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Virginia Commonwealth University Engagements


2018 - present

Project type

Ongoing Collaboration

“[Angela’s Pulse’s year-long engagement] allowed us to begin imagining ways to keep our community connected even across the virtual space, as well as fuel our individual creative endeavors in a creatively challenging time.”
- VCU student Joi Brown [read more]

Angela’s Pulse’s relationship with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) exemplifies our commitment to deep collaborations developed over time that integrate creative and community practice. In 2018, we began exploring a multi-year, multi-site performance project during a creative residency at VCU, made possible by the VCUarts Department of Dance and Choreography and Paloma’s Fellowship with the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Institute. From 2018-2019, AP core collaborators joined Paloma at VCU in the choreographic process informed by the iterative development of Building A Better Fishtrap.

In 2021, we collaboratively envisioned a responsive shift in our engagement which began with a two-week virtual Fishtrap Method workshop inviting the VCU community into a creative process in collaboration with Dr. Gaynell Sherrod, faculty member and longtime colleague of Paloma. The Fishtrap Method is Paloma’s adaptive methodology for building performance work and building community. Over the past decade, she has been honing myriad processes - including writing, moving, storytelling, map making, and breaking bread - in order to elicit personal voice and develop connective tissues between people, places, and practices. The Method is rooted in her father's vanishing fishing tradition and three driving questions: What do we take with us? Leave behind? Reclaim?

The 2021 Community Building residency continued with a focus on building upon, deepening, and developing student leadership. We engaged a broad swathe of Angela’s Pulse network in the process with Paloma: AP Core Collaborators MK Abadoo, Jessica Lee, and Christine King; North Star Arts Incubator cohort members Joya Powell, Maria Bauman-Morales, and Sarita Covington; and longtime comrade Johnnie Mercer (a VCU alum). Using anti-racist and embodied practices – including Culture Shares, Story Circles, and Shared Practice – students were able to deepen their relationships, organize into focus groups, and produce a list of collective concerns and recommendations for the department. VCU Dance Students went on to self-organize in three Working Groups: Communications: Systems of Practice and Modalities; Health, Wellness and Care; Deepening Values and Agreements.
Angela’s Pulse and VCUarts continue to seek ways of deepening our relationship including a possible presentation of A’we deh ya, the most recent iteration of the Fishtrap journey.

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