Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

Choreographers in Place: Secrets of Process

Reggie Wilson in Conversation with Nora Chipaumire, Jeanine Durning, Eiko Otake, and Okwui Okpokwasili

By - Aug 25th, 2020 05:58 pm

CHOREOGRAPHERS IN PLACE: SECRETS OF PROCESS, a co-presentation of the Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI). and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group (Brooklyn, NY), is a series of four virtual conversations featuring choreographer and Lynden artist-in-residence Reggie Wilson. Wilson has invited Nora Chipaumire, Jeanine Durning, Okwui Okpokwasili, and Eiko Otake—four choreographers who have presented work and/or performed at the sculpture garden—to talk with him individually about choreography and place.

CHOREOGRAPHERS IN PLACE launches on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 6 pm CT/7 pm EST with a screening of Wilson’s conversation with Nora Chipaumire. A new video will be released each Wednesday evening: Jeanine Durning on September 2, Eiko Otake on September 9, and Okwui Okpokwasili on September 16. Each of these conversations will be preceded by a screening of Wilson’s CITIZEN:MKE, a work he recreated for performance at Lynden in 2018. Wilson spoke with each choreographer from a different location at Lynden, and they joined him from their homes in Brooklyn, Newburgh, NY, or—in the case of Eiko Otake—her mother’s garden in Japan. The conversations will remain online following the screenings.

For further information and to view each screening:

Reggie Wilson, a Milwaukee native based in Brooklyn, NY, has been an artist-in-residence at the Lynden for six years. The Lynden operates as a laboratory for artists, and Wilson has been engaged in a multi-year process of remaking works for performance in response to the Lynden’s particular conditions: MOSES(ES) in 2015; CITIZEN in 2018; and POWER next.. Wilson engages the landscape, the collection, and the community–who perform in these works–and then reflects on how this process impacts his choreographic decision-making. In non-performance years, Wilson devotes time to research, some of which has focused on exploring his relationship—and the relationship of the guests he brings here during his residencies—to the city of his birth.

Unable to invite guests to join him during his 2020 research residency, Wilson considered ways to connect those at a distance with his work and with the Lynden. Wilson’s work is embedded within a larger, cumulative project, CALL & RESPONSE, that gathers a community of artists who share a commitment to the radical Black imagination as a means to re-examine the past and imagine a better future. In conversations between Wilson and Lynden’s executive director, Polly Morris, an idea for a new call emerged: conversations between Wilson and other choreographers who had confronted the challenges of performing at the Lynden—40 acres of park, pond, and woodland with a collection of more than 50 modernist sculptures and contemporary installations, but no traditional performance space. These conversations revolve around place, with a particular emphasis on two places: Milwaukee and the Lynden. Both Wilson and Morris were interested in the dialogue between place—physical, spiritual, memorial–and choreography, and the ways in which adapting to place, and solving the problems place throws up, contributes to a resilient choreographic practice.

CHOREOGRAPHERS IN PLACE, and the Call & Response programming of which it is a part, is supported by the Brico Fund, the Chipstone Foundation, and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 6 pm: Nora Chipaumire
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 6 pm: Jeanine Durning
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 6 pm: Eiko Otake
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 6 pm: Okwui Okpokwasili

About the Artists
Reggie Wilson

Reggie Wilson is Executive and Artistic Director, Choreographer and Performer of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. His work draws from the cultures of Africans in the Americas and is combined with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he sometimes refers to as “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.” He has lectured, taught and conducted workshops and community projects, and had his work presented nationally and internationally. Wilson is a recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance’s McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001), is a 2002 BESSIE recipient, and is a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Wilson has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project, a Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop, and in recognition of his creative contributions to the field, was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow, as well as being a recipient of the 2009 Herb Alpert Award in Dance. In 2012 he was named a Wesleyan University’s Creative Campus Fellow, received an inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and received the 2012 Joyce Foundation Award for his successful work Moses(es) which premiered in 2013. His critically acclaimed work CITIZEN, premiered 2016 (FringeArts – World; BAM NextWave 2016 – NYC); both works continue to tour. Most recently, Wilson was curator of Danspace Project’s Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance (Platform 2018) and created the commissioned work “…they stood shaking while others began to shout” specifically for the space at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Most recently, he curated Grounds That Shout! (and others merely shaking), a series of performances in Philadelphia’s historic sacred spaces. His newest full-evening work, POWER premiered in 2019.

Nora Chipaumire
Nora Chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (Mutare, Zimbabwe). She is a product of colonial education for Africans–known as group B schooling. She has pursued other studies at the University of Zimbabwe (law) and Mills College, Oakland, CA (dance).

Nora Chipaumire sited her performance of Miriam, on July 13, 2013, in Lynden’s “dump”—an outdoor storage yard filled with building materials and machinery. This was a co-presentation with Alverno Presents.

Jeanine Durning
Jeanine Durning is an Alpert Award winning choreographer and performer, from New York, whose work has been described by The New Yorker as having both “the potential for philosophical revelation and theatrical disaster.” Her research concerns the interrogation of the body as a mobilizing force for change, and choreography as a mode of thought which has the potential to shift perception of self, other, and the spaces we (collectively) inhabit. Her signature solo inging has been invited across the US, Europe and in Canada. In support of her new project Dark Matter, Durning has received residencies at Seoul Dance Center, the Rauschenberg Foundation, MANCC, and at DNK in Sofia, Bulgaria. Jeanine has had the privilege of collaborating with many choreographers over her many years of performing including with Deborah Hay since 2005. Jeanine has taught and shared some accumulated practices all over the world through many different institutions for contemporary dance and performance, and is often invited to act as “outside eye” to many choreographer’s processes. She has created many original works commissioned by independent performers and companies, including an upcoming commission for Candoco Dance in London. Jeanine has recently been invited to join Cullberg in Stockholm for the coming year as a new Rehearsal Director.

Jeanine Durning performed inging in Lynden’s gallery on April 16 and 18, 2014. This was a co-presentation with Alverno Presents.

Eiko Otake
Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than forty years as Eiko & Koma but since 2014 has been performing her own solo project A Body in Places. In 2017, she launched a multi-year Duet Project, an open-ended series of cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and cross-generational experiments with a diverse range of artists both living and dead.

Eiko Otake performed, as part of Eiko and Koma, in Raven at Lynden on July 23, 2011. This was a co-presentation with Alverno Presents, and the first dance performance on Lynden’s grounds.

Okwui Okpokwasili
Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based performance maker. Her work includes two Bessie Award winning productions: Pent-Up: a revenge dance and Bronx Gothic. Other productions include Poor People’s TV Room, and Adaku’s Revolt. Okpokwasili’s recently co-curated the Danspace Project Platform “Utterances From the Chorus”. Her commissions, Residencies and awards: 10th Annual Berlin Biennale Commission, 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award in Contemporary Dance, 2018 USA Artist Fellow, 2018 Princeton Hodder Fellow, 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Dance, LMCC’s Extended Life Program (2013-2016, 2019); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Artist Grant in Dance (2014), MOMA, The Young Vic, Tate Modern. Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Okwui Okpokwasili performed at Lynden on July 13, 2013 in Nora Chipaumire’s Miriam, a co-presentation with Alverno Presents. She lived in Lynden’s residency apartment while performing Bronx Gothic at Alverno Presents in 2016, and she returned to Milwaukee in 2017 for the screening of Bronx Gothic, the documentary by Andrew Rossi, at the Milwaukee Film Festival.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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