BlackLight is a performance ethnography project. We utilize the creativity and critical insight of a multigenerational group of women to reimagine the possibilities for living in under-resourced urban environments.
In the fall of 2009, the members of BlackLight visited a group of dance majors at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ to conduct a dance/movement workshop with the university students. This was one of the first opportunities the BlackLight women had to organize and facilitate a workshop with another group of dancers.
Beginning with a series of short discussions and writing sessions, the young women organized a number of short movement pieces based upon collaborative writing and movement work. Each participant would write a few lines based on a discussion topic — such as, for example, thinking about what love and fear mean — and share with another participant who would attempt to ‘translate’ the words into a movement.
The piece began with one speaker reading aloud the words of a fellow participant while another participant dances a movement inspired by the written work being read aloud. After finishing one cycle of reading and movement, another dancer joins in with her specific movement derived from another writing-dance collaboration.
After the new dancer completes a cycles with the first dancer and the reader, another young woman joins in. Than another, and another, until the entire workshop is integrated into the piece. This semi-structured, flowing, dancing body reflects the BlackLight’s approach to integrating a diversity of experiences and dancing styles into a collective expression piece. Similar facilitation and creative methods continues to be used in subsequent workshops the group has conducted since.
The final result of this 3 hour workshop is the movement piece below.