MADC presents Collective Thread
MODArts Dance Collective (MADC) presents Collective Thread provides a voice and a platform for artistic self-impression to those women/womxn identifying choreographers of underrepresented ethnic groups within the medium of dance (African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, Native American [ALAANA], MENA, & SWANA). The goal of Collective Thread is to instill artists with the necessary tools to take on leadership roles in an effort to increase diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in the dance field.
Photo Caption: The headshots of 6 BIPOC womxn choreographers presenting work on March 12th (clockwise: Jessica Gabrielle Thomas, Beatrice Capote, Gelline Guevarra, Jamison Curcio, Mimi Liu, & Andrea Smith).
Yemaya: Rebirthing to Existence
Choreographed & Performed by: Beatrice Capote
Live music by: Joe Galvin
Vocals by: Joe Galvin, referencing Orisha songs and rhythms
Ms. Capote is a Cuban-American Professional dancer, Choreographer, and Teacher. She received her A.A from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, BA in dance education and MFA from Montclair State University focusing on Afro-Cuban dance and music. She has been faculty at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Montclair State University, the Joffrey School, amongst others. She has performed with prestigious choreographers and is currently a member of Tony nominated choreographer Camille A. Brown and Dancers company. She has been appointed Associate Professor at the Theatre, Drama and Contemporary dance department at Indiana University.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? My spirit guides and Camille A. Brown inspired me to choreograph and express my voice.
What is your creative process? I use Cuban historical narratives relating to human experiences, behaviors and characteristics as a form of inspiration. Rhythm is another component in my choreographic motivation that becomes part of the narrative. These inspirations are gathered from patiently listening, meditating, and waiting for the call during the creative process. This process is Spiritual Becoming or Awakening through the internal and externally embodiment.
Piece Description: This solo work regresses back to the powers, strength, and spiritual aptitude of Yemaya, the Mother of Sea Waters. Guided through the spirit of the drum, the narrative explores the constant journey to refining one's spiritual destiny through different paths.
Social Media Handles: Instagram - @b_capote
Incentivize (Olive Section)
Choreographed by: Jessica Gabrielle Thomas
Performed by: Mackensie Garlow and Jessica Gabrielle Thomas
Music: Olive Grove by Steffany Grettzinger
Jessica G Thomas is a native of Detroit, MI. She obtained a M.F.A in Dance from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Thomas also received a B.F.A in Dance from Wright State University. She currently instructs classical ballet at The Foundation House, LLC and Juliana's School of Dance. Thomas is a part time classical ballet professor at Wayne State University. Her choreographic work entitled Mandela/Angelou is featured in Pointe Magazine as editors choice for pointe video of the month.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? Whilst studying within the graduate program at New York University's - Tisch School of the Arts, Phyllis Lamhut was one of my improvisation and choreographic guides. She really honed in on aiding me as well as others in the process of being intentional about what I was creating as a choreographer and artist. Since then, I began to form my own choreographic artistic voice as an artist and really blossom. I also began to fall in love with choreographic works by Ulysses Dove, Alvin Ailey, Nacho Duato, Alonzo King, and so many others. These artists inspired me to use my artistic voice to not only raise awareness about issues that impact our world but create pieces that invoke humans to commit to changing our communities for the better.
What is your creative process? Through journaling, I analyzed personal questions that impact me at the present moment/time. From a series of developing motifs, phrases, that stem from my journaling I use emotion and sensory as impetus for movement/creation of my bodies of work.
Piece Description: My intent of incentivize is to be a body of work that embodies my experiences of surviving, thriving, coping, through the pandemic of 2020. I began this choreographic concept for “Incentivize” February of 2020, working within the parameters of creating a duet/trio. It has evolved in so many ways over the past year. “Incentivize” is a work that not only causes the artists to wrestle with the concept of division and defining unity; it also invites the audience to engage in answering personal questions within themselves through viewing this body of work. Thus, this piece uses dance as a vehicle to promote awareness, impact change, and draw people closer together even though there may be invisible boundaries between us.
Social Media Handles: Instagram - @selah.gabrielle, Facebook - Selah.Gabrielle, Twitter - @SelahGabrielle
How We Get Free
Choreographed & Performed by: Jamison Curcio
Music: Satan, We're Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down by Sunday Service Choir
Jamison Curcio (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and community curator. Working at the intersections of performance art, visual art, and Black Feminism, Curcio cultivates and fosters stories of liberation and reimagining. As a community curator, Curcio interweaves the values of Black Feminism and curates virtual exhibitions that hold collaborators’ truths, invite community members to be curious, analyze their positionalities, and roles in collective liberation. As a graduate from Goucher College ('19), Curcio holds a BA in Performance Art for Social Justice and is the recipient of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Brooke Pierce Award in Fine Arts for choreography.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? In college I took my first composition class and was interested in the art of storytelling. What drew me in was the politics of performance and how I could analyze in depth what I was creating. I found that I could say things and tell my truth in ways I had never felt I could before.
What is your creative process? I see my role as a visionary who holds space for resiliency and community care, understanding that it is a form of social solidarity in the fight for collective liberation. BIPOC individuals and communities have had the narrative told to and for them, a story that does not hold all the truths. In reclaiming time and energy, I work through a Black Feminist lens to empower BIPOC collaborators to tap into their innate joy. In practice, intentional check ins, conversations, and joy jams are tools in my practice. I enjoy being in the research phrase and giving myself and collaborators permission to be curious. This then resonates through the work and is an entry point for audience members to ask questions themselves.
Piece Description: How We Get Free is an intentional open letter to white supremacy. Using the environment elements, color aesthetics, and gospel music, this film invites audience members to decide if this film is talking about the past or the current times.
Social Media Handles: Instagram - @jamison_curcio
Introduction & Recognition of the Create | Share | Inspire Award Recipient: Ella Thompson Moore
Who Are We?
Choreographed by: Gelline Guevarra
Performed by: Gelline Guevarra & Jade Tabayoyong
Music: Dayuan by Organix
Vocals: Republika Filipina by Dark
Gelline Guevarra is a performing artist with TwoPoint4 Dance Theatre and BBmoves. Additionally, she had recently collaborated and presented various works under her own company GGprojects. In movement, Gelline values the ability to connect phrases and using the ideas of contact improv to tell a story. She is thankful to be performing with other creatively different artists and hopes the audience is left with thought provoking memories.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? There are two elements that inspired me to choreograph this work. First, was the personal disconnect I have with the Filipino culture. I never truly felt I was a apart of the culture even though I grew up in a Filipino household. Second, was my mother's story on how she immigrated from the Philippines to America with her siblings.
What is your creative process? For this work, I pulled some movement qualities from a improvisation I did 3 years ago. This improv was a specific part of my life where I felt lost in my own identity. From there I created two separate solos from inspired by the spoken word. During this process, the musician was creating the music simultaneously with the dancers which brought a whole different dynamic to the piece.
Piece Description: This work explores the idea of two Filipino/American women born and raised in America. These women embarking on a discovery to find out more about their heritage and connect to it through movements. This movement draws on elements from my parents move from the Philippines to the States.
Social Media Handles: Instagram - @jiggilin, Facebook - Gelline Guevarra
Choreographed & Performed by: Mimi Liu
Music: J.S. Bach's "Flute Sonata in B Minor BWV 1030"
MIMI LIU is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. Mimi’s undergraduate excellence was also featured in The Dance Spirit magazine and the Boston local news. She received her early dance training from The American Ballet Theatre summer intensives in New York City, The Boston Ballet School, and The Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA). She has taught and choreographed original works for Brooklyn Ballet, American Liberty Ballet, Saddleback College, Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School, just to name a few. Mimi holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is certified in levels Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? The music.
What is your creative process? My creative process is a living document. Depending on the piece I am working on, I usually start my choreography with the assistance of my video camera. Then I would piece together the steps I loved seeing or watching on the recording and continue the process until I'm happy with the result.
Piece Description: A dance film about using dance to spread sweetness in the world.
Social Media Handle: Instagram - @miss.mimi.liu
Amygdala; “Wait For Now/Leave The World”
Choreographed by: Andrea Nicole Smith
Performed by: Sharayah Spruill
Music: Wait For Now/Leave The World
Vocals by: Andrea Smith
Andrea Smith AKA Andy Nicole has been involved in the arts since childhood. She studied all over NYC. Her art has brought her to Broadway, Japan, and all the little places too numerous to name. She is a part of the St. John’s Performing Arts Department team. In 2019 Andy founded ‘RAP’ Revolutionary Artistic Productions. A company focused on producing art that reflects the voice of Black Women.
What or Who inspired/motivated you to start choreographing? Since childhood I have been amazed by music and dance. I had little access to it, but was obsessed with it. In college my friend got me a job teaching where I worked alongside another friend who is a director. He asked me to choreograph a production he was working on because he saw the choreographer in me. It took me some years and productions after that to admit to myself that indeed, I am a dance maker.
What is your creative process? My creative process starts with the word. I write poetry and it inspires me to expand the creation. I must also become obsessed with a piece of music. I meditate on both. Then I start the skeleton (Vocabulary) of the choreography and as I go along I add the tissue and the muscle. The finished product is usually extremely different from what I started with. Pages of poetry and various rehearsal videos later, the piece is complete.
Piece Description: “Amygdala” is the art that I created during shut down. It involves spoken word and dance. “Wait For Now/Leave The World.” Is about the dialogue between myself and God right before the United States started taking COVID-19 seriously. It is the first Amygdala piece worked on during shut down. I as the artist take you on a journey within myself as I come to terms with my relationship with the Divine, the transformation of our world, and the changes taking place within me. Directed and Filmed by the talented Jabari Holder from Just A Kreation in a Box Productions (@justakreation) Performed by the amazing dancer Sharayah Spruill. (@go_rayah_go)
Social Media Handles: Instagram - @andynicole_nyc / @rev_arts_Productions
Gratitude & Support
MADC would like to thank our donors & Patreon supporters: Anonymous (3), Sharon Banks, Paul Brill, William-Michael Cooper, Zoe Correa, Mallory Creveling, Megan Curet, Lindi Duesenberg, Joy Hanks, Sarah Horne, Bri Jenkins, Rachel Kuczynski, Karen & Brian Lowy, Jeffery Martin, Susan Mende, Leila Mire, Jessica Mosher, Sophie Parens, Tanya Patton, Joya Powell, Chatiera Ray, Tammeca Rochester, Nathaniel Rutledge, Harriette Smiley, Laronica Southerland, Charis Travlos, Laura Tubbs, & Monse Valdez.
MADC is a sponsored project through Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Assist us in continuing to be an agent of social change and amplifying BIPOC voices through movement. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation, become a Patreon patron, purchase an item from MADC's Etsy shop, or discover other ways to support the company.