "Migration" - Excerpt from "ink"
"Migration" is a community of love, support and enduring vitality moving with the sound of the violin - a reference the Kora, a West African instrument.
The lead commissioners for ink are Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, NJ and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), with support from the Lumberyard. ink also received co-commissioning support from ASU Gammage.
The creation and presentation of ink was made possible by The New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the Howard Gilman Foundation.
ink was given its original creative development residency by The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance in partnership with The Evelyn Sharp/CalArtsSummer Choreographic Residency. The development of ink was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University with support from the Princess Grace Foundation. The work is also being created, in part, during a production residency at ASU Gammage, University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, 2017 Off-Shore Creation Residency at The Yard and creative residencies at Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, NJ, Jacob’s Pillow, Hobart & William Smith Colleges and CUNY Dance Initiative at Kingsborough Community College.