RITUAL GUMBO: A PASSAGE
2012 - PRESENT
AVAILABLE FOR TOURING
Ritual Gumbo: A Passage is an embodied act of revisionism that unfolds as an inter- and multidisciplinary project that disrupts the practice of erasing the past. It is a project that shines a light on representation through re-bodying our silenced stories, people, and places. Ritual Gumbo: A Passage is a genealogical dive and archaeological dig that will result in multiple media outcomes. Through Ritual Gumbo, Wilkins exposes a tarnished and turbulent American history to resuscitate the people who survived the slave trade, floods, and lost rituals. Their perseverance and resilience offer hope for a different future. Ritual Gumbo becomes a vehicle for remembering that our “American” identity is one that is shaped by hybridity, resilience, and co-existence. This project reflects how complex we are, and how home is where our path begins for a less blemished future.
The choreographic trilogy, resulting from a multi-year creative research process, is a project that explore how embodied practices can interrogate issues of race, culture, and inclusivity. Wilkins created two evening-length intermedia solo projects: "/CLOSE/R" (fall 2012 premiere) and "A Bon Coeur: Pages From A Journal" (fall 2018 premiere), works that move from the self to environments that influence cultural identity. In the making of "Kanaval" (2022 anticipated premiere), the culmination of this trilogy, Wilkins draws connections between his upbringing in Lafayette, Louisiana and Haitian Creole heritage in order to diminish barriers between cultures, and to expand possibilities for Black men in America. Through this work he shows how embodied narratives can bring us closer together by allowing his bodily actions, blood memories, and Creole heritage to guide the process as well as the performances. Given the current divisiveness in our political and social spheres, this project offers hope and respite. By allowing for self-reflection and vulnerability, this trilogy of works opens a place where audience members and performers together imagine a sense of belonging in time, space, and place. In its entirety, the trilogy invites us to reconnect to the importance of embracing, honoring, and celebrating difference.
This work emerges from a place of fear and flight. In this evening-length solo project Wilkins exposes his naked truth through a process of shedding. /CLOSE/R marks a departure from his past works for his all-male EDGEWORKS Dance Theater by returning to the solo form. Inspired in part by notions of what is uncomfortable, he navigates his way from questions to statements while exploring newfound personal realizations of dance. This piece fuses lighting design, video technology, movement, and text through the subtle intimacy of humor. This project was made possible in part by the D C Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This work is without intermission.
“This is exhilarating conceptual work.” (Wallace Chappell, The Gazette/Hoopla)