From The Color Purple to Precious to The Help, what’s missing in representations of Black women in popular culture today? In Ladies Ring Shout–a performance using a combination of spoken word, movement and original soundtrack–Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal explore portrayals of women of color in popular culture and offer their own poignant and personal stories of resistance in this three-woman show. “There’s potency within this range,” says TimeOut Magazine. “It’s as if the trio’s work is fundamentally a tug-of-war between emotional and intellectual investigation.” Join us for this special multi-media performance and conversation. Post-show conversation moderated by award-winning journalist and educator Sylvia Ewing.
Friday, Sep. 23, 2011//7p-9p
Experimental Station//6100 S. Blackstone Ave 60637-2912//Chicago, IL
Sponsored by The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, this event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by Chicago Foundation for Women’s African American Leadership Council and U Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Culture and Politics.
Hey there LRS supporters!
Check out Act 1 in full! We are preparing to remount Ladies Ring Shout in several local venues in Chicago in addition to workshops and dialogues centered on issues concerned with women of color’s quality of life and representation in popular media. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events to see the rest of the show and talk about conditions for progressive social change. Details coming soon!
Act 1: Scenes 1 & 2: Breathe/Cry & The Question Still Remains (Ode to Sojourner Truth)
Act 1: Scene 3: Perry’s Canon?
Act 1: Scene 4: Black Betty
Act 1: Scene 5: I Rally
Here’s a taste of The Ladies Ring Shout shot by our incredible videographer David Weathersby. Check out the opening sections Breathe/Cry and The Question Still Remains (An Ode to Sojourner Truth).
The world premier of our first independent production opened one week ago today at Joseph Ravens’ Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery. For each of those three nights, I saw/spoke with audience members who were familiar with our work via our previous ‘work-in-progress’ showings and blown away by how much we’d developed the work.
I also saw/spoke with audience members who were seeing us for the first time (including members of my own family) and were thoroughly impressed by the scope & flow of the show. One of our primary goals of this world premier was to develop a bigger/more engaged audience *check*. Now, the question of “what’s next for LRS?” looms large….all eyes on us!
Touring, booking private performances & workshops are all on the front burner. Though I’m still basking in the afterglow of a show well done, I’m certainly looking forward to taking this show on the road. Stay tuned, y’all & thanks!
Check out the review from the Dance section of this week’s edition of TimeOut Chicago below! :
“Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal premiere their long-gestating portrait of contemporary women of color. Excerpts shown during its two-year creative process have varied broadly, from abstracted dance-theater scenes to direct addresses not far from PowerPoint presentations. There’s potency within this range; it’s as if the trio’s work is fundamentally a tug-of-war between emotional and intellectual investigation. With designs by Jeanne Medina and Chris Nightengale, and costumes by Lindsay Obermeyer.”
***See complete review in this week’s Time Out Chicago***
Next, make your way to 1136 N. Milwaukee tonight at 8p for Opening Night!!
Ladies Ring Shout Review by Kulvinder Arora
Kulvinder Arora, Visiting Assistant Professor at Beloit College, is trained in English and American Literature and researches American and Diasporic cultures.
This review was originally posted on Facebook.
The Ladies Ring Shout premieres Aug 4th at Defribrillator and runs through August 6. The performers are Abra Johnson, Meida McNeal and Felicia Holman, all strong women who artistically and intellectually define performance art at its best. The personal is truly political in this piece as these remarkable women put body and soul into reclaiming a space for women of color in modern dance and performance. This innovative performance piece not only foregrounds the ways in which black women have been portrayed in popular culture with images of ridiculous stereotypes and blatant denigration but offers counterpoints of light to these images with poignant personal stories of resistance.
The piece begins with an analysis of the commodification of black women’s bodies in film and popular culture. By critiquing popular films for their representations of black women, this first act satirically and wryly creates a sense that something is missing in popular representation. The performers ask “Who, then, is the black woman?” Far from offering a definitive answer that may serve as another stereotype, the women go on to detail their personal engagement with issues that black women often confront. The following acts detail their intellectual frustrations with feminism for not understanding women of color issues. Yet, they also offer an understanding of non-acceptance in people of color communities for being feminists of color. This conundrum is familiar in academic circles and women of color scholars have written about it extensively. Far from dry prose, these incredible women deal with the material with humor and everyday realities.
As the show goes on, the women deal with individual crises and efforts to resist through struggle with their identities and circumstances. In a very poignant piece, Mc Neal details the loss of her mother after she suffered a stroke. The momentary glimpses into McNeal’s ability to deal with the loss offer a very real glimpse into how people recover from difficult situation not by repressing memory but allowing it to be the basis of strength. This show is not to be missed by anyone interested in how race, gender and sexuality structure our existence and how resistance to oppression takes very personal and political efforts.
Pre-sale tickets available online! Click the link below:
Check it out! Thanks to Araminta Ross, Keli Stewart & Brenda Pryor for a great conversation to put Ladies Ring Shout: The World Premiere in context!
Good Morning Girl Chicago / Episode: Womanists in the City