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In Our Own Words / Voices from the 2024 DWB Fellowship - Part 1

Updated: Jun 8

Nyla Adina Murray

Q: How would you describe your artistic process?


A: I would describe my artistic process as one that begins with an abundance of writing/journaling, planning, dreaming, imagining and formulating, before moving towards a place of movement, creation, improvisation and choreography. Eventually, I may or may not arrive towards the many expectations of performance, but regardless, I will be moving towards freedom within my expression and identity.


Q: How has participation in the DWB Fellowship contributed to your artistic practice?


A: My participation within the DWB fellowship has inspired me to generate fruitful ideas that I am excited to explore bodily. It has been a safe space, a utopia where I am unapologetically me. Within this fellowship, we are celebrated, affirmed, supported and most importantly, represented. I am grateful that each masterclass I have had the privilege to participate in has brought me closer to myself. This fellowship has been a mirror towards my artistic process, both informing and challenging it. I am building and widening my community and I will cherish this experience and these connections forever. 



 


Aleta Brown

Q: How would you describe your artistic practice?


A: My artistic process hinges on routine as ritual. Audre Lorde writes "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." As I explore the lineages of healing and migration in my family, I ground myself in the rituals of caring for myself and my community in order to establish fertile ground for creativity. Most often, my work begins as words or movement phrases that loop in my mind. Once I recognize a pattern I begin to record the ideas. I express these stories through movement, painting, poems, and song. But no matter the medium, caring for my black body/community is an indispensable ingredient of sharing my story with others. When I care for myself I am able to show up for others and for the work of creating. My current piece grapples with the embodied experience of migration — specifically my grandmother’s migration from Jamaica to London to Brooklyn. It is expressed through movement, charcoal drawings with my body, and song.


Q: How has participation in the DWB Fellowship contributed to your artistic practice?


A: Dancing While Black is a brave, affirming, and radically loving space. Our monthly sessions are an integral piece of my artistic process — an incubator for unearthing movement stories alongside an incredible group of Black dancers. Each meeting with the DWB community is a new opportunity for connection and inspiration. The first day of the fellowship Paloma gently instructed that we must “face the thing that you’re afraid of creating” and then offered the space for those words to manifest into reality. The Dancing While Black family has held me as I dive into the labyrinth of uncovering the messages I’m meant to share through movement. Dancing While Black is a home, a lake, a meadow. I am grateful to dance with such a powerful group of Black storytellers and I have so much hope for our future when I’m with them.



 

The Dancing While Black (DWB) Fellowship, is a yearlong fellowship for community-building, intergenerational exchange and visibility among Black dance artists whose work doesn’t fit neatly into boxes. Learn more about the program and our 2024 Fellows here.

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