On July 19th, I had the pleasure of hosting our first formally-informal works in progress cabaret. It was awesome. I was a cabaret in the sense that the vibe was intimate, with lots of space for audience response, and the line up had a rich variety of clever performers. Studio B was packed with both UMA regular students eager to see their teacher and classmates under a new light, as well as folks brand new to the space, who came to see their friends throw down.
Artsits included Amalia Waitr Lewis (@amalia_raye), Sanchel Brown (our current teaching resident, @trudancer92), Maddie Hopfield (@wibmd), Noa Schnitzer (@noatree), Lillian Ransijn (@lillianatora), and Ben Baker with Jamal (@tbbake and @tru_dalife). Everyone's work shimmered with inter-disciplinarity. I like performance where the artists are taking risks with their conceptual questions as well as technical capacity. Amalia timed her work through the chewing of ginger candies; Sanchel was a prism of gendered racial identity; Maddie messed around with apples and language; Lillian slithered through between grief and sexuality; Ben proposed a triptych of poetic moods of hip hop; with paper puppetry, Noa made us laugh and groan about what it's like to read the news these days. I was stoked by how attentive the audience was, with lots of tender and thoughtful feedback.
Most of the artists in this first go round were applicants to our summer residency. We had such a kick ass pool of applicants, I wanted to do harness that momentum, even though I couldn't offer them all residency positions. Vince and I have both had our own ups and downs in the arts funding/creative capital world; it can be a bummer than being an artist has come to require also being a fundraiser and grant writer. It felt really good to be able to curate a night of work I woulnd't have known about if not for the residency application process and to give these killer artist a low stress platform (and a month of free classes.)
Big thanks to the artists for sharing their work and for everyone who came out to support.
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