AfroBeat Radio Critical Joy (Third-Wednesday) Series

Join the final

AfroBeat Radio Critical Joy (Third-Wednesday) Series of 2018

December 19, 2018

(Dance Class – 7:00 – 8:30/ CJ Workshop – 8:30 – 10:00/Music & Dance – 10:00 – Midnight)

Register

Location:  Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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CADD – 2018 Dance Black Joy: Global Affirmation and Defiance

Colloquium on African Diaspora Dance, February 2018

Honored to have been a part of this amazing gathering!! Proud to have delivered my workshop Ecstatic Reasoning -blackness protracted: Migration and Constructed Identities. 

https://www.cadd-online.org/2018-conference.html

Looking forward to 2020

Workshop Today! Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning (CJ/ER)

September 19, 2018        Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning (CJ/ER) – Blackness Protracted Workshop

AfroBeat Radio at BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, BROOKLYN, NY 11217

REGISTER at the door.  More Information: HERE

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Though embodied practices that center on African Diasporic (Black) body technologies of reasoning in and through ecstatic joy, CJ/ER workshop is an exploration and examination of critical joy that is embodied and thereby potentially resurrective.   In CJ/ER workshop the body’s abilities are directed to manufacture (real and/or imagined) spaces/place for reconstruction, reconfiguration, and realignment of self-to-self, self-to-community, and self-to-divine.  CJ/ER workshop participants will be guided through techniques and experience processes for igniting Critical Joy/Ecstatic Reasoning into daily life, and discovery and re/imagine inner embodied resources for navigating through and making sense of life in a problematic world.

When:  8:30 – 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Where: BROOKLYN COMMONS, 388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, BETWEEN BOND & HOYT STREETS, NYC 11217
REGISTER at the door.  More information HERE

Black History and Me – 2

Martin Luther King Jr.’ s I Have A Dream speech is as much a call to spiritual arms,  meaning to  connect to something beyond the materiality of the flesh,  as it is a declaration of an embodied presence that must be counted into any conceptions of humanity and justice.  The speech is a call for courage on at least two fronts, the material and the spiritual, and, in this instance, the notions of dreams identify the ground on which we want our feet to walk/dance/run on the future.  To have a dream is to be in possession of a radical tool for deconstructing and epistemologically grounding the present in order to forge a critically creative and productive path towards a future in which humanity and justice are indelibly intertwined.     I recall a conversation, from my much younger adult days, with a young man who was the older brother of a close friend.  In response to my question about what, as a child, he dreamt of being or doing when he grew up, he stated, “I didn’t dream, I just wanted to have money.”   For him, there was no dreaming of becoming a fireman, lawyer, teacher, or president, for in his assessment of his life, he was just trying, in whatever ways he could, to make money and there was no point in wasting precious time and resources on dreams. He was the oldest of six siblings in a large black Latino family (including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins), living life in the underside of New York City’s lights and glitz.  He knew all too well that a dream made it difficult to live complacently in the grind of socioeconomic and racial disparities, and so, likely quite unconsciously, at an age he could not remember, he had surrendered the fight by surrendering his capacity to dream.

The fight for humanity and justice were spaces to which he could visit on occasion, but not in which he could live.   Less, I lead you astray, it is important to say that his young man directed the passion that could have fuelled dreams into a passion for honour, a type of honour that had somehow escaped the crunch and grind of urban masculinity and misogynistic posturing, expressing itself in compassionate movements towards those he cared for and an obtuse distancing of all he believed could do harm.  At the moment our conversation took place we were preparing a small gathering to celebrate my close friend’s discharge from the hospital.  My friend, then 22 years old university student with 19 year old wife whom he had married a year earlier, had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and has spent three or so weeks in the hospital undergoing a litany of tests and medical interventions.   All who loved were on auto pilot, for nothing in our lives has prepared us for to what to do with such information.  So, we planned each moment with care and prayed that there would be many more moments so that we could eventually once again enjoy the privilege of being occasionally carelessness.  If my friend’s older brother entertained any moments of dreaming such dreaming was directed towards his younger brother, who had excelled in academics and was the first in the family to attend university.  At 22 my friend, had attended undergraduate on full scholarship and was in the final months of completing his master’s degree in neurobiology.  He had met the love of his life when he was 19 and as soon as she turned 18 he proposed to her and they were married three months later.   My friend was a person filled with dreams; he embodied the deepest intermingling of justice and humanity.  With my friend’s discharge from the hospital came good and bad news: first that his young wife was three months pregnant and second, that my friend would not live long enough to witness the birth of his child.  This latter news compelled his older brother made promises that he could keep, taking on a deeper responsibility for his own life as well as the lives of the wife and child of his younger brother.   In this moment of beautiful and horrible news, my friend’s older brother committed himself to a dream.  What ground do you want your feet to walk/dance/run on in the future?

My time in the dance studio with Martin Luther King Jr.’ s   I Have A Dream speech included reading the speech out loud several times while being attentive to the impact the words were having on my feet and pelvis. ‘This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.’ And, I ask myself, in what ways have I not embraced the freedom my foremother and forefathers courageously took up the responsibility to dream for me?

Copyright © 2014 Carol Marie Webster, All Rights Reserved

Black History and Me

In the United States Black History month is celebrated the month of February and focuses on the historical contributions of African Americans to the making and sustaining of U.S. life.  In the UK Black History month is celebrated the month of October, this celebration recognizes the contributions of all persons of non-white racial heritage (including white/other biracial mixes) to British society.  Having spent many years in the United States in which I encountered the diverse and vibrant ways in which  Black History month long celebration is taken up in that society, in the UK, I constantly (at times consciously) comparing the difference in the tone and temperament of the celebrations.  From my experience, and I emphasis here my experience, celebrations in the UK shy away from the African Diaspora productive and dynamic contributions to the society and focus instead on those who fall into the category of politically Black (persons from South and East Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere).   During my four year, and counting, in the UK, wherever I am I have organized some type of collective celebration of persons of the African Diaspora.   For October 2013 UK Black History month I spent time in a personal celebration/reflection on African Diaspora history by taking time out to recognize the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.  Although initially envisioned as a afternoon workshop in which a group of dancers of the African Diaspora (from Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe) gathered to  engage in critical movement discussions around the speech and the ways in which the speech has impacted their country, community, family, and themselves, my travel schedule prohibitive to proper organization.   So instead, on the 31st of October, after sending off a round of last minute invitations, I went to the dance studio with speech in hand and spent three hours in a series of movement conversations with the language and tone of the speech, my personal memories of ways in which the I Have a Dream speech impacted my life, and with what I imagined to be my response to the speech today.  The speech has been a touchstone in my journey from youth to adult, and in 1997 I choreographed Far Away Places in collaboration with Atlanta-based percussionist Gerard Reid and excerpts from Sweet Honey in the Rocks’ Letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uEbKX88KSo). Far Away Places was originally performed by the Georgia State University Movement Force Dance company and a gift to a then retiring colleague and friend.   It was also the first installment in a (thus far) 17-year lamentation on the speech that has taken the form of movement and verse.  In celebration of U.S. Black History month, during February, share some of my  reflections on/conversation with  I Have a Dream.

Copyright © 2014 Carol Marie Webster, All Rights Reserved