Choreographer, Cynthia Oliver will return to MANCC in a second residency to finalize her work, Virago-Man Dem. MANCC has made a multi-year commitment to Oliver with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has allowed her to develop the work over multiple residencies. An extended commitment such as this allows artists to include more collaborators, pull in more technical support, and make a more substantial investment in their process, their commissioning partners and audiences.
Virago-Man Dem is an exploration of the masculine and its relationship to culture and locale. In this work Oliver asks, “How can/does a woman choreograph masculinity, without resorting to stereotypes but instead locate its nuances, challenges and ambiguities?” Oliver and her collaborators, an all male cast of predominantly US- based, Afro-Caribbean dancers/performers, seek to unearth unspoken codes and overt expressions of black masculinity in both movement and spoken language.
Oliver’s work draws upon her extensive background in contemporary dance from Africanist and Euro-American cultural frameworks as well as her deep involvement in avant-garde theatrical traditions by black women in North America. For Virago-Man Dem, Oliver creates a complex choreography of non-linear movement, oral text and visual projections that move from dance to word to sound to image and back again, resulting in a richly layered, eclectic and provocative dance theatre.
Oliver’s existing body of work is animated by the concerns of her scholarly research and writing, which reflect on the intersection of contemporary dance, feminism, black popular culture and the expressive performances of Africans in the diaspora. Her recent interests include asserting the presence and complex negotiations of black artists in contemporary “avant-garde,” “experimental,” or neo-postmodern dance arenas. She writes on the politics of the dance scene in the US, relations between dance and other contemporary art movements, and the lives of black women in the Caribbean, as evinced by her book, “Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Womanhood in the Caribbean” published by University Press of Mississippi in 2009.
Now in the final stages of development, Oliver will use her second residency to focus on the scenic and technical elements of Virago-Man Dem, as she prepares for its Fall 2017 premiere. The residency will culminate in an informal public work-in-progress showing.
School of Dance
Black Box Studio
Montgomery Hall, FSU
Thursday, March 23 at 6:00 pm
This showing is open to the public, community members are encourage to attend.
For reservations please email firstname.lastname@example.org.