2013 Lab + Hatchery Project Artist: Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group
Reggie Wilson has deeply researched the dance traditions of the African diaspora and has been described as a dance ethnography artist. He combines movement languages of African slave and spiritual cultures in the Americas with post-modern elements and his own personal style to create what he calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern” dances. With this unique artistic vision, he founded Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group.
In his project, The Good Dance, Wilson traced the migration routes of his family from the Mississippi River Delta north to Milwaukee. Investigating human migration routes led Wilson to the question, “Who was and is Moses?” and into his work, Moses(es). Moses(es) is a full-length dance performance that looks at how we lead and why we follow. Grounded in Wilson’s exploratory travels to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Mali, Moses(es) examines the migration of people and culture from Africa out into the wider world and examines how migration affects and shapes beliefs. In Vermont, Wilson and his collaborators recorded vocal tracks at Guilford Sound, created a sound montage and performed a Community Shout at the Broad Brook Grange in Guilford, VT.
This residency is part of The Hatchery Project, a new collaborative residency initiative with The Chocolate Factory (Long Island City, NY), Live Arts Brewery/Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia, PA), Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL), and Vermont Performance Lab (Guilford, VT) and is made possible with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for the Vermont residency is provided by VPL’s Creation Fund donors.
A personal account: Rhetta Aleong performer with Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group
Vermont Performance Lab March 10-17, 2013
My disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of Rhetta and not necessarily those of Fist and Heel. Names have not been changed to protect those involved.
[Continue] Brooklyn to Guilford, VT. Estimated driving time 3.5 hours give or take or give and get; Clear, safe transit out of Gotham’s limits. Going north; sign of things to come.
In Reggie’s timeline of (project) Moseses Project, the vocal residency (Reggie Wilson, Lawrence Harding, Rhetta Aleong) was strategically placed as he constructs and focuses this evening-length work which World premiers in September at Philly Live Arts and has a New York premiere in December on the BAM Next Wave Festival 2013.
[Here: making my connections; expanding boundaries; gathering fuel; making ready; looking forward.]
As Artists (big general A) working in our various mediums we appreciate when we can carve and get time to engage with the elements in whatever work we are in-progress with. Fist and Heel’s residency at VPL stirred my appreciation and afforded relief and re-freshment mid-stride on the road in the process and practice of Reggie’s current project’s creation arc. Right on Moses(es).
Discard conventional or mundane meanings for relief or refreshment. Even though those things were in place. My experience was not un-similar to the rest area on a long drive, where you pull off the road to use facilities and then get back on the road…because you got somewhere to go and arrive at, in a timely fashion. Noting full well that the rest area stop was (and always is!) a necessary element in the whole arc of the trip and to getting where you going safely. If you can time your rest area visit just right…. well, you know….
I think the best way to describe and visualize this kind of balance point is dancing on the head of a pin. Potentially disorienting experience if you are not on the lookout for this sweet point; Transient, lingering and brimming with information, product and deeper potentiality. shift. We had some ‘dancing on a pin’ time at VPL! And You (big general Y) can only achieve this when you are well supported and all individuals involved are aware and focused on the Artists maintaining a good pace through their creation process to production. And when that happens amidst challenging work in a beautiful space and you can look out the window and plead and reconnect with nature…well, you know….something provocative and satisfying emerged. We’ll see.
This was my recent experience of residency at VPL. Eight days and we got a lot of work done. Over time I have come to understand that residencies are like relationships. In my possibly misguided perspective (mine mine mine) I can say I was ‘loved’ during residency at VPL. ‘cause love is in action not just in words. Two entities, Fist and Heel and VPL, brought their skillz to the table and we’ve up the ante! We made sounds and vocalized and Reggie and Dave opened-up the walls to glimpse infinity. Can ya handle it. As an artist this makes the long drive and destination (big Ds) worth it.
Special thank-you’s and hugs to the Bosslady Sara, Grand Sound vis-engineer DAVE!, present Matt, ready-set-go Katherine, perceptive Cindy and dearest Dixie who ultimately understood the whole process with her concerned eyes that seemed to say, “Are you getting everything you need?”
Something special is going on up there at Vermont Performance Lab. Much continued success your way VPL!
P.S: The Community Shout (lecture demonstration) on the last day of our residency, rocked! Everyone is to ‘blame!’ The community brought-it and kept step with us! We were all schooled and made praise-house rock on a cold Saturday evening in the foothills. Trust me. Ask somebody. Typical busting out of the incubator behavior. The give in the get.
Recorded at the Community Shout on March 16, 2013 - give a listen:
[Continuous] Brooklyn to Guilford, Guilford to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to Guilford. Roundtrips. Relationships.