Choreographer Reggie Wilson will premier a new work by Fist and Heel Performance Group at Church of the Advocate, and curate a procession of Philadelphia-based artists who will performatively respond to several historic religious spaces, with a special focus on the history of the African American religious experience in Philadelphia and the United States.
Grounds that Shout! (and Others Merely Shaking) set for the Spring of 2019 involves two unique dance experiences: a two week-long residency for Fist and Heel Performance Group at the Church of the Advocate and original processional performance that integrates three different historic congregations along the Lombard Street Corridor: Mother Bethel AME, Old Pine Presbyterian, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church.
These performances will cast congregations as sites that embody layered narratives that have evolved as their surrounding neighborhoods changed. Wilson intends to commission a diverse group of Philadelphia-based choreographers and performers to respond to the selected religious spaces; allowing each artist to challenge their own aesthetic preferences, consider how their practices relate to traditions of physical movement, and interrogate how their performance amplifies or contradicts the histories of the host religious communities.
The entire program is supplemented with an in-depth symposium organized by curator Reggie Wilson, Partners for Sacred Places, Philadelphia Contemporary, and Danspace Project. The symposium will include talks and panel discussions around questions of site-specific histories, cross-viewing, and intersections between anthropology, dance, and other movement-based practices.
Wilson founded Fist and Heel Performance Group a year after graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (1988). The Company’s name is drawn from negative comments by white and black authorities who derided reinvented spiritual traditions of enslaved Africans in the Americas as ‘fist and heel worshipping.’
Wilson’s dance practice is rooted in the idea of kinesthetic anthropology, a deeply personal examination of how individuals and communities use their bodies. Previous Fist and Heel works have focused on the African diaspora and the role of churches in the movement. Through projects in the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, Wilson has developed a global understanding of the intersections between African culture in the Americas, religion, and movement.
Grounds the Shout! (And Others Merely Shaking) is an exciting opportunity to experience Wilson's unique ‘post-African/Neo-Hoodoo Modern dances’ in rich historic spaces in two Philadelphia neighborhoods.