DanceForce Member: Cynthia Williams
Artist: Edisa Weeks
Community Partners: Boys and Girls Club, Geneva; Geneva Public Library; Hobart & William Smith Colleges Dance Department, Geneva; Hobart & William Smith Colleges Inter Cultural Affairs Office, Geneva
The goal of the Edisa Weeks Three Rites project was threefold: provide creative time for Weeks and her company, Delirious Dances to work on the “Life” section of “Three Rites” in August, 2019; host a teaching residency for Weeks at HWS Colleges, including a Roots Party in October, 2019, and present a performance of “Liberty” in Geneva in March 2020. These residencies provided the opportunity for significant community outreach, introducing Weeks to Colleges and community members including managing director of the Cracker Factory, Geneva Public Library, Inter Cultural Affairs staff, Hobart College Dean, members of the Ontario County Justice Coalition, the Provost and Dean of Faculty, Director of the Colleges CTL, Sustainability Office, and town supervisors.
Participating artists (August 2019): Edisa Weeks, Johnnie Mercer, Devin Oshiro, Emma Grace Skove-Epes and J’Nae Simmons. Planning for these three phases of the project included several Zoom meetings and/or phone calls with Weeks, company manager Marya Wethers; planning for the fall residency and spring performance involved additional Colleges’ and community members, including faculty, staff, and students at HWS Colleges, multiple people in the Geneva community, and Weeks’ lighting designer.
August 1-11: Creative time residency with her company. The company stayed at a large house near campus where they could cook communal meals, spend time together, walk by the lake, and sit outside on the porches and patios. They were hosted by DanceForce member Cynthia Williams at her house for a final meal.
Weeks met many people on campus and in the community and looked at several potential “Liberty” performance sites and Roots Party sites. The company performed a Works in Process Showing of “Life” in Studio 104. The studio was transformed, with drawing paper and a mural on the south side, dancers using the space long-ways, drawing paper and quotations on the floor, and invitations to the audience to draw on the partially completed mural.
October 7-10, 2019 Residency: Weeks met with El Morro Restaurant & Catering regarding Roots Party menus. Weeks met with an Africana Studies class The Black Atlantic and participated in HWS Impact, organized by the Social Justice Coalition with HWS student speakers and 60+ faculty, staff, and students, in small group dialogues and community interaction.
Weeks taped an interview for WEOS radio station and its Rochester affiliate, WXXI. She conducted a workshop at the InterCultural Affairs Office, attended by HWS students and faculty/staff.
Weeks taught a Dance workshop, performing a new solo, holding a discussion, and teaching Afro/Caribbean movement. A second workshop was for a Theatre History course.
Edisa met with Africana Studies 310 Black Images/White Myths, and performed the new solo for them and led a discussion on Black artists and performers. That evening was the Roots Party at the Geneva Public Library with guest speakers from Food Justice of Geneva; translation was available.
The March, 2020 performance of “Liberty” was cancelled when HWS Colleges and NY State went on pause due to Covid 19.