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Home » News » MANCC Welcomes Ralph Lemon, Living Legacy Artist

MANCC Welcomes Ralph Lemon, Living Legacy Artist

Published February 18, 2014
Ralph Lemon (NY) Living Legacy Artist
Ralph Lemon (NY) – Living Legacy Artist

February 17 – March 1, 2014
Work in Development: Scaffold Room


Collaborators in Residence

Performers: Okwui Okpokwasili, April Matthis
Dramaturg: Katherine Profeta
Video Designer and Editor: Mike Taylor
Composer: Marina Rosenfeld


Entrypoints are unique opportunities for visiting artists to conduct research and collaborate with the FSU and Tallahassee communities as well as the national dance field.

TBA A Moment with Ralph Lemon


More Information

Living Legacy artist, Ralph Lemon returns to MANCC to work on Scaffold Room, the newest chapter in a decade-long narrative linking Lemon and a group of artistic collaborators in New York City with a community in rural Mississippi. Scaffold Room is Lemon’s latest experiment with the boundaries of form and presentation, merging dance with visual installation. Performed with a live DJ, two dancers/actors and video projections featuring a third actor, Scaffold Room takes the form of a “performance-lecture-musical” within a confined built environment.

At MANCC, Lemon will work with long time collaborator and MANCC Choreographic Fellow, Okwui Okpokwasili and April Matthis. Together Matthis, Okpokwasili and Edna Carter on video (the wife of the late Walter Carter, a former sharecropper who lived his entire life in Bentonia, MS), represent three women who act out and play into assumptions about prevailing cultural body-politics. They enact iconic and imagined figures with sources drawn from popular culture, speculative fiction and history, including Beyoncé, Moms Mabley, Amy Winehouse and Kathy Acker. The performers think out loud, tell the truth sometimes, stretch it at others, borrow from each other and other sources and build a myth into a belief system.

Scaffold Room will premiere at The Walker Art Center in September 2014.


Ralph Lemon Biography

Ralph Lemon is Artistic Director of Cross Performance, a company dedicated to the creation of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary performance and presentation. Lemon builds teams of collaborating artists – from diverse cultural backgrounds, countries and artistic disciplines – who bring their own history and aesthetic voices to the work. Projects develop over a period of years, with public sharings of work-in-progress, culminating in artworks derived from the artistic, cultural, historic and emotional material uncovered in this rigorous creative research process.

Lemon’s most recent work, How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere? (2008-2010) was a four-part project consisting of live performance, film, and visual art. The first three parts were presented on stage with a cast of seven and the fourth, Meditation (created with video designer Jim Findlay), was an immersive visual art installation.

The project also included a mixed-media exhibition of works created by Lemon and his long-time collaborator/muse, Walter Carter, a black man from Mississippi whose life spanned the 20th Century. This critically acclaimed work toured to seven cities across the U.S. including Urbana, IL; San Francisco, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Durham, NC; and Brooklyn, NY. In January 2011, a re-contextualized version of one section of the work was presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in conjunction with the exhibition, On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century.

Other recent projects include Some sweet day, a performance series curated by Lemon in 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Paradance, a series of performed lectures, which Lemon presented at universities and art centers throughout 2011; an online installation (; and Rescuing the Princess, a 2009 performance commission for the Lyon Opera Ballet. In 2010, Lemon curated I Get Lost, a performance and humanities series for Danspace Project, New York, NY. In 2005 Lemon concluded The Geography Trilogy – a ten-year project encompassing three full-evening dance/theater works – Geography (1997), Tree (2000), and Come home Charley Patton (2004); two online art projects; three books – geography: art/race/exile, Tree: Belief/Culture/Balance and Come home Charley Patton; several gallery installations featuring video, drawings and photographs; and a three-DVD set with an essay written by project dramaturg, Katherine Profeta.

Lemon’s solo visual art exhibitions include: 1856 Cessna Road, Studio Museum in Harlem (2012); How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere?, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2010); (the efflorescence of) Walter, Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans (2008), The Kitchen, New York (2007) and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2006); The Geography Trilogy, Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (2001); Temples, Margaret Bodell Gallery, New York (2000); and Geography, Art Awareness, Lexington, New York (1997). Group exhibitions include: Move: Choreographing You, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2010-11) and The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham, NC.

Lemon is an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Artist Award (2012) and was also one of fifty artists to receive the inaugural United States Artists Fellowship in 2006. He has received two “Bessie” (NY Dance and Performance) Awards, 2009 and 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2004 Fellowship with the Bellagio Study and Conference Center. In 1999, Lemon was honored with the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts.

Lemon has been artist-in-residence at Temple University in Philadelphia (2005-06); George A. Miller Endowment Visiting Artist at the Krannert Center (2004); and a Fellow of the Humanities Council and Program in Theater and Dance at Princeton University (2002). From 1996-2000, he was Associate Artist at Yale Repertory Theatre. In 2009, he was an IDA fellow at Stanford University and in 2011 he was a Visiting Critic with the Yale University, School of Art, Sculpture Department. He is the 2013 Annenberg Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art.

Please visit or email for additional information about Lemon’s residency.
The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), at the FSU School of Dance, is a choreographic research and development center whose mission is to raise the value of the creative process in dance.