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A Jam Session For Troubling Times


Created during an unprecedented time and what feels unpredictable, A Jam Session for Troubling Times provides gilded comfort and optimism as each movement is performed with high energy and supported by the cheering and noise from others. It is choreographed as a piece with seven performers, each taking turns and picking up the last movement, bringing their knowledge and empathy of dance. At first, the music is prominent and seems to be the guiding force, but it quickly fades as the repetitive sound struggles to keep up with the moves. There is an established code, an unspoken set of rules that each performer showcases themselves for an equal amount of time, and others that relate to their position and queue. The performance allows us to witness a correlation in dance to how many situations prevail in society: the dancer’s signals through body movement, gesture, and posture engage instantly to be more familiar in context. The unity and support of one another help the group expand on complicated movements that defy the monotonous rhythm. A society going through a troubling time within a set of boundaries, props, and time only engages viewers to interact with the people themselves and imagine their next moves or what they cannot see them doing. A Jam Session suggests that if a setting was emptied of its white oligarchy during the pandemic, Blackness could become less performative and still retain agency while critiquing the essentialist notions of identity. Yet, it is not until performativity is codded through drawing that it uncovers more than an instruction manual for replication; it is through these terms of race, class, gender, and ethnicity that help us understand analytical drawings in and of themselves and how they inflect our neighborhoods, streets, and persons.

Alvin Ailey Performance

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