A collaboration by Shellie Chambers and Michelle Hamff
by Shellie Chambers:
Today, Michelle and I began working with three community members – Ivan Correa, Vikas Hedge and Amia Loubser – on a new dance work that incorporates spoken word in four languages.
Let me give you a background on what we’re up to….Sanspointe began a collaboration with Birmingham Museum of Art only a few weeks ago to present Kinetic Canvas: A Dance Installation at the Museum. In addition to that 40-minute performance, featuring five site-specific collaborative dance works on October 16th, Sanspointe was invited to create a work inspired by the UAB 2010 Discussion Book, Outcasts United, by Birmingham’s own Warren St. John.
On August 24th Sanspointe will perform this work for UAB students, faculty and staff who have been invited to read Outcasts United and view the artwork, Mpanqui, Jimaqua (Brotherhood, Twins) by Cuban artist José Bedia. The artwork was selected by Museum staff to complement the book as it reflects many of the book’s themes.
When we were invited to make this work, I got really excited about it because I had recently read the book. I immediately thought of a dance that Michelle choreographed in college called “Babel,” in which four dancers with four different native languages spoke and danced together. I called Michelle, and we decided to take that idea and make it anew. We put out a call to friends as we looked for three people whose native language wasn’t English and who would be open to working on this performance piece with us.
Michelle and I met several times this past week to create the structure for our dance, using original text that Michelle wrote almost 10 years ago when she was in college. Today, at our first rehearsal, we met the dancers for the first time.
This new work will be performed for the public in Sanspointe’s Kinetic Canvas: A Dance Installation at Birmingham Museum of Art on Saturday, October 16th at 1:00 and 3:00. The performance is free to attend.
More information about the book Outcasts United and the Fugees…
“Outcasts United is the story of a team of refugee boys, the remarkable woman who coaches them, and the town where they live, a once-sleepy southern hamlet that has been upended by the process of refugee resettlement. It’s a story about the challenges posed by our quickly changing world, and one that reminds us of what is possible in this country when we put our values in action. Outcasts United is the story of what happened when these three disparate elements — a town, a team and a coach — came together in a kind of impromptu social experiment. It’s a book about resilience in the face of extraordinary hardship, the power of one person to make a difference and the daunting challenge of creating community in a place where people seem to have so little in common.”