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Kyle Marshall Choreography at Judson Church, November 20, 2017.

Year: 2019-2020
DanceForce Member: Elena Mosley
Partnering Member: Ivan Sygoda
Artists: Kyle Marshall, Marcus McGregor
Community Partners: Hudson Hall; JD Urban Photography; Marathon Digital
Audience: 779
County: Columbia

Kuumba Dance and Drum proposed a 4-day residency in Hudson, NY with 2018 Bessie Award artist Kyle Marshall and Company from June 10-June 13, 2020. Plans for this residency to develop Kyle’s evening work “Reign” and world activities were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not understanding the full impact on human life, we planned for an in-person performance at the Hudson Riverfront Park. To our dismay, the pandemic ruled that out, as dancers and the rest of the world were not rehearsing or meeting face to face. The Kyle Marshall Project was reinvented, once again, to include an online artist interview by former dancer of Dance Theater of Harlem Marcus McGregor, coupled with a showing of “Colored”. Kyle’s social media presence immediately took in 500 views.

With no opportunities for the company to rehearse and develop “Reign”, Kyle and I met with DanceForce Director Curt Steinzor to develop a new project. Kyle was open to creating a video to document solo or company work and the impact of COVID-19. Kyle worked with his company abiding by the pandemic restrictions to create “Hudson”. Each member rehearsed in solo for their part and then the choreography was molded together by Kyle. Dance artists included Oluwadamilare Ayroinde, Bria Bacon, Miriam Gabriel, Kyle Marshall and Myssi Robinson along with music by Kwami Winfield. “Hudson “was to be shown as a separate screening in December at Hudson Hall. Again, threats of a second surge in the pandemic emerged throughout the holidays, leaving performance theaters and venues closed to the public.

To continue the project, we moved the event to an online format during the week of December 28 via Hudson Hall, and “Hudson” was seen on both Operation Unite NY and Hudson Hall’s websites during the Annual Kwanzaa Celebration. In addition, we included “Hudson” as a sneak preview as part of Operation Unite NY’s Gala on December 19th and an encore performance of the event this past January 2021. Kyle Marshall’s choreographer information was shared with viewers, giving access to Kyle’s ongoing work via his website. Analytics of “Hudson” showed 500 viewers of the interview and “Colored” performance on Facebook. When shown as a “Sneak Preview” on December 19th by Operation Unite NY, there were 79 viewers of “Hudson” performance video. There were 107 viewers on Operation Unite NY’s Facebook and 88 viewers from December 28 until January 31, 2021 on the Hudson Hall website. Unfortunately, the ability to collect analytics was not a function of the Operation Unite NY website. The ability to collect analytics has now been added.

This was a unique experience. DanceForce Member Ivan Sygoda partnered with us in meetings and financial support to make this project happen. In 2019, DanceForce Direct Curt Steinzor granted support for Kyle and company members to pre-visit Hudson. Hudson Hall remained a partner throughout the project, switching from venue/event partner to virtual collaborator.

The Hudson Area Library was closed to the public and the company could not meet to hold the community workshop. However, they are open to hosting Kyle for future events. General Manager Sage Carter of Hudson Hall was an outstanding partner to assist with anything needed and came into work to upload Kyle’s work into our daily program. In addition, Hudson Hall was happy to host Kyle’s “Hudson” and give patrons online access, during a time during which no other programming was planned.