A (Re)Quest for Freedom: The International Human Rights Art Festival
International Human Rights Art Festival
In A (Re)Quest for Freedom, dancers and musicians from Europe and from the USA search for possibilities to be free, in their movements, their sounds, in community, in society, individually and together. The evening presents a wide scope of artistic forms including contemporary Dance, African Global Theater and compositional improvisation. A poetic call for equal rights and an uplifting invitation to celebrate the living body. Featuring: Oxana Chi Dance Art (dance-theater with live-music), Gwen Rakotovao Company (dance), The Lovelies (impro dance with live cello), Mara Rosenbloom (piano).
Curated by Oxana Chi & Layla Zami, Produced by Thomas Block for the International Human Rights Art Festival
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GWEN RAKOTOVAO COMPANY: In her solo excerpt Fitiavana (Esperanto), Gwen Rakotovao investigates how to keep building social cohesion when the words, the traditions and cultural codes we share keep dividing us. It is a dance in quest of tolerance and togetherness.The group work Douce is a new piece currently in development at the New York University Performance Studies Department, is the exploration of the movement of standing up. What does it mean to keep rising?
Gwen Rakotovao is an award-winning dancer/choreographer and a TEDx speaker. She won the first prize (gold medal) at the 2012 Biarritz International Contemporary Dance Competition. She is also a 6th Korea International Modern Dance Competition and 12th Seoul International Dance Competition’s finalist. In addition, Gwen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts (Licence Arts du Spectacle) from the University Paris 8. Dances by Gwen Rakotovao are inspired by her multi-cultural background and aim to use dance as a media to encourage the growth of peace.
OXANA CHI & LAYLA ZAMI present I Step On Air , a dance-music-theater piece dedicated to the iconic activist, poet and speech therapist May Ayim, also known as the Afro-German Audre Lorde. The work was originally commissioned by Dr. Natasha Kelly's for the May-Ayim-Seminar at Humboldt-University Berlin. The piece is conceived and choreographed by Oxana Chi, who interprets it on stage together with Layla Zami (saxophone, kalimba, physical theater).
Oxana Chi is a German-Nigerian dancer, choreographer, curator, festival organizer, filmmaker and author. Her company Oxana Chi & Ensemble Xinren was founded in Berlin in 1991 and moved to New York in 2015. She is a DOSHIMA 2016 Ambassador of Peace (Jakarta). In 2018, she was listed in the Dance Enthusiast’s A to Z of People who Power the Dance World. Dr. Layla Zami is a French-Caribbean-Jewish interdisciplinary artist and academic, currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Performance + Performance Studies Graduate Program at Pratt Institute.
THE LOVELIES have been exploring the possibilities of compositional improvisation since 2013. We have had the honor of being presented at Judson Church, Triskelion Arts, The Tank, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Shapeshifter Lab, in breweries, salons, parks, hotels and many other theatres and site-specific locations. The Lovelies teach compositional improvisation at Mark Morris Dance Center and the Joffrey Ballet School and present a space residency and split bill series called The Lovelies Present: Slice & Dice. Dancers Joanna Futral, Katie Vason, and Lena Lauer will be accompanied by Kirin McElwain on the cello.
MARA ROSENBLOOM: Pianist, composer, & bandleader Mara Rosenbloom has been called “a whole hearted poet of the piano," – she is a builder & a synthesist; a fiercely lyrical composer & improviser (All About Jazz). New York Music Daily described her album Prairie Burn - a suite that focuses closely on intensely collaborative improvisation - as her "quantum leap into greatness. An absolutely feral, largely improvisational suite...unbridled ferocity and a remarkable chemistry...one of the ten best jazz albums of the year."
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