Monday, January 20, 2014

Artists and vulnerability: Mixing it up with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
(photo courtesy of Kelly Strayhorn Theater)


a workshop with 

Sunday, Feb 16, 1-4pm

466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), Manhattan
Part performance theory, part vocalization, part group movement/thinking exploration, students will investigate themes of trans performance states, sensitivity, risk-taking, eroticism, exhibitionism, bad behavior, and vocal sounding as a means of healing the self through live performance. Together we watch and support each other by finding, exposing, and attempting to break open previously locked/hidden pathways of emotional, physical and visual performativity. Students are encouraged to bring props and costumes to the workshop to which they have personal meanings, but are willing to let be destroyed.
Kosoko with composer-musician Pauline Oliveros
(photo courtesy of Jaamil Olawale Kosoko)
Kosoko talked with me about his three-hour workshop, Preparing The Vulnerable Body for Performance, open to performing artists from a multitude of genres:

"My idea is to encourage a kind of desegregation in the classroom, to encourage a variety of different kinds of artists to occupy the same space and to learn from each other. So often, we encourage a more insular approach to the creative process and creative space-making. It’s super-important to give those of us who want to branch out of that and explore the terrain an opportunity to engage and meet and explore this idea of vulnerability with others who are working in a similar way but maybe not in the same genre, and use it as a platform to give and take in that way. 

"I also want to think about incorporating a variety of theory into the workshop, bringing in poets, music, maybe some text that I’ve been thinking a lot about--I really love the work of Daphne Brooks--author of Bodies in Dissent--and other literature that I plan to use as jumping off points to initiate certain creative spontaneity. That’s what I’m super-excited about. And then just to see who all comes and what we can share with each other and to create a safe space for that exploration to take place.

"In addition, I’ve been working a lot with Pauline Oliveros over the past year, here in Philadelphia, a legend in the sounding, experimental music, vocalization world. So, using various tactics that I have accumulated over the past ten years of my professional career, I’d love to share some of these methods and ideologies that I’ve learned as a part of my own practice for preparing my body for doing the kind of work that I do and present on the stage."

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a producer, curator, poet, and performance artist. He is a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, a 2011 Fellow as a part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and an inaugural graduate member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University.

Rooted in a creative mission to push history forward, Kosoko’s work in theater and dance has received support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, The Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. His new solo performance work entitled BLACK MALE REVISITED: Revenge of the New Negro premiered in December 2013 at Miami Theater Center as part of Art Basel and Art Miami '13. As a performer, Kosoko has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, and others. Kosoko’s poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, and Silo, among other publications. In 2011, Kosoko published Notes on an Urban Kill-Floor: Poems for Detroit (Old City Publishing). He is a contributing correspondent for Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), and Critical Correspondence (NYC). Visit: for more information.


In February, CLASSCLASSCLASS will also present affordable workshops by iele paloumpis (see my interview with them on Dancer's Turn), Aretha Aoki, Nia Love and Jillian Sweeney, among many other artists, at Abrons Arts Center. Click here to learn more.

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