Art as transformation, ritual in action, environmental justice, and joy are themes at this performance event gathering featuring Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Kirsten Davis, Bianca Medina, Odeya Nini, Wilfried Souly and Allison Wyper.
Esther Baker-Tarpaga co-directs Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, a transnational performance company based in Burkina Faso and Philadelphia. She is a member of Propelled Animals, an interdisciplinary collective. She recently performed at The Englert Theatre Iowa, Baad!Ass Women’s Festival Bronx, LabBodies LightCity Baltimore, Tamadia Arts Festival France, Bali Spirit Festival, InOut Festival Bobo Dioulasso, and CECUT Tijuana. She was a Grant Wood Fellow at University of Iowa and has taught at Temple University, Princeton University, University of the Arts, and Ohio State University. She toured with David Rousseve/REALITY and collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena/La Pocha Nostra. She was an AIR at Marin Headlands, a recipient of a NY Live Arts Suitcase Fund, and was a US Cultural Envoy in Guinea, Botswana, and South Africa. She is co-founder of Meredith School Anti-Racist Group. She graduated from UCLA World Arts and Cultures Department with an MFA.www.btdanceproject.org
Kirsten Davis, A New Jersey native, earned their BA in dance from Hunter College. Their choreographic work is inspired by an interest in the erasure of the fourth wall in an effort to make the audience as much a part of the performance as the “traditional dancer”. Their Improvisational curiosities are deeply rooted in the guidance of spirit and energy with the belief that bodies are vessels to speak and be spoken to through the freedom of movement and voice. Davis’ most recent works compile a series that question the creation and extinguishment of collective suffering. This series seeks to expose and dismantle the spaces that reject the afflicted while celebrating fictitious joy. These works include ‘The Solo Mourner: The Rupture, Many Pass Few Remember, and their most recent work in progress, The Absence of Sweat and Psalm. Davis has spent the last four years as a company member of The NWA Project based in New York under the direction of company founder and choreographer, Ni’Ja Whitson. Recently, Davis also performed with choreographers Maura Donohue, Ursula Eagly, and Chafin Seymour of the Seymour::Dance Collective
Bianca Medina is a Puerto Rican & Mexican Chicago native and holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Iowa. She moved to LA in desire to more immersively connect with her roots through studying movement of the Afro-Latin Diaspora. Medina is professionally dancing, touring, and engaging with communities through arts activism as a company member and teaching artist for CONTRA-TIEMPO Urban Latin Dance Theatre, Viver Brasil Dance Company, and in working with award winning choreographer Marina Magalhães. As a choreographer, Medina is interested in exploring the essence of divine (her)stories and ritualistic (re)remembering that lives in the female body through a resiliently grounded and lush expression.
Odeya Nini is a Los Angeles based experimental vocalist and contemporary composer. At the locus of her interests are performance practices, textural harmony, gesture, tonal animation, and the illumination of minute sounds, in works spanning chamber music to vocal pieces and collages of musique concrète. Her solo vocal work extends the dimension and expression of the voice and body, creating a sonic and physical panorama of silence to noise and tenderness to grandeur. www.odeyanini.com
Wilfried Souly is a choreographer, dancer, drummer and Taekwondo expert, originally from Burkina Faso in West Africa. He was trained in African traditional and contemporary dances since his youngest age in the acclaimed company “The Bourgeon du Burkina.” In September 2000, he co-founded “Compagnie Tâ” with two other choreographers and co-choreographed many dance pieces presented around the world. Willy has collaborated with many local artists and companies, including Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, Maria Gillespie, Victoria Marks, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Company, and Viver Brasil. In August 2016 he created On Becoming, a quest for identity at 12th edition of NOW Festival. Willy is an Adjunct professor at the UCLA and teaches community West African Dance classes at Your Neighborhood Studio and has been an Arts Educator for the Fullerton School District since 2009.
Los Angeles based artist Allison Wyper activates the performance space as a site of critical action. She produces charged encounters between performer and viewer that encourage intimate exchange and critical solidarity. Her work has been presented in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Germany. (allisonwyper.com / rhizomaticarts.com)