Last week marked the 7th annual Breaking the Silence Congo Week, a global week of awareness and a call to action in the struggle for human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am reminded that centuries later descendants of the Kongo Kingdom are still struggling to rise up from the ashes. Mama Kimpa Vita’s mission is yet unfulfilled. Her voice calls for us to stand up bravely and face the forces that would stamp out all that is sacred, all that is spirit.
a blog posting for vîv.
by sam stone
The topic what it feels like to have your self-produced show opening in two weeks. And
of course, we aren’t the only ones who have ever ventured to do such a thing. We all
know the intensity that pursues when you add up all that is a show. It’s everything that
goes on stage plus everything that goes on behind the stage, not to mention taking care
of our dear audiences, and then also ourselves… But a many people write about this, and
it’s not in my interest (and maybe not yours) to rant on and on about our to do list.
to do list trashed.
I’d like to talk about these women I am working with. These incredible beings ranging
from type A to type Z that do far more than you’ll ever know to support one another. We
do not log every hour spent making the production happen. We just do what we’ve got to
do. And all that is done (which I promise you exceeds the eight hour work day) translates
into a simple nod of the head. a check mark. a ‘no problem.’ Ahh. wait, let me be clear.
There is no need to pat us on the backs, no need to taking sympathy. Because, here
there is no ‘what have I been doing with my life?!’ backlash. We love what we do. We
know that rehearsals exercise our creative intelligence, performing offers us a chance to
share our art, and all of that administrative stuff? We just love it! no, I am completely lying.
but. maybe on a good day, we have the patience to see things falling into place.
Sometimes, I just write an email or a spreadsheet, and I feel like YES! big step Sam. way
The dance the dance the dance you say? We are a mother &@*&$ jungle! Snakes and
Bears and Dancers oh my. Animal themes are in the air, and at that, so is Illinois. Fun fact,
both our lovely Bianca Cabrera and Kathleen Hermesdorf hail from Northern Illinois.
Free writing on Bianca Cabrera’s Bear Down.
It’s a heated piece. The movement is thick and full. Our relationships are like swampy
creatures sliding alongside one another. And sometimes the fog settles and there is
clarity, detail, character and humanity. I am really enjoying running through this one.
Sometimes a dance can build really well for a performer. It’s map makes perfect sense to
the speed of my breath, the stretch of my limbs. And can I just say, holy wow. The dancers
are honestly exquisite in this one. To love the talent and persona of those of whom you
dance with is such a treat. Pieces of this work were made for individuals, and watching it
you just know that that dancer owns it. I truly look forward to every time I have the
opportunity to interact with everyone, knowing that each run will be different. This is not a
5,6,7,8 dance. It is a dance for the intelligent dancer. The dancer who feels out timing as
it comes along. Bianca is giving us a beautiful gift and she has been highly considerate of
who we are individually and as a collective.
Free writing on Kathleen Hermesdorf’s Ouroboros.
Oh mannn… today was the first day we slipped back into the piece after a long summer of
nada. Immediately I notice the vast difference in quality from Bianca’s movement. It’s a
looser fit, more room for joints to bounce, retract, carve or fly. This is the piece that
brought us together. And now! We are teaching it to Elizabeth Chitty who is stepping in to
bring new energy to the piece. That girl is smart! She has this thing practically down after
only two rehearsals. We rehearsed on a basketball court today so the feeling of it isn’t
back just yet. It’s funny how different you feel through shoes than through bare feet. And
this piece uses the ground in a big way. In the past I have felt a certain insanity
performing this piece. The kind of insanity edged on by those dancing around me. But
who knows what it will be now, especially paired with the amebic like Bear Down.
O. blog writing is kind of fun. I have many thoughts on everything we are doing. And no
one even gave me a proper topic for this one! So, if you have any questions or themes
that you want me to write on, I am intrigued, and may just accept your challenge.
Until then, we are vîv. Our show is October 24th and 25th and CounterPulse. all is
We have radically exciting news… Our DJ pals from Honey Soundsystem and our tech-savvy neighbors at Twitter have each pledged $5,000 in matching funds to our Indiegogo campaign! That’s a $10,000 Art and Tech Match to build the new CounterPulse! So if our tantalizing perks weren’t irresistible enough on their own, you and your friends can now triple your money thanks to Twitter and Honey Soundsystem!
This is the kind of collaboration between art and tech that will create the San Francisco we want to live in, where innovation drives our cultural dialogue as well as our technology. Please consider making a contribution and share the news so that we can take advantage of this generous match. Hard to pass up the chance to triple the impact of your dollars, no?
As a woman of African descent, born to an African American mother and a Central African father, I believe this project reflects the uniqueness of my journey and addresses many of the questions that permeate my existence, as I seek God, and wrestle with womanhood, motherhood, Africanity, AfricanAmericanity and all of the ‘anities’ and ‘isms’ that come along with it. As I delve deeper into Mama Kimpa Vita’s story, the voices of kindred mother-martyrs have turned from whispers to raised voices, adding the thread of their lives to the tapestry of this wondrous works.
Mama Kimpa Vita
Mama Laura Nelson
Mama Marie Turner
(Mama) Amy Spain
And to all of the other mothers
whose graves are yet unmarked
whose rest has been anything but peaceful
and whom history would like to erase…
We have not forgotten you nor will we let them forget.
I am consumed, consuming, predator and prey, object and subject, caught in the performance of self in a biological and cultural context that is full of contradictions. There are so many things to really be afraid of in the world and so many beings living with tragic, immediate threats. I live in relative privilege and safety and I’m still afraid. This piece is about the habit of anxiety that is there both because of and despite circumstances. It is about the inevitable habit of searching the environment for threats and the insidious, unexamined fears that limit us. Being chicken seems to be an essential part of the human experience. The attempt to face fears and relate to them is an embrace of exposure, failure and vulnerability.