Pones dancers use our bodies to speak our minds. Right now, people are gathering in Cincinnati and around the world to protest for justice and change. But there’s more than one way to put your body on the front lines. We believe dance can be a powerful tool to amplify and explore this collective outcry — therefore, with the sponsorship of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, we are creating a platform for Performances & Collaborations, titled MOVE. This program will harness Pones’ 12-year history of creating art for social justice to facilitate and fund the work that independent artists need to share, now.
MOVE is centered around BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) communities and artists. It will consist of 6 dance-infused works by BIPOC actors, spoken word artists, musicians and dancers, including current and former students of SCPA. The pieces will be performed live, in public between June and September 2020, with a focus on including residents and areas that are directly affected by the current protests. Performances are free and open to the public. It is important to us that these works be experienced live, due to the visceral responses that live performances elicit, and the connections that are possible when we share space as a community. Because of this, we recommend bringing a protective mask to experience these performances during COVID-19. More information about the performances in this installment will be released when available at pones.org. Confirmed lineup includes:
Do U Need Love?
On August 22, the fifth installment of MOVE, “Do U Need Love?” focused on persevering through depression and uplifting one another through heavy times. Created by Savannah Sexton “ThinkSavy” and performed by Ndailor Sheriff, Asia Harrison, Haydyn Lillian Jackson, and Zoe Isabella Swope. MOVE is an initiative created by Pones to feature melanated voices and create art that sparks conversation, connection, and justice. Please wear your mask. The performance will last approximately five minutes and may be performed two times.
Held on July 31, “Of Nina” was a new work by spoken word and movement artist Teisha Murray featuring Pones dancers, Chantée Jordan, Carroll Wallace, and Apria Thomas. The piece is an Homage to Nina Simone, and is a commentary on the dangers of celebrating oneself, when that self is not celebrated by society at large. To boldly take center stage while also navigating the parts of you that have been imitated or fetishised by that very same society. And to do so without apology.
Say Their Names
The first installment of MOVE, Say Their Names was a 10-minute piece performed on Wednesday, June 17th in locations throughout the city featuring Burgess Byrd, Ashley Morton, Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Nyjul Byrd, Ernaisja Curry, and Montez Jenkins.
In 2016, Pones collaborated with Michael Burnham on a dance/spoken word piece performed beneath the mural that memorializes the death of our planet’s last living carrier pigeon. Now it’s 2020 and here we are, again, mourning the loss of precious lives, knowing for sure we can’t dance away our pain, hoping our pain will guide us to a better future. We refuse to forget. We vow to move forward.
I’m Not Angry
Performed by Amari Samya, “I’m Not Angry” is the second installment of MOVE—a new platform for artists, performers, and collaborators to use their unique voices to raise awareness, to protest, to connect, to raise the vibration, to heal, and to fully explore the collective outcry we are all part of together.
Growth Equity Empower
Located on the corner Vine and Green street in Over-the-Rhine, “Growth Equity Empower” is the third installment of MOVE—a new platform for artists, performers, and collaborators to use their unique voices to raise awareness, to protest, to connect, to raise the vibration, to heal, and to fully explore the collective outcry we are all part of together. The creation of this new mural was part of Cornerstone Renter Equity’s Beautification Day event and also made possible by Elementz, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, and Pones.
Part of the MOVE Initiative produced by Pones. This collaboration explores what it means to be resilient in the face of continual trauma. Getting our roots down deep, finding our pack to collectively roar with, and loving ourselves first are a few ways to restore and stay ready for the long road ahead.
A Call for Creatives
This will not be the only installment of the MOVE program — it will become an ongoing forum for artists to be paid to create work surrounding social justice issues. Proposals for future creations are accepted on an ongoing basis — submit your proposal here: https://forms.gle/i3eGPd1eeMBdZdN59