DanceForce Member: D. Chase Angier
Artist: Cameron McKinney
Community Partners: Alfred University, Alfred University Performing Arts Division, Alfred University School of Art and Design, Marlin Miller Dance Residency Program
NYSCA / DanceForce, in partnership with D. Chase Angier, The Marlin Miller Dance Residency Program, The School of Art and Design + Performing Arts Division / Dance Department at Alfred University, was proud to present On the Rise: Young Choreographers of Color curated by Cameron McKinney. On the Rise, presented September 11, 2020, was a filmed program of virtual dance works, curated to highlight the artistic perspectives of five choreographers: Kayla Farrish, Cameron McKinney, Brother(hood) Dance! (Orlando Hunter and Ricarrdo Valentine), and Kameron Saunders. Each of them collaborated with filmmaker Cayla Mae Simpson. Collectively, these artists have presented work around the world and have performed for internationally renowned dance companies. Appreciative and full socially distanced live audiences were able to watch six screenings of this film at three different locations on the Alfred University campus – The Miller Performing Arts Center, the McGee Pavilion and The Alfred Village Bandstand. The screens were made in-house by the Performance Design and Technology Department at AU. Each site was designed for 25 audience members outside sitting at least six feet apart. The space was enclosed with white stakes and a rope with an entrance. McKinney also taught a dynamic zoom masterclass to AU students and faculty, and there was a vibrant post performance public talk-back that included the artists, AU students, faculty and administrators, and AU community members.
by Cameron McKinney
On the Rise: Young Choreographers of Color is a program of virtual dance works, curated to highlight the artistic perspectives of five Black choreographers and provide an avenue for them to explore their crafts without judgment or restrictions. Collectively, these artists have presented work around the world and have performed for internationally renowned dance companies. Themes that are often present in these artists’ bodies of work include expressions of same-gender love, the preservation of streetdance culture, rebellion, and the unbridled physicality of youth. When the experiences of these emerging choreographers are presented alongside each other, they create a thrilling evening of dance film that promises insights into intimacy, sociopolitical injustices, and hyperphysical research. Each choreographer was given the month of August to create either a solo or a duet, and then given a three-hour time slot to have their works filmed by a professional videographer.
On a personal note, the selected artists are creators I have held in high regard as I have watched them forge their own paths alongside me in New York and beyond. I met each of them at different stages of my own dance journey – during my early dance training at Bates Dance Festival, while dancing for professional companies, or by having them perform in one of my choreographic works. While the world continues to remind us of the myriad of ways that the prominence of Black people is discouraged, what is important to me is that these artists’ voices are elevated and not stifled. I know from witnessing their work that art is their means of spiritual maintenance and of resilience in troubling times – and is emblematic of their continued rise to excellence.