Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group: POWER: a body of testimony

August 13, 2022 - 2:00pm

Photo credit Tony Turner_0280
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, 2022. Photo: © Tony Turner.

FREE but registration required. Register by phone at 414-446-8794.

Parking: We will be running shuttle buses starting at 12:30 pm from the Brown Deer Road Park & Ride. We advise you to leave enough time to arrive for the performance, which begins at 2 pm. Consider coming early for a picnic.

Reggie Wilson and his company, Fist and Heel Performance Group, are returning to Lynden this summer for the third episode in a relationship that spans many years. Working from a model we developed with the choreographer, his company, and the Milwaukee community in 2015, when we reimagined MOSES(es), and refined in 2018, when we remade CITIZEN, Wilson will complete the trilogy by reimagining POWER, his latest work, for outdoor performance at Lynden. With POWER: a body of testimony, Wilson extends his investigation into the role of the body in Black spirituality, and particularly the ways in which spirituality and religiosity can be expressed with the body and in relationship with other bodies. Starting with Mother Rebecca Cox Jackson, a free Black woman who became a Shaker eldress and formed her own community in nineteenth-century Philadelphia, and drawing on decades of research into Black shout traditions, African formalism, and post-modern dance, Wilson imagines “what Black Shaker worship could look like.”

POWER: a body of testimony was made during a three-week residency process with an intergenerational cast of local dancers and community members. Wilson and Fist and Heel performers Hadar Ahuvia, Rhetta Aleong, Paul Hamilton, Lawrence A. W. Harding, Michel Kouakou, Clement Mensah, Gabriela Silva, Annie Wang, and Michelle Yard are joined by a group of mature line dancers—some of them veterans of previous Lynden productions—children who participate in our annual collaborative day camp with Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, and several other community members and Call & Response artists.

The POWER residency and performance are supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is a Call & Response event.

Program

Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group
POWER: a body of testimony
Lynden Sculpture Garden
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
13 August 2022 at 2 pm

Choreographer: Reggie Wilson
Costume Designers: Naoko Nagata and Enver Chakartash

Fist and Heel Performers
Hadar Ahuvia
Rhetta Aleong
Paul Hamilton
Lawrence Harding
Michel Kouakou
Clement Mensah
Gabriela Silva
Annie Wang
Michelle Yard
with Reggie Wilson

Community Performers
Ms. Vi Hawkins, Director of the Jazzy Jewels
Carolyn Carter
Robert McDonial
Naomi Miller
Evelyn Ray-Cowan
Nettie Richardson
Dora J. Scott

Ck Ledesma Borrero
Portia Cobb
Banh J. Danowski
De’Shawn L. Ewing
Kim M Khaira
Madeline Martin
Betty Salamun

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts campers: Araceli, Eduardo, Elsa, Emmanuel, Erick, Fabian, Javier, Josue, Mariana, Nehli, Sebastian, and Solana with Ferny Lira Landa, Ethan Clardie-Hook, Lydia Andrews, Canaan Henry, Alex Gramajo, Xela Garcia and Jeremy Stepien.

“Outside Eyes”: Susan Manning and Phyllis Lamhut
Math Advisor: Jesse Wolfson

Music
The Staple Singers
John Davis Bessie Jones & St. Simon's Island Singers
Meredith Monk
Lonnie Young, Ed Young, & Lonnie Young Jr.
Craig Loftis
Black Umfolosi
Henry Williams with Henry Thomas, Allan Lovelace, and George Roberts
Omar Thiam and Jam Bugum
Omar

Donated materials
Indigo batik cloth: Lynden Sculpture Garden, Arianne King Comer with Adjua Nsoroma and Fist & Heel
Shaker peg rails: Lorraine E. Weiss of the Shaker Heritage Society (Watervliet) and Richard Flanders of the Northeastern Woodworkers Association. Special thanks to Daniel Minter and Lynden for the making and sharing of the izikeyi, what Wilson has started calling "kinesthetic prayer beads".

POWER is dedicated to The Dead

Artistic Personnel
Fist & Heel Performance Group is a Brooklyn-based dance company that investigates the intersections of cultural anthropology and movement practices and believes in the potential of the body as a valid means for knowing. Our performance work is a continued manifestation of the rhythm languages of the body provoked by the spiritual and the mundane traditions of Africa and its Diaspora, including the Blues, Slave and Gospel idioms. The group has received support from major foundations and corporations and has performed at notable venues in the United States and abroad.

Reggie Wilson (Executive and Artistic Director, Choreographer, Performer) founded Fist & Heel Performance Group in 1989. Wilson draws from the cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he often calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.”

His work has been presented and workshops taught nationally and internationally at many venues. This list is a sample and by no means exhaustive: Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Live Arts, Summerstage (NY), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Summer Stages Dance @ ICA Boston (MA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, UCLA Live, Redcat (CA), VSA NM (New Mexico), Myrna Loy (Helena, MT), The Flynn (Burlington, VT), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX), Linkfest, Festival e'Nkundleni (Zimbabwe), Dance Factory (South Africa), Danças na Cidade (Portugal), Festival Kaay Fecc (Senegal), The Politics of Ecstasy, and Tanzkongress 2013 (Germany).

Wilson is a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1988, Larry Rhodes, Chair). He has studied composition and been mentored by Phyllis Lamhut; Performed and toured with Ohad Naharin before forming Fist and Heel. He has lectured, taught and conducted workshops and community projects throughout the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. He has traveled extensively: to the Mississippi Delta to research secular and religious aspects of life there; to Trinidad and Tobago to research the Spiritual Baptists and the Shangoists; and also, to Southern, Central, West and East Africa to work with dance/performance groups as well as diverse religious communities. He has served as visiting faculty at several universities including Yale, Princeton and Wesleyan. Mr. Wilson is the recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance's McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001). Wilson is also a 2002 BESSIE-New York Dance and Performance Award recipient for his work The Tie-tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down and a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project and Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop. In recognition of his creative contributions to the field, Mr. Wilson was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow and is a 2009 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Dance. His evening-length work The Good Dance–dakar/brooklyn had its World premiere at the Walker Art Center and NY premiere on the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2009 Next Wave Festival. In 2012, New York Live Arts presented a concert of selected Wilson works, theRevisitation, to critical acclaim and the same year he was named a Wesleyan University’s Creative Campus Fellow, received an inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and received the 2012 Joyce Foundation Award for his successful work Moses(es) which premiered in 2013.

Naoko Nagata (Costumer Designer) Her evolution into costume making is a long story. With literally no formal training, she has been creating for a diverse group of choreographers and dancers non-stop since 1998. She has collaborated with David Thomson, Ralph Lemon, Reggie Wilson, Vicky Shick, Kyle Abraham for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bebe Miller, David Dorfman, David Neumann, Doug Elkins, Gina Gibney, Jimena Paz, Liz Lerman, Nora Chipaumire, Urban Bush Women, Zvi Gotheiner and many, many others. Recently, designer for Raja feather Kelly’s 2nd stage production of “we are going to die”. Working closely with collaborators, Naoko helps bring to life what she herself calls, “the creation of a shared dream.”

Enver Chakartash (Costume Designer) is a New York based costume designer and wardrobe stylist. He has designed costumes for: Tony Oursler, The Wooster Group, Young Jean Lee, and Half Straddle. Enver began collaborating with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group in 2016. Since then, he has designed costumes for CITIZEN and consulted on costumes for ...they stood shaking while others began to shout. Working with Naoko on this project has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

Performers
Hadar Ahuvia (Performer) is a performer, choreographer, Jewish educator and ritual leader. She is grateful to have been performing with Fist and Heel since 2017. Previous work credits include Sara Rudner, Jill Sigman, Anna Sperber, Kathy Westwater, Molly Poerstel, Tatyana Tenebaum, Donna Uchizono, and Trisha Brown Dance Company, among others. Her writing on choreographing an Israeli identity beyond Zionism is featured in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Jewishness in Dance. Ahuvia is a two-time finalist for the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, a recipient of a Bessie nomination for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer and was one of Dance Magazine’s ‘25 to Watch in 2019’.

Rhetta Aleong (Company administrator, performer) Her performance roots are grounded in community-theater, performance art, and a good Catholic all-girls high school in Trinidad and Tobago. She has a BFA in Journalism, with an art bent, from School of Visual Arts and is a 5th degree black belt. Aleong began working with Mr. Wilson in ’91 and began “wearing many hats” within Fist and Heel Performance Group. Creative Artists of special significance to Aleong: Pat Akien, Michael Steele, Helen Camps, Noble Douglas (Trinidad), Anita Gonzalez, Ms. Hattie Gossett, Tiyé Giraud, Cynthia Oliver, and Lawrence Goldhuber. Respect to those before, after, above and below.

Paul Hamilton (Performer) is a Brooklyn based movement artist. He attended SUNY Purchase, where he trained with Kazuko Hirabayashi, Kevin Wynn and Neil Greenberg, and also studied at the Alvin Ailey school. He has performed with Elizabeth Streb, the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, The Barnspace Dance, Mauri Cramer Dancers, Ballet Arts Theatre, Ralph Lemon(Bessie nominee Scaffold Room), Deborah Hay, David Thomson, Headlong Dance Theater, David Gordon’s The Matter 2019, Melinda Ring, Oren Barnoy, and The Museum of Modern Art, recreating Bruce Nauman’s Wall/Floor Positions. He is a member of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Performance Group, Keely Garfield Dance, and Jane Comfort and Company.

Lawrence A.W. Harding (Performer) was born in Sierra Leone and now practices Physical Therapy in New York. He is the Director of Fitness at The Axis Project, a multidisciplinary center that serves people with physical disabilities and empowers them to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. He is also the developer and President of Spinal Mobility, a novel manual technique that enables clinicians to improve their rehabilitative interventions for people with Spinal Cord Injury and other Neurological diseases. He has been a member of Fist and Heel since 1993 and continues to delight in discovering himself in Reggie’s work. He gives continued thanks to Remi, D.Z. Martha, Samuel and all the dead ones. Big love to the ‘rents and the family.

Michel Kouakou (Performer) is a choreographer and dancer from the Ivory Coast. He is the founder and director of Daara Dance. Michel received his MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance (2012), a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for research in dance (2012), winner of a New York Foundation of the Arts Artist Fellowship (2008), and winner of the U.S. Japan Fellowship (2008) to conduct six months of research in Tokyo and Kyoto. In 2008 he was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and in 2010 and was a finalist in The A.W.A.R.D. Show in New York City and Los Angeles. Mr. Kouakou moved to New York in 2004 and subsequently to Los Angeles, where he is now based and has been a lecturer at UCLA since 2009. He maintains an active touring and teaching schedule across the globe and continues to pursue his long-term goal of building an “artistic bridge” between his origins in the Ivory Coast and the US. Michel Kouakou’s company has moved to Minnesota due to a new job position at the University of Minnesota where he was an assistant professor in dance at the Barbara Darker Center for Dance for two years.

Clement Mensah (Performer) is also a choreographer and an educator. He is a third culture kid who was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. After living and going to school in the Netherlands, U.S. and the U.K., where he did postgraduate degree at Trinity Laban Conservatory, Mr. Mensah is humbled to have performed, taught and traveled with many dance companies to at least forty-nine countries. Mr. Mensah founded the Off the Radar creative project in 2015 to educate the young generation. Mr. Mensah joined Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance group in 2012.

Gabriela Silva (Company Logistics Coordinator, Performer) is an Afro-Brazilian performer based in New York City. She studied dance at the OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center, Boston Art Academy and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Gabriela has performed with Selmadanse, Jean Appolon Expressions, Danza Organica, Quicksilver Dance and independent choreographers Peter DiMuro, Emily Beattie and Marina Magalhães. She has also worked as teaching artist for the Kroc Center, Community Art Center, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, Boston Ballet, Boston Public Libraries, Boston Public Schools, NYC Public schools and The People’s Forum. Gabriela has been in residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, under the mentorship of Reggie Wilson. She also trained, taught and presented her work at Sarayyet Ramallah in Palestine. Gabriela has been a performer with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group since 2016.

Annie Wang (Performer) is a freelancer with training in classical ballet, Graham technique, wushu, taiji, and software engineering. In addition to Fist and Heel Performance Group, she has also worked with Same As Sister, Emily Catalyst Johnson, and Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch. Her own choreography has been presented by Five Myles, CPR in Brooklyn, the 92Y, the Exponential Festival, Pioneers Go East, BKSD, WestFest Dance, BRIC, and Triskelion. She has been Artist-in-Residence at BRIC, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Marble House Project and an invited guest teacher at Amherst and Smith colleges.

Michelle Yard (Performer) Brooklyn native Michelle Yard stands firmly on her Caribbean foundation. Yard joined Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group in 2017 for …they stood shaking while others began to shout, and POWER (2019). Upon her graduation from NYU Tisch School of the Arts (B.F.A. Dance), she began dancing with the Mark Morris Dance Group, where she enjoyed an illustrious twenty-year career. Ms. Yard also dances with Vanessa Walters. In 2020, she earned an M.A. in Arts Administration from CUNY/Baruch College. She is a certified Pilates instructor and a freelance arts administrator. a mis padres, gracias.

Fist & Heel Board
Ann-Marie Joseph (President), Rhetta Aleong, Carol Bryce-Buchanan, Joshua Sirefman, Jesse Wolfson, Reggie Wilson.
Advisory Council
Elise Bernhardt, Michael Connelly, Paul Engler, Phyllis Lamhut, Susan Manning, Martha Sherman, Megan Sprenger, Radhika Subramaniam, Laurie Uprichard, Ivan Sygoda, Charmaine Warren, Ms. Lois Wilson

For booking information, contact Sophie Myrtil-McCourty at Lotus Arts Management 72-11 Austin Street, Suite 371 Forest Hills, NY 11375 Tel: 347.721.8724;
email: sophie@lotusartsmgmt.com; website: www.lotusartsmgmt.com

Funding Credits for Fist & Heel
POWER was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; was co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow, created in part during multiple residencies in the Pillow Lab and premiered at Jacob’s Pillow July 10, 2019. POWER is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council; this project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

General Operating support was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; also, is funded and made possible in part by Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by the Ford Foundation; NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust; Howard Gilman Foundation; Mosaic Network Initiative, and the kind support of our many individual donors.

Special Thanks
GOD; Ancestors; Ira Sutton Ewing; Lois J. Wilson, A’nt Jean, A’ntie C; A’nt Wilma, Uncle Rev., Uncle Von, Uncle George, Aba, Abba, Saba, David Wilson, Jr., Elaine Flowers, Phyllis Lamhut, Germaine Ingram, Tim O’Brien, the cities of Philadelphia, Watervliet, Hancock, Bellagio and Mt. Lebanon, Mary Ann Haagen and The Enfield Shaker Singers, The Land of the Blacks, Susan Manning and Doug Doetsch, Tara Rodman, Lucia Kellar, Estate of Samuel Miller, DJ McManus Foundation, Inc., Martha Sherman, Cheryl Ikemiya, Tayloria L. Grant, Lois Greenfield, Cathy Edwards, Jean Cook, Elizabeth Harvey, Mike Johnson, Justin Knowlden, Melissa Benson, Madeline Brine, Deborah Sale and Ted Striggles, Susanna Sirefman, Germaine Ingram, Mark Wilson, Lois Wilson, other anonymous donors, Pam Tatge and the full team at Jacob’s Pillow, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Caitlin Spara, Magda Gabor-Hotchkiss, the interpreters and the Hancock Shaker Village crew, Lacy Shutz, Jerry Grant and Sharon Koomler at Shaker Museum | Mt. Lebanon, Adrian Matejka, Nicolas Galanin, Merrit Johnson and the cohort and Administration team at the Rockefeller Bellagio, Polly Morris at Lynden Sculpture Garden, Arianne King Comer and Adjua Nsoroma, Judy Hussie-Taylor and the Danspace Team and St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Sam Miller, Harry Philbrick, Karen DiLossi at Philadelphia Contemporary and Partners for Sacred Places, Arielle Julia Brown, Sophie Myrtil-McCourty Lotus Arts Management, Fist and Heel Board of Directors, members of the Advisory Council members, the performers past and present for their time on this project, their commitment over the years, prioritizing and sacrificing and their relentless talent.


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