LRS began in the summer of 2009 with a group of women of color. We were eager to share our lived experiences of pleasure and pain. Workshops in writing and movement helped to frame our dialogue. Always, our intention has been to understand and work through specific individualized issues as they relate more generally to the experiences of women of color. How do we define our contemporary community?
Below is our original call for participation:
Reveling in the sumptuous margins of the unseen, the untried, and the unspoken, The Ladies Ring Shout: A Writing/Moving Circle is a weekly workshop, dialoguing space and “jam session” for women.
We will talk, write and move in the spirit of collaborative experimentation as we explore what an urban feminine discourse looks and feels like. What are our notions of an Urban Feminine? What is her legacy to/for future women/humans? What defines the urban woman’s community?
Join us, as we discuss, write, and perform about contemporary womanhood in an intimate space–exploring everything from mothering/nurturing to sexuality/sensuality to aging to trauma and healing. Bring a piece of your writing/meditations in any state and wear comfortable clothes. We will create our own urban woman’s ring shout, a ritual for this time and place and for the women we are in this moment.
Currently, LRS comprises three core members Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal. For the better part of the past ten years we have been creative associates (formerly of ThickRoutes Performance Collage). TRPC, a Chicago based women’s artistic collective featuring female artists of diverse backgrounds and talents, made works from 2001-2009 that chronicled and interrogated Afro-diasporic feminist and queer subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. Works included Bag Ladies: carrying a diaspora colored black (2002), Race Travels: care packages from Trinidad to Chicago and back again (2004), Househedz (2006), Bridges (2009), and Give Thanks: an urban folk dance (2009).
After a brief hiatus, several TRPC members have resurrected their collaborative relationship as the Ladies Ring Shout. We are using the workshop structure to build a new performance piece. In following these exercises ourselves, we hope to come up with a more viable workshop model to share with the community-at-large.
Performance is our therapy, our catharsis, our way to community. Performance is the haven that welcomes us to rediscover our own value and worth. Performance and expression bring our dormant, unsaid emotions to the surface and urge us to work them out within a community that not only bears witness, but also empathizes through experience.