Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group at Jacob's Pillow, 7/9-13
With an array of ideas and images at its source, Reggie Wilson's Moses(es) takes audiences on a captivating journey in six performances at Jacob's Pillow, July 9-13. Wilson's precise, energetic fusion of modern and African dance is remarkable; Brian Seibert of The New York Times comments, "The dance vocabulary is rich: wide squats, jumps that spin and kick, Egyptian poses, arms rippling like bulrushes, heavy steps." The choreography is married to a diverse score including music by Louis Armstrong, The Klezmatics, Amahlokohloko, Ngqoko Women's Ensemble, MaZarher, Aly-Us, Tiger, Bi Kidude, Southern Sons, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and traditional African-American spirituals "Wade In the Water" and "Eli, Eli (Somebody Call Eli)" sung live by the artists of Fist & Heel Performance Group.
Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob's Pillow, comments "At the intersection of dance, music, anthropology, history, and post-modernism, Reggie Wilson's work deifies any category. This newest work Moses(es) is exciting, full of surprises, richly layered, and beautifully performed by an international cast of extraordinary talent."
With inspirations ranging from Zora Neale Hurston's book Moses, Man of the Mountain to mathematics to cultural explorations in Israel, Egypt, and Turkey, Moses(es) exists at once as a richly textural work of choreography and as a sort of anthropological study. Regarding Wilson's literary influences, Laura Molzahn of The Chicago Tribune writes: "the rough, unassumingly athletic movement - marked by sudden delicate gestures, like an exquisite little swirl of the hand-perfectly captures the African-American folkloric style of Hurston's writing." Wilson draws on dance traditions from capoeira to voguing to postmodern release technique in an inventive pastiche, articulately gathered and crafted into this evening-length work.
The nine performers of Moses(es) are diverse in age, training, and origin, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica; Trinidad and Tobago; the Bronx, New York; and elsewhere. Some have been with Wilson's company for over two decades, others for shy of a year, making the tightly-knit ensemble all the more remarkable. Moses(es) had its world premiere in September 2013. The company, founded in 1989, appeared at Jacob's Pillow in 1996 and 1998 as part of the Inside/Out series and in the Doris Duke Theatre in 2007.