#DignityInProcess: North | South

Saturday, August 22nd at Café Istanbul – 2372 St. Claude Avenue, in the New Orleans Healing Center
Doors open at 6:00pm and close at 6:30pm.
Suggested Donation: $10 – $20

Multidisciplinary artist/activist, and Press Street Artist-in-Residence, ChE brings ritual, dance and Mixed Race storytelling to New Orleans through #DignityInProcess!

#DignityInProcess is a platform for Black leadership development that utilizes embodied ritual practices, participatory art, and creative space-making to steward Black leaders as they create new pathways to sustainable living. Disrupting culturally dominant narratives of endurance and sustainability—particularly pertaining to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, this multidisciplinary performance series uses dance, spoken word, ritual, and storytelling for public intervention. MIX’d community workshops and performances examine alternative routes of identity formation, highlighting the multidimensional stories of Mixed Race people of the African Diaspora. Challenging historically held beliefs of what makes a committed activist—artist/ choreographer, ChE examines “burnout” from a Black/Native American cultural lens. They draw upon the practices that have sourced the resilience of their ancestors for generations—movement, song, celebration, and spiritual ceremony to inspire and fortify a community that continues to evolve, resist, and regenerate beyond oppressive circumstances.

North | South, #DignityInProcess
Part of #DignityInProcess, a series of interactive installations and performances utilizing ancestral ceremony, connection to the natural elements, and original choreography to examine how exhaustion and endurance shape Afro-diasporic activism. How does trauma manifest in the Black body as we struggle with an innate knowing that our liberation cannot be divorced from the earth? Black evolution emerges as we challenge structures that deplete natural resources even while being pressed against historical wounds that relate land with physical extortion. Recognizing a cultural reference of freedom being found in migration to the industrial North, we ask our collective body to remember it’s roots in red ancestral soil. Movement shaped through the writings and storytelling passed down from elder/ wisdom keeper, Margaret Benson Thompson; bodies sweat, feet pound, and tongues pray in this Afro-futurist ritual of rhythm and soul. This performance piece travels to the North (New York) as well as the South (New Orleans) summer of 2015 and evolves through community participation.

About the Artist
ChE (gender pronoun – “they, them, their”) uses the power of ancestral practices, arts-based community engagement, and interdisciplinary collaboration to build collective resiliency and sustainable models of living. As a director/ choreographer, ChE’s work is robust with gospel soul sounds and dances of the Diaspora that leave feet stomping and hands clapping—fusing Contemporary Modern, Afro-house, Congolese, Haitian, and Brazilian movement. A recipient of the 2011 University of California Irwin Award for artistic excellence, ChE creates spaces where the cultural relevance of art practice are deepened. They have directed and performed original work as an Artist in Residence at Big Sur Spirit Garden and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Co-founder of Black Folks House and The MOVEMENT, they are passionate about integrating arts and healing as a practice of embodied activism. Currently, ChE introduces their platform #DignityInProcess as an opportunity for multi-generational, Black-identified change makers to develop a movement centered on empowerment, healing, and interdependence.

To contact ChE for performance opportunities, or to book art/ movement-based workshops that examine the intersections of race, gender, and class- contact Chelsea.elisabeth.w@gmail.com.

#DignityInProcess is made possible with support from the New Orleans Loving Festival, Cafe Istanbul, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Congo Square Preservation Society, Press Street’s Antenna Gallery, Gulf Coast Rising, the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundationwww.myheartsleeve.com and Dancing Grounds.