Wild Beauty

What happens if we take our time?
a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ritual /black movement intensive
with Gabrielle Civil, Randy Ford, Neve Kamilah Mazique-Bianco, + Fox Whitney
JAN 12-18, 2020


Gabrielle Civil reads at Elliott Bay Book Store – Thurs. Jan. 16, 7pm
Free movement workshop – Monday Jan. 20, 2pm-3pm
Community celebration – Monday Jan. 20, 3-4pm
Free performance – Monday Jan. 20, 4-6pm

Velocity is excited to invite audiences to What happens if we take our time?,a weeklong residency program that activates four core black artists–Gabrielle Civil, Randy Ford, Neve Mazique-Bianco, and Fox Whitney–to work/ play together in a ritual/ black movement intensive for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and beyond. Performing under the moniker Wild Beauty, the ensemble of four artists will begin working intensively together on January 12 and will close on January 20 with an MLK Day celebration at Velocity to break bread, share new performance gestures, and receive any community offerings. Wild Beauty arrives to hold space for black power, heritage, creativity, and communion.

What does it mean to dance (blackness) in blackness? In the heart of winter, how can we bloom, share breath, heal, and open space? How can we conjure medicine and experiment with joy?  What happens if we take our time? –Wild Beauty

Wild Beauty was convened by Civil for Velocity after an invitation from Whitney, Velocity’s 2018-2019 Artist-in-Residence. Whitney had been a core artist in an earlier MLK Day black movement ritual organized by Civil at the Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis in 2016 and wanted to bring the project to Seattle. The goal of the project is to use the 8-day residency for deep, supported time for the core artists to be in research together, moving blackness across/beyond spectrums of gender, sexuality, queerness, ability, and art.

While Wild Beauty marks the first time the core artists are all working together on one project, the three local artists are in no way strangers to Seattle audiences. A Seattle native, Randy Ford has been seen at venues across the city such as the Seattle Art Museum, CD Forum, Velocity Dance Center, and On the Boards, performing her own works as well as with local luminaries like Dani Tirrell, Markeith Weiley, and BenDeLaCreme. Neve Mazique-Bianco has also seen their star rising in recent years, with residencies at the Seattle Public Library, a world premiere at Velocity Dance Center earlier this year with Lover of Low Creatures, and widespread recognition of their work by organizations like Seattle Gender Justice League and the PNW Afro X Fellowship. Fox Whitney recently finished his residency at Velocity Dance Center with Melted Riot, a performance that premiered on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and came out of Whitney’s year of research into the history and specifics of the original event. With a robust background in performance art, including authoring the acclaimed performance memoirs Swallow the Fish and Experiments in Joy, Los Angeles-based Gabrielle Civil will gather with these Seattle artists to explore and expand experiences and conceptions of blackness, and to move together in community, research and joy.

After five days of the intensive, Civil will be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company from her work Experiments in Joy, as well as sharing mid-way reflections from the Wild Beauty residency. Lastly, Wild Beauty will close with an MLK Day celebration to break bread together, share process, share new performance gestures, and receive any community art offerings. Deliberately timed to prepare for and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Wild Beauty allows for artistic reflection on black power and future. Together artists and community members will celebrate black heritage, creativity, and communion.


PHOTO – Gedney Barclay + Gabrielle Civil

about the artist

Gabrielle Civil image

Gabrielle Civil

GABRIELLE CIVIL (she/ her) is a black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit MI. She has premiered fifty original performance art works around the world, most recently in Minneapolis at Queertopia (2019) and in Chicago at the Eclipsing Festival at Link’s Hall (2018). An avid participant in dance classes and workshops, she recently studied Yorchha technique with the Ananya Dance Theater, improvisation with mayfield brooks at the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation and has appeared with Gender Tender. She is the author of the performance memoirs Swallow the Fish (2017) and Experiments in Joy (2019) and was lead contributor to Experiments in Joy: a Workbook (2019). Her writing has appeared in Dancing While Black, Small Axe, Art21, Obsidian, Kitchen Table Translation, and New Daughters of Africa.  She teaches creative writing and critical studies at the California Institute of the Arts and was named a 2019 Rema Hort Mann LA Emerging Artist. The aim of her work is to open up space.

Related Links

Gabrielle’s website