Organizing for health and justice through performance and community collaboration.

Dancing Earth, Sky, Skin (and race and grace ...)

Added on by Marie Garlock.

So, some friends asked what it felt like to dance with the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) -- my growing-up heroes, with whom I have been a lucky, lucky {!!} apprentice over the last year -- in our festival performance on July 4. They also asked for the Letter to the Editor I wrote responding to news coverage of the event, on behalf of some pressing questions re: race and representation in media (it matters!). They're both below. 

 

Reply on Dancing with AADE - 

Sent this to a friend who asked the same :) (and in person to the loves of my life in the audience, and ethereally to my mom Barbara, who was SO there!)

 

Well, beyond my thanks that I didn't black out from nervousness :) .......

 

It felt like being lifted up in the bosom of the summer breeze,

in all its welcome power and oomph-reminder

to Love ....to LOVE Be-ing. 

 .... Felt like getting infused with light that shines out!, from a much larger source than we can fathom. 

Getting to be with life-heroes for life-dreaming, led by beloved mentors

to share cultural wisdom from the African continent, which all of us in America (and beyond) can so urgently benefit from! 

Felt like warmth from white-yellow sun rays that peek through the cycles of clouds,

the nourishment and sweeping clean, the creation of all that is.

Felt the ancestors and the young ones (!) dancing with us, in every realm,

the earth heaving up and the sky bellowing down to the rhythms,

and it felt like gratitude embodied in every cell 🌳💙🌐⛅️☀️🌍🌕🌖🌗🌓🌔🌕🎆

Beloved people and teachers' love, weaving into every iota

 


Here's the N & O Gallery (FIRST LOOK ENO RIVER FESTIVAL - BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS) of all the full AADE company, dancing in an audience workshop, the Peace Dance (with Elders), and Manjani Bow, for the ENO RIVER FESTIVAL 7/4/14 (scroll to pics #30-#55, beginning with our Griotte for the day, the honorable & luminescent Shaliah Haith, in glowing yellow, or see this more brief gallery below)

....What a delight it was to receive a picture of longtime friend and collaborator Graciela Seila and I dancing together (an image touching some portion of the energy and love that day) as published in the N&O paper, the next morning. .... and then what a drop of heart to hear that it was the ONLY photo published. DANG! There's such GLADNESS in this photograph .... AND!, can we get some representation of people of all colors, particularly given that it's the African American Dance Ensemble? Read Below. (Online writing is for publishing what papers won't, right? :) )

So here's the letter to the N&O Editorial Board -- would love to know your thoughts, dear people .... <3 

 

REPRESENTATION MATTERS, JULY 7, 2014

What complete joy to be in Sarah Shaw’s “Festival for the Eno” photo, July 5. But, as a dancer with whiter skin, I’m the only one pictured from the African American Dance Ensemble’s performance (the company's otherwise mentors of African-American, African, Caribbean descent). Perhaps a second photo for context is appropriate! Racial justice means showing the fullest picture, noticing who gets welcomed into which spaces, and taking stock of the effects. In the photo I'm dancing (and apprenticing) with unending gratitude to mentor Dr. Chuck Davis, A.D. Toni Hall, and all teachers in AADE. It's powerful to experience African-American stewardship of African cultural wisdom in the US, as knowledge-sharing urgent for all Americans — people from every neighborhood are encouraged to become “emissaries of peace, love, and respect for everybody”, especially for our elders, earth, and ancestors. Showing brown, black, and white together is especially important at a festival to treasure/protect NC watersheds (people of color are first affected by pollution); one where global diaspora and “down home” art forms join. A picture says 1,000 words: so may we see unity not through “color-blinders" but instead based on the boundless, rigorous, loving respect our diversity requires of us all.

-- Marie Garlock, Hillsborough, NC