Diasporic Movement Practice with Lela Aisha Jones

with Lela Aisha Jones | FlyGround
returning in Spring 2018! dates TBA...

Diasporic Movement Practice (DMP): Taught by Lela Aisha Jones (and many before and after her), DMP's are contemporary movement practices grounded in dance cultures and traditions of African and Black peoples. Lela's strongest foundations in her diasporic movement practice are dances common in southern United States (primarily Florida), Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, and northeastern Brazil (primarily Salvador, Bahia). She also brings to her teaching a wide range of gestural, socially conscious, spiritual, modern dance, and improvisational tools and inspirations.

///September - DMP | Physicalities Realities: We will investigate how diasporic dances meet our bodies in fresh ways as well as multiple entry points for engaging with, understanding, and embodying movement culture that is with us everyday in our U.S. lived experience. The Black/African diasporic presence in our bodies seems to be continuously (even conveniently) elusive remaining unnamed and unframed in many spaces of privilege. We will awake what is unconscious in our bodies from diaspora. We will honor what cannot be proven. We will go back to the beginning of our bodies engaging with diasporic culture. We will start over and be honest. We will reopen this process.

///October - DMP | Diaspora Unbound is a journey into the creative potential of the spiritual, conceptual, and physical energies that exist in movement of African descent and cultures of Black peoples. It offers poly-sensing as an addition to the already well established poly-rhythmic approaches to movement that are vibrant and alive within diasporic movement cultures. Expect a class or workshop that provides exhilarating body discoveries with unexpected physical explosion and intricate narratives. In this class you will experience physicalities derived from movement practices in the U.S. and the broader diasporic experience.

///November - DMP | Merges Diverges (Swing, Drop, Two Step, Triplets, Bounce): Movement styles of diasporic lineage collide and converge as Lela Aisha Jones has discovered in her experience, embodiment, research, and artistic migrations through African descendant traditions and cultures of Black peoples. In this session let your body defy time and fall into the depth of complexity. Expect to experience time lapse conversions of moving bodies over generations, such as the city boy slide (from the 1990s Florida-dirty-dirty-teen-club-life) as akin to KuKu/KouKou (a long lineaged Guinean dance). Also expect to embody physicalities that make these dances so importantly their own creation and from their own time.

///Lela Aisha Jones is a native of Tallahassee, FL who resides in Philadelphia, PA. She is a movement performance artist that has come to understand dance as an “archival practice” and her body “as an artistic archive—a creative storage space for movement and culture derived from the individual and collective lived experiences of blackness.” Lela is the founder of FlyGround, her creative home, where she cultivates her artistry that intertwines personal history, diasporic movement, social commentary, and interdisciplinary methods. Her most recent works are the Native Portals series which includes Lynching & Love (2012), Continuum of Action (2015 solo), and Release Mourning Clearing (2016). Her latest series in development is Plight Release & the Diasporic Body: Jesus & Egun (2016) & Seeing Water other Ways in Kwabenya (2017). As a teaching artist Lela is rostered with Young Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, Live Connections (LCO), and Intercultural Journeys. Her areas of interests in education include the complexities of traditional and contemporary diasporic dances of African/Black heritage or descent, cultural exchange and understanding, consciousness (social, racial, environmental, gender, cultural, etc.), creating community through movement, and activism in the body. She has also facilitated workshops, residences, and lectures at various colleges and universities including Bennington College, California State University San Bernandino, and BrynMawr College. Lela earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at Florida State University and is a current doctoral candidate at Texas Woman’s University. She is a 2013 Dance USA Philadelphia Rocky Awardee, a 2015 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee and a member of the inaugural 2015 Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellows designed by leaders at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in NYC. In 2016, Lela was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
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