Dance As Activism

Dancing the Resistance: 3 Shows Tackling #BlackLivesMatter and Beyond

Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Photo by Matthew Karas, Courtesy The Kennedy Center.

If The Nutcracker just isn't doing it for you this season, stay #woke with these three shows.


Camille A. Brown Delivers a Double Whammy

WASHINGTON, DC Camille A. Brown isn't known for pulling punches. As part of her Kennedy Center debut, she'll premiere ink, an examination of African-American rituals and gestural language co-commissioned by The Kennedy Center. It's the third and final work in her trilogy examining race and identity. ink's Dec. 2 premiere will be preceded by her acclaimed second installment, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, on Dec. 1. (The first, Mr. Tol E. RAncE, won a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production.) ink promises to be a powerful reclamation of black history and culture, one that can power a better future. kennedy-center.org.

A Dance Festival for First Nations Issues

Dancing Earth director Rulan Tangen. Photo by Elizbeth Opalenik, Courtesy Dancing Earth.

SAN FRANCISCO Dancing Earth Creations and Cuicacalli Dance Company have teamed up to create the 500 Years of Resistance Festival. The two-day event spotlights contemporary indigenous choreography, addressing issues faced by First Nations peoples in California ranging from the ecological to the sociopolitical. Dec. 1–2. dancingearth.org.

Helanius J. Wilkins is Singled Out

Helanius J. Wilkins. Photo by Charles H. Black, Courtesy Wilkins.

WASHINGTON, DC Dancer/choreographer Helanius J. Wilkins, known for his deeply personal solos, brings Triggered, a program of new and old solo and group works, to his former home. Now a professor at University of Colorado Boulder, he is joined by dancers from Boulder and special guests. A trio titled Media's Got Me All Figured Out: Reloaded is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues it confronts. Dec. 3, Millennium Stage, The Kennedy Center. kennedy-center.org.

The Conversation
News
Courtesy Ritzel

Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.

At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.

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Jayme Thornton

When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.

"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."

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Dancers Trending
Robbie Fairchild in a still from In This Life, directed by Bat-Sheva Guez. Photo courtesy Michelle Tabnick PR

Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.

While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.

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The Creative Process
Terry Notary in a movement capture suit during the filming of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Photo by Sigtor Kildal, Courtesy Notary

When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.

The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.

Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.

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