Obeah initiates from the residue of a work by a similar title, A Black Ritual (Obeah), conceived in 1940 by Agnes De Mille. In this capstone work to González’s research on grief, sound artist Rena Anakwe and performer Katrina Reid facilitate an unfolding speculative fiction set within a cosmic body of water. The duet forms as an allegiance, a sisterhood, and cypher between sound and body conjuring transformations in associations to one another and the audience.
Elaborating on the mythologies of Obeah women – sorceresses residing at the depths of the ocean found in the spiritual folklore of the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora – the phenomenological workings of the feminine element of water becomes a site for contemplation on death. Obeah reifies ritual as that which is mystic and superstitious to illuminate the Piscean capacities of grief and the rigor in mourning collectively.
Jonathan González is a choreographer initiating questions of/from the body alongside composing sound and design for performance. They work have been shown at MINKA (BAX/Submerge), Danspace Project (Zero), NYLA (Fresh Tracks), The Current Sessions (wild project), Center for Performance Research (NViLP), JACK, The Loisaida Center, Project Reach, MakeTheRoadNY and El Museo Del Barrio (The Possibility Project). They are currently an adjunct faculty member teaching Dance History at Queensborough College, and performer with Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana, 2000) at MoMA. They have been a Diebold Award Recipient for Distinction in Choreography & Performance, Dancing While Black Fellow (BAX/Angela’s Pulse) guest-artist curator for Knockdown Center’s Sunday Service, and co-curator for Movement Research’s Fall Festival invisible material Trinity College (POSSE Scholar); Trinity Laban; Sarah Lawrence College (MFA). They are based in their hometown of Queens, New York.
Rena Anakwe, is an interdisciplinary artist and performer, working primarily with sound, visuals, and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality and performance she creates works focused on sensory-based, experiential interactions using technology. A member of the artistic collective NON Worldwide, she is based in Brooklyn, New York by way of Nigeria and Canada. Rena is a graduate of: the Interactive Telecommunications Program (iTP) at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (MPS), The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University (MFA) and New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business (BS.) She has collaborated, produced and shown audio/visual work at: MAD Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), TCC Chicago (CHI), Knockdown Center (NYC), NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1(NYC), Les Nubians ‘Up Close & Personal’ Tour (VARIOUS), The Tank (NYC), CTM Festival (GER), the Museum of the Moving Image (NYC), Europe’s Capital of Culture in Turku (FI.)
Katrina Reid is a performing artist and writer. She collaborates with a range of artists who are exploring performance at the center and edges of dance, theater, and ritual. Her own work has been presented as part of the 2016/2017 Dancing While Black/BAX Fellowship, the Current Sessions, Gibney Dance’s Double Plus series, Cocoon Theatre, Studio 26 Gallery, and BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival continues to support La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles that challenge audience’s perception of dance by featuring performance/installations, experimental film screenings & public symposiums which address dance artists’ engagement with the current political climate, as well as honoring diasporic histories and legacy, ancestral inspirations and inter-generational dialogue.