“What does it mean to belong” and“What does it mean to NOT want to belong,” are core questions of Reggie Wilson’s investigations for his new evening-length dance work, CITIZEN.
In CITIZEN, Wilson drills down into the human desire to belong with exponentially expanding questions: “Do the injustices in today’s America engender a feeling of belonging? What supports belonging? Is belonging solely something internal, inside the individual? Is a sense of belonging or not belonging, a private or a public matter? How is my experience as a Black, 48 year-old male in America compared to a black 30 year-old male or a 23 year-old black male’s experience, reality of America, different? What makes our experiences different, race, class, religion, gender, location, ancestry, language…? Do I change to belong? What do I change? Is change necessary? Does knowing the past help now, how? Do I become an anonymous individual if I belong? Belong to what…Where? Why? How? Who?” This work takes these ever-expanding questions out of the theoretical and cerebral, and confronts them on kinesthetic, personal, individual, practical, and macro levels, to offer alternatives. CITIZEN promises to engage and compel while igniting disruptive, uncomfortable perspectives on our compassion and humanity.
A group of suggested readings that provided insight, inspiration and information for the development of CITIZEN as well as readings that might be helpful to viewers of the performance work.
Wrapped in Rainbows - The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
Choreographing the Folk: The Dance Stagings of Zora Neale Hurston
Called and Chosen: The Story of Mother Rebecca Jackson and the Philadelphia Shakers
Richard E. Williams
Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development
Paris Noir – African Americans in the City of Light
A collection of short videos created by Reggie wilson and cinematographer Aitor Mendiliabr during the research and development of CITIZEN
CITIZEN is funded and made possible in part
by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council; Baryshnikov Arts Center; New York City Center Choreography Fellow Residency.
Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group’s production, CITIZEN, is co-commissioned by BAM for the 2016 Next Wave Festival; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and by An Off- shore Creative Residency by The Yard.
CITIZEN was made possible in part with a research and development residency and co- production support by The Hatchery Project, a multi-year collaborative residency partnership between RED Arts Project (Philadelphia, PA), Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreog- raphy at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL), Vermont Performance Lab (Guilford, VT), and The Chocolate Factory Theater (Long Island City, NY) with lead support by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding by the National Endowment For The Arts; the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award Program. Special acknowledgements to lming sites: Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Chocolate Factory, MANCC, and Governors Island.