MADE IN SEATTLE 2023
a practice of return
[Nia-Amina Minor, marco farroni, Akoiya Harris, + David Rue]
MAR 30 – APR 1 | COMMUNITY EVENTS
APR 6 – APR 8 | 6 PM + 8 PM | PERFORMANCES
*ASL interpretation Friday, April 7 at 6 PM
A Practice of Return is a celebratory archival practice conceptualized by the Black Collectivity Project. Through a series of offerings including workshops, film screenings, and performances, A Practice of Return weaves together embodied knowledge and research in pursuit of ‘return,’ a practice of looking back to see where you are. This programming is the result of a year-long research collaboration inspired by the ongoing legacy of Black dance artists in Seattle beginning with Syvilla Fort.
A Practice of Return will take place over the course of two weekends. Weekend 1 includes workshops and film screenings highlighting dance, storytelling, and the transmission of memory (individual and collective). Weekend 2 consists of three days of performances responding to Syvilla Fort’s 1940 solo concert originally presented at the Seattle Repertory Playhouse (now Jones Playhouse). Although few records of the original performance exist, dance allows us to access and imagine what was and what could be.
Black Collectivity is a collaborative project developed by Nia-Amina Minor, David Rue, marco farroni, and Akoiya Harris through the Made in Seattle Artist Residency Program at Velocity Dance Center.
Additional Collaborators: Jiamond Elizabeth (Performer), Chari Glogovac-Smith (Sound Design), Le’Ecia Farmer (costumes/set design), Brea Wilson (projection).
The Black Collectivity project offered a series of activations for audiences to engage with themes from their upcoming performance, A Practice of Return. This programming is the result of a year-long research collaboration inspired by the ongoing legacy of Black dance artists in Seattle beginning with Syvilla Fort.
WORKSHOP: A Practice of Return Repertoire as Embodied Knowledge
Movement Workshop With Jasmine Mahmoud + Black Collectivity
THU, MAR 30 | 6–7 PM
12th Avenue Arts | 1620 12th Ave
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for support in registering.
Co-Facilitated by Black Collectivity and UW Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Performance Studies Jasmine Mahmoud, this movement based workshop will share physical and archival research from A Practice of Return. The workshop will also include a talk led by Jasmine Mahmoud about the archive and the possibilities of repertoire as embodied knowledge.
Repertoire as Embodied Knowledge, Archiving and Research was developed through the 2022 Ritual: Form & Function in Scholarly and Artistic Practice conversation and workshop series supported by The Artist Fellowship Program at the Henry Art Gallery
SITE-RESPONSIVE PERFORMANCE: Stories Of The Body
Black Collectivity + Friends Of Waterfront Seattle
Postponed until further notice
Seattle Waterfront Park | 1401 Alaskan Wy
Co-produced by David Rue and Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Black Collectivity will perform excerpts from their upcoming performance, A Practice of Return. The new work was created in response to Syvilla Fort’s 1940 solo concert originally presented at the Seattle Repertory Playhouse (now Jones Playhouse). Although few records of the original performance exist, dance allows us to access and imagine what was and what could be. Join Black Collectivity for pop up dance performances along Pier 62 as they honor the legacy of Syvilla Fort, a star amongst a constellation of Black movement artists.
FILM SCREENINGS: A Practice of Return, presented by Black Collectivity
Co-presented by NWFF
SAT, APR 1 | 4:30 PM
Northwest Film Forum | 1515 12th Ave
The Black Collectivity Project is excited to partner with NWFF to present film programming connected to their upcoming performance, A Practice of Return. Featuring film works by contemporary artists Akoiya Harris, Nia-Amina Minor, and Abdiel Jacobsen, the evening will conclude with the rarely-screened 1979 documentary tribute to dancer-choreographer-educator Syvilla Fort titled Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum directed by Ayoka Chenzira. The screening brings together films that highlight dance, storytelling, and the transmission of memory (both individual and collective).
Born in Seattle in 1917, Syvilla Fort was an influential artist who began her dance career in the 1930s at the Cornish School (now Cornish College). She went on to find fame as a performer in the Katherine Dunham Company and was recognized as a transformative dance educator in New York.
Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.(Ayoka Chenzira, US, 1979, 22min, English)
Panel discussion to follow.
Film works by Akoiya Harris and Abdiel Jacobsen were supported and developed through the Emerge Arts Cohort and Showcase program, a partnership between Velocity Dance Center and Gay City.
Nia-Amina Minor is a movement artist originally from Los Angeles. She approaches her practice as an imaginative space grounded in rhythm where improvisation, Black vernacular movement, and choreography meet. Her creative work focuses on the body and what it carries using physical and archival research to explore memory and history. Nia-Amina has presented work in St. Louis, Seattle, and Los Angeles. She holds a MFA from UC Irvine and a BA from Stanford University. From 2016-2021, Nia-Amina performed with Spectrum Dance Theater. In 2021, she was recognized as Dance Magazine’s 25 Artists to Watch.In 2021, Nia-Amina was recognized as Dance Magazine’s 25 Artists to Watch. Currently, she is a dance curator at Wa Na War and a Velocity Dance Center Made in Seattle Artist in Residence.
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.
Photo Credit: Victoria Kovios
marco farroni leonardo is a movement & performance artist, born in Bonao, DR & currently based in Seattle and New York. 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.
Photo Credit: Victoria Kovios
David Rue is a dance artist and creative professional born in Liberia and raised in Minnesota. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Individualized Studies that combined Journalism, English, and Dance, holds an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University, and currently works as an Events Specialist for The J. Paul Getty Trust. His work centers on conceptualizing and implementing large scale public programs that celebrate the voices of black and brown visual and performing artists using the lens of equity, excellence, and joy. This work has existed within his institutional practice through organizations such as Seattle Art Museum and Friends of Waterfront Seattle as well as independent work commissioned by the Seattle Office Of Arts And Culture, The Aids Memorial Pathway Project, and Bellwether Arts.
Photo Credit: Victoria Kovios
Akoiya Harris is a Seattle based movement artist. She graduated from The Ailey School’s Certificate Program and has performed as a company artist with Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater. Akoiya has recently shown her own work at Seattle Art Museum, Wa Na Wari, MadArt Gallery, Northwest Film Forum, and in 12 Minutes Max. She has the pleasure of teaching students at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ailey Camp, and Spectrum. Outside of her movement practice, Akoiya does work in cultural preservation through the collection of community members oral histories. Akoiya was recently named one of Seattle Theater Groups Artist in Residence.
Photo Credit: Victoria Kovios
KN95 Masks are required for all audience members at all times during this performance. ASL interpretation of this event occurs on Friday, April 7th. 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 email@example.com can help in preparations.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can be involved.