(re)Source, an investigation-in-process by Maria Bauman/MBDance
BAX Artist in Residence Maria Bauman is a dance artist who mines her identities as an artist, a community organizer, and as a Black, queer, not-quite-southern-belle-now-living-in-New-York to create bold and honest dances. In April, she is sharing her newest work-in-progress at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. (re)Source, investigation-in-progress, is shaping up to be an improvisatory piece wherein Bauman dances, sings, and speaks through the assets in her family (both the white and the Blackfolks), what it takes to make it in Trump’s U.S., and what her research into maroonage and her own ancestors have to do with all of that. For it, she has made a large set (a 3-D family tree) and she is working with the amazing SoundChemist/VoudouElectro Composer Val Jeanty on sound collaboration. They are contending with “if/then” improvisatory themes of navigating and being resourceful immediately.
In addition to solo choreographed and improvised dancing, the work includes live soundscape composition and performance as well as a visual art landscape Bauman dances with, in, through, and in spite of. Of the work she says, “My experience is that we’re all navigating; I certainly am. Whether I am bringing my Blackness across the terrain of conversations on shared and not-shared experiences in our dance field with white colleagues, whether I am using my grandmother’s prayers and my father’s wit as a map to direct my course through Trump’s vision of the U.S., or whether I am sailing over depression and stagnancy with care, I am navigating. And I know I am not the only one moving carefully and without ease over sometimes unexpected terrain.”
Since late 2015, Bauman has embarked on a series of outdoor improvisations on non-traditional, inclined, and bumpy surfaces in multiple settings. She is learning how her physicality is both limited and expanded by the terrain. Her exploration of inclined surfaces and uneven terrain as surfaces for dancing–outdoors and inside on structures and obstacles—is inspiration for the landscape she is creating for (re)Source. That landscape includes a 3-D web/family tree made of paper, yarn, and other fiber materials that she dances through. At the early stages of creation, she worked with visual artist Nontsikelelo Mutiti as an advisor on it.
Bauman has brought on the amazing SoundChemist/VoudouElectro Composer Val Jeanty as live sound collaborator. They are contending with “if/then” improvisatory themes of navigating and being resourceful, immediately. The two co-create seamlessly in the moment, based on shared goals. Jeanty and Bauman have an intangible connection which allows them to both plan and work together more traditionally as well as to trigger artistic responses in one another on-the-spot.
Questions central to Bauman’s artistic practice for (re)Source are:” What instruments and maps do I, and we, have to guide our journeys—recipes, ancestral memories, daily routines, etc? What specific, unique physical capacities can I utilize to navigate uneven terrain? What are the costs and/or the gifts, especially to people of color and queer folks, of constantly navigating–physically and emotionally?”
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