Okwui Okpokwasili


Tonight I ventured out into the city as a part of my quest to be more involved in the New York dance scene.  This was the second show that I have seen in this city this semester, and I must say that this one was a stark contrast to the first in so many ways.  As the title of this post suggests, I saw Okwui Okpokwasili's showing of her new work BC Girl, Girl as a part of New York Live Arts' Studio Series.

First of all, I highly recommend this series to anyone who is an artist of any kind.  The format of the showing is low-pressure and relaxed.  It is held, as the name suggests, in a studio in the NYLA building on West 19th Street.  Before entering, you are asked to take off your shoes, and you go in to find folding chairs along the walls and little floor chairs for you to sit on.  Then the showing starts:  there is no make up, fancy lighting, or scenery to speak of.  The artist presents their work, however long it is, and then afterwards you can have some wine and have a chat with the artist about their process and where they feel the work is going.  In all, this performance lasted 75 minutes, with 30 of it being the showing.

This is a really good program that I commend NYLA for.  Not only is it a good way to get audiences interested in the creative process, but it also allows for artists to get feedback for their work and understand how audiences react to it.  There is something so wonderfully New York about sitting in a dance studio with about 40 other people just watching someone's creative process unfold.

I don't really know what I think about this particular performance, however.  It wasn't as much dance as I expected; Okpokwasili is a singer/songwriter and actor as well.  She has an amazing concept of growing up in the Bronx and the knowledge that middle schoolers have without their parents knowledge.  From the post-showing conversation it seemed like this new piece serves as a second part to her work last spring, Bronx Gothic.  I haven't seen this show, and I felt like the context would have helped.  However, her songs are still stuck in my head, her movement vocabulary was very honed, and the text was jarring in the best way possible.  Her name is definitely one to keep in mind, as her creative process for this show is ongoing.

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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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