Out of Africa

Nora Chipaumire in her Miriam. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

In the not-so-distant past, white explorers, colonizers, missionaries, and historians referred to Africa as “the dark continent” or dramatized it as “darkest Africa.”  They may have been alluding to the skin color of most of its native inhabitants, but certainly to their own inability (and unwillingness) to understand its customs and lore. Over two September weeks, at two different New York … [Read more...]

Two Black Women, Two Dark Journeys

Chipaumire, journeying. Photo: Ian Douglas

In 1982, Ishmael Houston-Jones asked himself some questions about Black Dance (a term embraced at the time by those who considered themselves part of it) and how that aesthetic related to the work that he and some of his African American colleagues on the downtown New York scene were interested in creating. The result: two weekends of performances produced that year by Danspace Project at Saint … [Read more...]

Bearing the Past, Traveling On

Mille Lundt spinning through time. Photo: Ian Douglas

Some people aver that dance and politics don’t mix well. Others claim that dancing is inevitably political in some sense—yielding or countering dominant views about gender, power, race,  or identity that may be inscribed on the body. Occasionally, a choreographer wants to speak out, to raise awareness and awaken consciences through dance. In his or her own way. When Jane Comfort dealt with the … [Read more...]