THE CONVERSATION SERIES:
STITCHING THE GEOPOLITICAL QUILT TO RE-BODY BELONGING
how can we get the world that we deserve? one that can work for everyone?
how can we hold ourselves and each other accountable to create a better sense for belonging?
how does our relationship to time and the exploration of it allow us to reconsider or navigate working across difference?
"It was about getting people to listen. To really listen and hear, and then to open their eyes to a different story – a true story – different from the one they always thought to be the case. And in listening and hearing, starting to feel the pain that other people have felt for years, and being willing to acknowledge that pain and change their position. ....Again, thank you for coming to this space in particular to show what can happen if we as a community engage in doing those kinds of things. Thank you so much!"
*Transcription–Reflection post Choreographic Ritual presentation in Lafayette, LA June 2022 at site where the confederate General Mouton statue was removed.
Ms. Ola Prejean, MTM Vice President/Co-Liaison
about the work
This work is a dance-based geopolitical “quilt”, stitching together uncertain relentless trajectories by centering belonging to disrupt the erasure of silenced stories.
An inter- and multimedia, multi-year work that activates technologies of the body, tools, and toys to build paths in a non-colonizing fashion towards justice and equitable landscapes.
This collaborative, immersive work, performed by two men with different racial and cultural backgrounds, preferences the value of bodies coexisting – sharing weight and responsibility, dancing to become better ancestors. As Wilkins travel to make and share this work, he will stitch together a dance-quilt to broaden our understandings of what it means to be American and sew ourselves together anew.
The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging is an ongoing and always shifting dance-quilt, confronting and celebrating heritage, resilience, justice, and hope. The multi-year work will require Wilkins travel to all 50 U.S. states/D.C./5 inhabited territories and realize four specific media outcomes:
Choreographic works will be developed that connect dance-quilt patches created in and with intergenerational community members in a non-colonizing fashion. When sewn together these quilts will present as informal community rituals in site-specific, public spaces and formal performances.
A digital humanities living archive will be developed exposing multi-sensory experiences of belonging that course corrects American history.
A documentary film that examines a perspective of a nation’s soul through the performer’s perseverance and resilience in working together toward a different future will be developed.
Finally, Wilkins will create a toykit (a toolkit implies a need to fix, a toykit represents an invitation to co-create and participate in a process of uniting and healing) for community-based embodied diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice work. This toykit can be used by other artists across the country to continue the process of manifesting a more socially just America at the heart of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging.
What does it mean to be american and sew ourselves together anew?
Choreographic Rituals: FREE, site-based presentations that are part dance, performance art, and mediation.
Conversation Series Events
- Mon, Oct 16Acadiana Center for the ArtsOct 16, 9:00 AM CDT – Oct 27, 8:00 PM CDTAcadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W Vermilion St, Lafayette, LA 70501, USAResidency as part of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging which may include workshops, conversations, and community engagement, with a performance on Thurs Oct 26, 2023 at 7:30pm.
- Wed, Feb 15St Olaf CollegeFeb 15, 9:00 AM – Feb 18, 12:00 PMSt Olaf College, Northfield, MN 55057, USA
- Mon, Jan 16Red Line Contemporary Art CenterJan 16, 4:00 PM – Jan 17, 6:00 PMRed Line Contemporary Art Center, 2350 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80205, USARedLine presents choreographer, performance artist, and artivist (artist-activist) Helanius J. Wilkins in conversation with Atlanta-based writer, Black power advocate, and community organizer John Burl Smith for a FREE community event that honors and celebrates the Martin L. King Jr. holiday.
- Sat, Oct 15Dance InitiativeOct 15, 2022, 7:00 PM – Oct 17, 2022, 7:00 PMDance Initiative, 76 S 4th St, Carbondale, CO 81623, USAOverview of The Conversation Series.
- Wed, Jun 22LafayetteLafayette, CO Arts & Cultural Resources Dept. / The Collective Community Arts Center Artist ResidencyJun 22, 2022, 7:00 PM – Jun 26, 2022, 7:00 PMLafayette, Lafayette, CO, USAArtist residency with Helanius J. Wilkins (Dancer/Choreographer /Educator) and duet-partner A. Ryder Turner (Dancer/Community-Engagements Co-Facilitator).
DANCE, HUMANITIES & SOCIAL CHANGE ADVISORY TEAM
Dr. James Fraizer (Dean & Professor of Dance, College of Fine Arts School of Dance, Florida State University, FL)
Dr. Kate Mattingly (Lead Advisor) (Assistant Professor of Dance, Old Dominion University, VA)
Paloma McGregor (Founder Dancing While Black and Co-Founder Angela’s Pulse, NYC)
Ysatiz Piñero (Director for Education & Social Change for CU Boulder's Center for Inclusion and Social Change in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement, CO)
Amy Smith (Economic Justice Consultant, PA)
Dr. Marissa Volpe (Chief of Equity & Engagement, History Colorado, CO)
Concept & Direction Helanius J. Wilkins
Choreography Helanius J. Wilkins (Movement vocabulary created in collaboration with dance partners)
Performance, Community Engagement Co-facilitation A. Ryder Turner (2020 - 2023)
Performance, Community Engagement Co-facilitation Brandon Welch (2023 - present)
Original Sound Score Composition, Arrangement, & Performance Andy Hasenpflug
Screendance Cinematography/Original Sound Score Composition & Performance Watcheye Studios l Carlos D. Flores
Dramaturgy elle hong
Technical Direction, Lighting Design & Set Design Iain Court
Technical Direction, Video Content Creation & Editing for Stage Production Roma Flowers
Technology Design & Programming (interactive technology) Peter Gyory
Costume Design Jasmine Lewis (Jasmine Lewis Design)
Additional Collaborators to be announced.
The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Redline Contemporary Art Center in partnership with CSPS Legion Arts, Dance Place, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information, visit www.npnweb.org.
The development of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging was made possible in part by the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron).
Funding for this work is made possible in part through an Arts in Society grant, a collaborative grant-making program that fosters cross-sector work through the arts by supporting the integration of arts and culture into multiple disciplines critical to the healt and well-being of Coloradans. The Program, which is administered by RedLine Contemporary Art Center, is funded by a cohort of Colorado foundations including Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado Health Foundation, and Denver Arts & Venues.
Funding for this work is made possible in part through a Center for Humanities & the Arts (CHA) Small Grant award from the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as in part through an FY 2022 Research & Innovation Seed Grant from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Helanius J. Wilkins is a Boulder County Arts Alliance (BCAA) 2021 Boulder County Arts Recovery grant recipient. Support was made available to address continued sustainability needs during COVID-19 and in support of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging.
Funding for this work is made possible in part through a Colorado Creates Creative Corps ARP Grant. The Colorado Creative Corps ARP grant is made possible by the Colorado Creative Industries with support by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Helanius J. Wilkins is a 2021 NDP Finalist Grant Award recipient. Support was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to address continued sustainability needs during COVID-19 and in support of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging.
This work is made possible in part by the Croft Residency, an organization that hosted a fall 2021 RADicle creative development residency in Michigan. RADicle residency, the name of the program, is the result of a partnership between the Croft Residency and RAD Fest.
This work is made possible in part by The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver, an organization that hosted a summer 2021 creative development residency.
This work is made possible through the generous support of contributions made by individual donors.