Dramaturgical Ecologies, a Concordia-based multi-disciplinary group of artists and researchers interested in the ecologies of dramaturgical processes, invites you to attend the third event of the 5-part series, The ABCs of DE, in conversation with Daniel McNeil (Queen's University, CA) and SERAFINE1369 (London, UK).
The series of five moderated events emerges from a desire to provoke conversations that are themselves movements between disciplines, concepts, scholars, and practitioners, aiming to both generate and destabilize dialogue and reflection on black performance. The ABC's of DE address commonalities and/or tensions in and between the fields of dance dramaturgy and black performance studies. Focusing on how the concepts of ‘blackness’ and ‘dramaturgy’ (productively) rub up against one another, the conversations speak to how theories of blackness - and its fugitivity, opacity and expression - challenge performance dramaturgy’s implicit supposition that the performer’s body, and the resulting creative work, is a “neutral canvas” on which the dramaturgical process might unilaterally ascribe meaning.
Each event will highlight two primary “keywords”, placed in relationship and hopeful movement. This is less about asking our guests to engage with specific definitions but rather an invitation to generate movement between what the keywords evoke in their different practices and perspectives.
"Friction” and “opacity” are the keywords that anchor this conversation between SERAFINE1369's practice as an artist and dance-maker interested in the construction of performative environments that challenges and remakes identity/ies, and Daniel McNeil's research interests on Black Atlantic cultures, politics and intellectual traditions, diasporic identities and decolonial praxis, migration and multiculturalism.
This event will be moderated by Vanessa Montesi, a PhD student in Comparative Studies and FCT scholarship holder at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and collaborator with Dramaturgical Ecologies.
How can you participate? Attend the discussion in person (note, there is a maximum of 25 audience members permitted in the space) or online by registering for the Zoom meeting or watching live on 4th Space's YouTube channel.
SERAFINE1369 (previously Last Yearz Interesting Negro) is the London based artist, dancer, writer and facilitator, Jamila Johnson-Small. SERAFINE1369 works with dancing as a philosophical undertaking, a political project with ethical psycho-spiritual ramifications for being-in-the-world; dancing as intimate technology. This work brings an urgency around understandings of, and sensitivity to, connection, distinction, relation and context. SERAFINE1369’s approach is experiential, embodied and structural. SERAFINE1369 works with darkness, voice, movement, overwhelm, vibration, inviting forms to emerge and mutate, interrupting the fiction of linear time; atmospheric landscapes created through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning. Their raw material is messages from an oracular body, on personal/structural/symptomatic/somatic/psychic levels. Always thinking about the metabolic - impact and exchange through/in/as movement - choreography becomes a ritual decomposition process for channelling, challenging and unsettling embodied (internalised or naturalised) concepts. SERAFINE1369 has a relational, cumulative and often collaborative practice, gathering and transmitting information through working in various constellations, at different scales and in different roles. SERAFINE1369 makes performance, installation, sound, video and text that elaborate on their research into bodies, systems, movement and dance as a tool for divination, towards making spaces that might hold the complex, multiple and contradictory, spaces that consider movement and transformation as inevitable.
Daniel McNeil is a Professor and Queen’s National Scholar Chair in Black Studies. His teaching and scholarship bring together History, Diaspora Studies, Cultural Studies, and cognate fields of inquiry to explore the complexities of global Black communities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He has contributed to research, teaching and program development within and across disciplinary and institutional boundaries in the United Kingdom (as a lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Hull and Newcastle University), United States (as the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Visiting Professor of African and Black Diaspora Studies at DePaul University), and Canada (as a Professor of History and Chair of the Migration and Diaspora Studies Initiative at Carleton University, a Visiting Professor in the Department of Humanities and Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University, and the inaugural Public Humanities Faculty Fellow at the University of Toronto). He is currently a co-lead of ‘A Living Archive of Anti-Racism: Multicultural Arts, Education, and Community-Building Practices,’ an academic-community based collaborative project that uses avenues available through formal education, drama, dance, film, and digital media to examine multiculturalism as an idea, a mythology, a government strategy, a media discourse and, to paraphrase the Black Atlantic intellectual Paul Gilroy, “snake oil.” Thinking While Black, his book about the political aspirations and cultural achievements of soul rebels, Black Atlantic intellectuals and planetary humanists over the past fifty years, will be published by Rutgers University Press and Between the Lines in 2022.
- May 3rd, 1 to 3pm. Fourth iteration with guests Naila Keleta-Mae (University of Waterloo) and Dana Michel (Independent dance artist and choreographer/Montréal). Naila Keleta-Mae brings her scholarly practice of activating minoritarian histories and historiographies in performance. Dana Michel reflects on her artistic and choreographic practice in the Canadian and international dance communities. Keywords: "embodiment" and "representation".
About the Dramaturgical Ecologies Research Group
Dramaturgical Ecologies is a three-year research-creation project, of which Angélique Willkie is principal investigator. Working at the intersection of dance dramaturgy and black performance studies, this project is supported by an interdisciplinary team of four Concordia and two affiliate artist-researcher assistants. The fundamental premise anchoring Dramaturgical Ecologies is that the body of the performer is not a blank canvas, but rather, a locus of personal, cultural and political signification. This interest is influenced by Angélique Willkie’s experiences as a Black, Jamaican-born and Canadian-based dance-artist and dramaturg with a 30-year career in European concert dance. Critically, the proposed series of events reflects a desire to provoke conversations that are themselves movements between disciplines, concepts, and individual scholars and practitioners, aiming to both generate and destabilize dialogue and reflection on black performance.