Monday, January 12, 2015

The Gathering 2015 meets at Gibney 280

The Gathering, as described by founder Camille A. Brown, is "an open forum for intergenerational black female artists to support one another and to advocate for greater cultural equity and acknowledgement in the contemporary dance world."

Following Winter 2014's successful launch, Brown brought The Gathering back last night in a new format guided by Onye Ozuzu (chair, Dance Department, Columbia College Chicago) at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway.

Camille A. Brown
(photo: Ra-Re Valverde)

Dancer-journalist A Nia Austin-Edwards
tweets The Gathering.
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Left-to right: Choreographers Cynthia Oliver,
Edisa Weeks and Paloma McGregor
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Guests mingle before the evening's exercises begin.
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Facilitator Onye Ozuzu leads participants in improvisatory exercises,
sparked by our questions and stories, keeping bodies in near continual flow.
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

The Gathering 2015 was more of a creative game than a discussion of issues, more of an intimate dance of immediacy than a verbal forum. Bodies, questions, tears and testimony filled the theater in shifting, fluid configurations with space for the invisible.

"How are you doing the work?" "What are you excited about?" "How do you know when you're working too hard?" "What is your joy right now?" "Do you ever dance because you hurt?" "I deserve the best. I am the best. I have allies." "Asking for help, connecting with other people, helps you to move from the I to the We."

Participants encircle dance artist Nia Love (seated) and Paloma McGregor.
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa)
Dancemaker Christal Brown (right)
answers a few questions.
(c)2015, Eva Yaa Asantewaa 

These first steps are power-packed beginnings from which any number of useful new steps may develop for individuals, organizations and potential collaborators within the Black female dance diaspora. Periodic mini-gatherings during the year--to address specific needs, goals and actions--would be a most welcome addition to this inspiring annual event.

Once again, congratulations to Brown, and to all who worked to produce The Gathering 2015.

As Ozuzu would say, "Rest and hold.... Continue."

To connect with The Gathering, please visit this site.

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