MADE IN SEATTLE 2023

a practice of return 

BY

BLACK COLLECTIVITY

[Nia-Amina Minor, marco farroni, Akoiya Harris, + David Rue]

Individual tickets for this event will go on sale in 2023.

A Practice of Return is a celebratory archival practice created by the Black Collectivity Project.  Under the guiding notion ‘we build Black Collectivity out of necessity,’ Nia-Amina Minor in collaboration with marco farroni, Akoiya Harris, and David Rue envision a movement driven experience in three parts: part installation, part choreography, and part community offering. Through this work we aim to enact Black Collectivity as a necessary site of return: a practice of looking back to see where you are.

A Note on ‘Return’

On April 28, 1940 Syvilla Fort presented an evening of original choreography at the Seattle Repertory Playhouse on the Ave with pieces titled Nocturne 1, Prelude to Flight, Haitian Rhythm, Spiritual, and Bacchanal. Syvilla choreographed works that explored her heritage through an Afro-modern lens while studying in the 1930s/40s at Cornish School for Allied Arts. A closer look at the evening illuminates some of the socio-cultural context that may have shaped the movement of Black dancing bodies during that time.Through omissions of history we can imagine what a momentous night it was. Syvilla would become a part of a generation of dancers who choreographed a place for Black creative expression to grow.

Black feminist theorist Tina Campt articulates that “in Black culture there are things that look like repetition. That repetition has a kind of rhythm but those rhythms are never about replication.” She explains that, “a return or repetition is never about reproducing the same thing again. It’s about returning in order to take a new path from that return so that there is something slightly off even though it may look very similar to that which came before.”

As contemporary movement artists, we keep returning to that evening in 1940 because of what it might be able to tell us. With each revisit we find new departures and portals through time that illuminate how Black dancing bodies are wrapped in a continuum of rhythm. As we look back to move forward, Syvilla Fort and other unnamed or underrecognized Black dancing bodies will always be in our cypher and a part of our celebration of return.

– Black Collectivity Project

ARTISTS

Nia-Amina Minor

Nia-Amina Minor

Nia-Amina Minor is a movement artist, choreographer, and educator. Her interdisciplinary dance projects focus on the body and what it carries, using physical and archival research to explore Black memory, history, and culture. Nia-Amina often approaches her physical practice as an imaginative space grounded in rhythm where improvisation, Black vernacular, and choreography can meet. Her creative research engages with archives as a way to unearth histories. Many of the choreographic pieces she creates begin as investigations of the past and how one might bring forth that legacy into the present.

Originally from Los Angeles, Nia-Amina resides in Seattle. She worked as Company Dancer and Community Engagement Liaison with Spectrum Dance Theater for five seasons where she continues to program free Community classes and events. Nia-Amina performed in acclaimed works created by Donald Byrd including Rap on Race, Shot, and Strange Fruit receiving a Seattle Dance Crush Award for her performance in Shot. Prior to relocating to Seattle, she was a co-founder and former curator of Los Angeles based collective, No)one Art House.

Nia-Amina holds a MFA from UC Irvine and a BA from Stanford University. She has taught, guest lectured, and worked as a visiting artist at CalArts, University of Washington, Saddleback College, Cypress College, and UC Irvine. As an independent artist, Nia-Amina has performed and presented original work at The Luminary in St. Louis, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, WaNaWari, CD Forum Showing Out, Reflections Festival, Seattle International Dance Festival (SIDF), Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Seattle Black Film Festival.

Currently, Nia-Amina is a 2021 Velocity Made in Seattle Artist and was recently recognized as Dance Magazine’s 25 Artists to Watch in 2021.

marco farroni

marco farroni

marco farroni is a movement & performance artist, born in Bonao, DR & currently based in Seattle, WA. They hold a BFA in dance from The University of the Arts. Their work engages with themes and ideas around home, the body as archive, the Diaspora and memory. Artistic collaborations include dani tirrell, David Rue, Aisha Noir, Nia-Amina Minor, Amanda Morgan and Donald Byrd amongst others. They have presented work at Velocity Dance Center, Wa Na Wari, Base Arts Space, 10 Degrees Arts, The School of Spectrum Dance Theater, and The Aids Memorial Pathway.

David Rue

David Rue

David Rue is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a bachelor of individualized studies that combined Journalism, English, and Dance. He holds an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University and currently works as Public Programs Coordinator for Friends Of Waterfront Seattle. Since 2016, he has conceptualized and implemented large scale public programs that center the voices of black and brown artists living and working in Seattle. This work has existed both within his institutional practice (through Seattle Art Museum and Friends of Waterfront Seattle) as well independent work commissioned by the Seattle Office Of Arts And Culture, The Aids Memorial Pathway Project, Shunpike Arts, Bellwether Arts.

Akoiya Harris

Akoiya Harris

Akoiya Harris was raised in the Central District. She graduated from The Ailey School’s Certificate Program. She has performed with Spectrum Dance Theater and in galleries such as The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, The Luminary, and The Frye. Akoiya is currently a member of Wa Na Wari’s Seattle Black Spatial Histories Cohort. Through her art, she hopes to give voice to the stories, both known and unknown, of her community and honor those who came before her.

ACCESS INFORMATION

12th Avenue Arts is fully accessible for wheelchairs and walkers. The lobby and bathrooms are at street level, and seating is available without the need for an elevator or stairs.

For special accommodations, advanced word to operations@velocitydancecenter.org can help in preparations.

PROGRAM SUPPORT

Black Collectivity is underwritten by Jarman Hauser. The project received residency support from The Henry Gallery and the UW School of Dance, and funding from the 4Culture Heritage Projects Grant. Research for this project was also supported through MOHAI and the presentation of “Syvilla Fort: Keep the Fire Burning,” Co-produced by BJ Bullert, Edna Daigre, Nia-Amina Minor, and The Black Heritage Society of Washington State. 

Nia-Amina Minor received additional financial support for the final performance from the 2023 CityArtist grant award through the Office of Arts and Culture.  Velocity’s Made in Seattle program is supported in part through a WESTAF ARP Relief Grant funded through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Interested in joining the community of support around the Black Collectivity project? Contact erin@velocitydancecenter.org to learn how you can be involved.

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