Friday, April 26, 2019

Imprinting (Dan)space: Tendayi Kuumba and Samita Sinha

Left: Tendayi Kuumba (photo: Angie Vasquez)
Right: Samita Sinha (photo: Aram Jibilian)

A shared evening of new work by Tendayi Kuumba and Samita Sinha
Danspace Project
April 25 and April 27, 2019

collective terrain/s is a collective research process into sounding in the body. How does the body open up possibilities for voice and resistance? What resonances in the voice and body exist beyond language?
 --from Danspace Project

As part of an evening organized by collective terrain/s, composer and vocalist Samita Sinha--with numerous collaborating vocalists of cultural diversity--creates a force field of sonic energy to surround an audience informally positioned at the center, not the perimeter, of the performance space. Infinity Folds is vocal music in motion, a lovely, luscious gift that makes you the focus of a meditative sonic bath and massage, your aura tingling. It's marvelously coordinated as the circle of vocalists shape and move breath--moans and drones, trills and low roars--into the outer air, using softly-adjusted bodies as tuning devices. You absorb the circling and circling soundscape that builds, pulses, overlaps, presses towards listeners and then ebbs, flares in spots, sometimes drops away entirely. Set in the sacred and justice-conscious space of St. Mark's Church, this loving ritual feels and sounds so right. You might never want it to end. [Performed by Regina Bain, Rina Espiritu, Fana Fraser, Yingjia Lemon Guo, Chaesong Kim, Risha Lee, Okwui Okpokwasili, lily bo shapiro, Samita Sinha, Sheena Sood and Helen Yung]

Somewhere in the midst of U.F.O.:(Unidentified Fly Objects), made and performed by Tendayi Kuumba in creative collaboration with Greg Purnell, an intermittent projection flashes against an upper corner of the church's wall. It images a patch of cloudy sky lit up by the glow of lightning. Kuumba's formidably quirky self-presentation gives way to something simply majestic, and you realize: this unpredictable, kinda scary woman is lightning. Folding, writhing, recoiling, she lights up the night with pure energy coursing through every stretch of her without impediment. The piece--accompanied by Purnell, seated at a desk, working a soundboard and providing a strong, rumbling ostinato--also features Kuumba's vocals. In body and voice--and soul--she is jazz.

We already whole, she sings. Even through the rain/somehow we always maintain.

We already home.

Purnell sings with her.

Can't break my soul.

Now hear that!

Choreography: Tendayi Kuumba
Creative concepts, lighting, dramaturgy, set design and songwriting/musical composition created with collaborator Greg Purnell

collective terrain/s is organized by Lydia Bell, Jasmine Hearn and Tatyana Tenenbaum. To learn more about collective terrain/s's activities and the series' publication--designed by collective please--click here.

A shared evening of new work by Tendayi Kuumba and Samita Sinha concludes tomorrow (Saturday) with a performance at 8pm. For the best effects, come a bit early to get a prime seat in the center, though you can also sit along the church's risers. For information and tickets, click here.

131 East 10th Street (at Second Avenue), Manhattan

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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