This performance choreographed and directed by Ann Mazzocca incorporated the Chrysler Museum's Edward Burtynsky: Water exhibition and my experiences within Afro-Caribbean folkloric traditions and communities in the United States, Haiti, and Cuba.
The theme of water plays a central role in Haitian and Afro-Cuban folklore and religious traditions – from the wave-like movements of Yanvalou within the danced religion of Vodou to the Cuban Yoruba orishas Ochún and Yemayá, divinities of the river and ocean embodying different qualities of femininity. Outside of ritual and performance contexts, experiences in rural and urban Haiti exposed me to the labor and intimacy involved in gathering water for everyday use such as bathing and cooking.
The performance took place in three locations within and outside of the museum. First, an offering to the waters occurred waterside in front of the museum. After everyone offered their flowers in to the water, we moved inside the museum to Huber Court, where the dancers ritually bathed and performed Haitian Yanvalou with the drummers followed by a choreography to Ibeyi's "River." The performers then moved into the gallery with the Burtynsky photographs to respond to the various works within his series including Control, Distress, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Waterfront, and Source.
Dancers: Victoria Banks, Mila Carr, Camille Carson, Darcy Davidson, Eliza Eaton, Kayla Jewette, Ann Mazzocca, Ifé Michelle, John Pickard, Marie Villamil, Vee Waymer, and Madeline Wheeler.
Percussionists: Dale Paul Lazar, Orimolade Ogunjimi, Rodolphe "Neg Mawon" Pierre.
Photo credits: Maegan Douglas, Mikel Mickey Fuller, Avery Shaffer, Emily Stuart.