Propelled Animals

Propelled Animals
Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Raquel Monroe, Heidi Wiren Bartlett. All photos by Karla Conrad.

Propelled Animals is an interdisciplinary performance project with collaborative artists: Barber (Detroit), Esther Baker-Tarpaga (Philadelphia), Heidi Wiren Bartlett (Pittsburgh), Dr. Raquel Monroe (Chicago), Dr. Courtney Jones (Boca Raton), and Papa Djiga (Ouagadougou). Their work is centered on art as social action and ritual as performance. They encourage audiences to consider the efficacy of the body, resilience, protest, and radical tenderness as strategies to fight oppression. 

Collective members Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Raquel Monroe, and Heidi Wiren Bartlett will be in residence July 21-28, 2019 as part of Call & Response 2019. They will create a series of collaborative performances in response to the site and particularly to Folayemi Wilson’s installation, Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. Through movement, creative processes, and continuing dialogue about interracial friendships, specifically between Black women and white women, they will create interactive dances and rituals. While onsite, they will co-host a dinner gathering with Evelyn Patricia Terry and participate in the Call & Response Family Free Day.

About the Artists
Esther Baker-Tarpaga is a choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, parent, and activist citizen. She is co-artistic director of Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, a transnational dance company based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Philadelphia. She is co-founder of Propelled Animals and currently teaches at Temple University Department of Dance. She has an MFA. in Dance from UCLA and a BA from Bowdoin College. Her pedagogy and practice are informed by working with Guillermo Gomez-Pena/La Pocha Nostra, her training in Senegalese Sabar dance and Improvisation, and working in the company of David Roussève/Reality. She is the recipient of a NY Live Arts Suitcase Fund, BETHA Grant, and was a US Cultural Envoy in Guinea, Botswana, and South Africa.

Raquel Monroe, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary performance scholar who is completing a monograph that analyzes performances of Black Power by Black female cultural producers in popular culture. Monroe’s scholarship appears in the Journal of Pan-African Studies, and several anthologies on race, sexuality, dance, and popular culture. With Melissa Blanco-Borelli, Monroe co-edited “Screening the Skin: Issues of Race and Nation,” a special issue of the International Journal of Screendance. As a maker and performer, Monroe works with the Propelled Animals and the Baker-Tarpaga Dance Project creating immersive, interdisciplinary performance installations. She has also worked with choreographers David Roussève, Ana Maria Alvarez, and Marianne Kim. Monroe is the Co-Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor in Dance at Columbia College Chicago.

Heidi Wiren Bartlett is an interdisciplinary performance artist from the Great Plains. Her work is concerned with the portrayal, oppression and subversive existence of women in America today. She is a co-founder of the Propelled Animals, a transdisciplinary art and social justice collective. Her performances, installations, and pedagogy are informed by her work with Oliver Herring, Hans Breder, and La Pocha Nostra. She received an MA and MFA in Intermedia from the University of Iowa; her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has been nominated for the United States Artists (USA) Fellowship, awarded an Iowa Arts Council Project Grant, and is a recent recipient of a MAP Fund grant for TRANSMISSION, a collaborative project with the Propelled Animals. Bartlett is currently an Instructor and Designer at Carnegie Mellon University.

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