Dance Discourse Project #23

Visioning a More Human Dwelling Place
Saturday, Dec 3, 2016, 3p, doors open at 2:30pm
at the NEW Counterpulse, 80 Turk St, SF
FREE – RSVP here:

The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forests, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place. —James Baldwin

Co-hosted by the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now, Dancers’ Group and CounterPulse, this edition of the Dance Discourse Project took the form of roundtable and small-group community conversations generated by themes centered around racial injustice/violence, soul to soul healing, and community care. Moderator Laura Elaine Ellis, co-director of the Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now, was joined by panelists dana e. fitchett, Sheena Johnson, and Robert Simpson. Facilitated by this panel of artists/activists, who actively create work addressing social justice and cultural equity, this DDP focused on the power of community activism and bridging cultural chasms. Inspired by James Baldwin’s quote as a frame of reference, together we visioned a more human dwelling place, asking ourselves: what does it look like, how do we get there and what is our role in the journey?

Guest Curator/Moderator Laura Elaine Ellis has been a force within the Bay Area dance Community for over twenty years. In addition to dancing, choreographing and teaching, she co-produces the annual Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now, a multifaceted, comprehensive festival celebrating the diverse artistic expression within the context of African and African American dance and culture. Currently a CounterPulse Performing Diaspora resident artist, dana e. fitchett is a multidisciplinary artist and radical mixed-race Black woman who uses her relationship to music, visual art, and movement as a sandbox for exploration of identity and issues of justice, and for seeking healing from racism and capitalism through the reimagination of possibilities. Trained in classical ballet from a young age, dana later explored a vast range of movement styles, including tap, modern, hip-hop, and jazz, from all different cultural traditions. Sheena Johnson and her company Rebel Home Dance create inquiry based multi-disciplinary performance that seeks to incite courage, imagination and change. Sheena’s most recent performance series DreamBoundFree explores the question: Within the context of #blacklivesmatter, #icantbreathe and #iamsandrabland, what futures are truly possible for black folks in these lands? Thomas Robert Simpson, actor, director, producer, and writer, is the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo Arts Festival. Since 1991 he has concentrated on presenting African American and African Diasporan art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts.