Demonstrations, marches, sit-ins/die-ins/love-ins, rallies, prayer: are there alternatives to these forms of protest that we can employ to generate positive change? J’Sun Howard’s Working On Better Versions of Prayers: Version I is a poetic testimony in which miracles can erupt at any moment. “My aim is to make a dreamscape that can be a possibility for a future world,” writes Howard, a Chicago-based dancemaker and poet who most recently performed at Danspace in the Bessie Award-winning work of Darrell Jones. Howard is inspired b “radical hope,” a concept articulated by author Jonathan Lear who was influenced by ideas from he last hereditary Chief of the Crow Nation, Plenty Coups (1848-1932). Howard and performers/collaborators D. Banks, Damon Green, and Will Harris create a charismatic space for joy, exploring the intimacy between queer men of color, flirting with notions of divine radical presence and how it “holyficates.” Director: J’Sun Howard; Dramaturge: Raquel Monroe.
An early version of Brother(hood) Dance!’s how to survive a plague was seen during Danspace’s Platform 2016: Lost & Found. In this interdisciplinary meditation on the artistic generational gap between those lost in the global AIDS epidemic, Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr and Ricarrdo Valentine investigate who survives and whose stories are told during and after life, and explore methods of healing, care-giving, and living testimonies in a ritualistic setting of movement, sound designed by Hunter and live singing by Starr Busby, and aromatherapy by Nicole Wilkins. In a “reverential gesture to lost ancestral artistic dreams,” Hunter and Valentine seek to venerate the Black African bodies that were exiled from the urgency of care and shunned by their communities and government. Costumes by Emmy Award-winning designer Shane Ballard.