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Diasporic Bodies, Grounding Freedom: The black/African Dancing Body, Restoration, and Activism with Lela Aisha Jones

Join us for a talk and discussion with Lela Aisha Jones
Monday, March 20th
7:10 to 8:15pm     Goodhart Music Room

Lela is an ABD candidate in Dance at Texas Women’s University and is a candidate here for the Consortium on Faculty Diversity fellowship. She is also an active artist and an artist activist who intertwines personal history, diasporic movement, social commentary, and interdisciplinary methods, drawing from, in her words, “the individual and collective lived experiences of blackness.” In the Fall, Lela took her work to the streets as an initiator and the lead organizer for marches and social actions through Dancing for Justice Philadelphia in solidarity with the movement concerning Black lives. More recently, Lela spent several weeks in South Africa teaching and performing with the Same Story Different Countries Project directed by Dr. Lynnette Overby at the University of Delaware and in New Zealand where she worked with artist & scholar Ojeya Cruz Banks exploring embodiment ideas around race, land, and diaspora.

Lela is the founder of FlyGround, her creative home where, in solo and in collaboration, she cultivates her diasporic movement practice and artistry.  Her recent work includes Native Portals: Release Mourning Clearing (2016). Jones says this work “unravels and reinterprets black diasporic experiences of activism, witnessing, testifying, and restoration to investigate processing continual cycles of trauma.  She will be co-presenting Lynching and Love, March 16th at the Painted Bride, which will show a documentary film by Megan Bridge chronicling her correspondence with Lela, interweaving that with Bridge’s responses to Jones and company’s performance of the work. This will be followed by two nights of performances of The body Wails/The Body Restores by Lela and Vershawn Sanders Ward, a work that weaves contemporary reflections on the race, womanhood, trauma, history, and their various intersections. There will be a pre-show reception with the artists at 5pm on the 18th and pre-show talks by Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild on both evenings. Lela is a 2016 PEW fellow 2015 Leeway Foundation Transformation awardee, an artist in residence at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia, an incubated artist at Headlong Dance Theater, and a recipient of a 2013 Dance/USA Philadelphia Rocky Award. She received her MFA in dance from Florida State University. In addition to the awards and honors listed above, Lela is also a member of the inaugural 2015 Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellows designed by leaders at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in NYC.

Posted in EVENTS.