ABOVE PHOTO: A scene from “Native Portals”
A two-part movement series featuring the premiere of Release Mourning Clearing by Lela Aisha Jones/Flyground
Intercultural Journeys finishes the 2015/16 “Season: The Artistry of Identity and Transformation” with its first-ever dance performance: “Native Portals,” a two-part movement performance series by Lela Aisha Jones | FlyGround. An excerpt from the first part, titled “Lynching & Love” (2012), interprets first exposures to noose lynching as experienced by the artists in the work. The second part, titled “Release Mourning Clearing,” is a premiere. It conjures and translates, through dance, text, soundscapes, and live music, a tapestry of ritual practices rising from black diasporic experiences of activism, witnessing, reconciliation, and restoration. Lela Aisha Jones is a recipient of the 2015 Leeway Transformation Award, Artistic Director of FlyGround, Co-Founder of The Requisite Movers, and Lead Centralizer/Organizer of Dancing for Justice Philadelphia. Her piece, “Native Portals: Lynching and Love,” won her a 2012 Dance USA Philadelphia Rocky Award. The performances will be followed by discussions with the artists facilitated by Jamie J. Brunson, Executive Director of First Person Arts.
IJ is pleased to once again offer additional opportunities for dialogue around the work. Two hours before each performance there will be Food for Thought events. This free program consists of a casual potluck-style meal and guided discussion on a topic related to the concert. The theme on April 23 and 24 will be “The Body Wails, The Body Restores” and will provide insight into how movement and the body are connected to artistry, resistance, and restoration. Featured remarks will be given by Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild (April 23) and Julie B. Johnson (April 24). Every Food for Thought event is open to the public, but guests are requested to RSVP and bring a food item to share. “The Body Wails, The Body Restores” will be accompanied by visual arts exhibitions, My Racial Ignorance by Bonnie Mettler and UNARMED | Photo Series and UNARMED | Performance by Arielle Pina.
On May 1, Lela Aisha Jones will facilitate a workshop at the Community Education Center titled, “Activism and Cultural Understanding in the Body.” This two-hour movement and dialogue based workshop focuses on gesture, narrative, and witnessing as tools for understanding the experience of self and society. This workshop is open to all interested in developing skills of processing and communicating that lead to individual and collective social consciousness.
“Native refers to a space and/or time from which we originate, commence, and/or begin. A portal is a method or way to enter that space and/or time,” said Lela Aisha Jones about her the series. “Native Portals captures reflections on lived experiences and how they manifest in memories and dreams through narratives that are cyclic, non-linear, and abstracted. This is the aim of our bodies in performance as witnesses and living archives of our cultural climate.”
The performances will take place on April 23 at 8PM and April 24 at 7PM in the Ibrahim Theater at International House. Tickets are $15 for General Admission, $10 for IHP members, and $8 for students. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.IHousePhilly.org/IJ or call 215-387-5125, ext. 2.