Harlem Stage to Present 2023 Edition of E-MOVES in April

This year's program features works by Jamal Abrams, Kayla Farrish, and Ogemdi Ude that are inspired by the legacy of the Black Arts Movement.

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Harlem Stage will present the 2023 edition of E-Moves, the institution's signature dance series, which for more than 20 years has convened choreographers, dancers, artists, and musicians of color in an exploration of movement and message. This year's program, curated by Jerome Robbins Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and Harlem Stage alum Stefanie Batten Bland, features works by Jamal Abrams, Kayla Farrish, and Ogemdi Ude that are inspired by the legacy of the Black Arts Movement. E-Moves 2023 is Part VI of Black Arts Movement: Examined, an expansive Harlem Stage series comprising music, poetry, dance, theatrical readings, film screenings, and a three-day conference featuring panels, discussions, and performances. E-Moves takes place at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse (150 Convent Ave, New York), April 13-15 at 7:30pm. Tickets, $25-35, can be purchased at Click Here.

"It is an honor to have been asked to curate E-Moves," says Batten Bland. "Harlem Stage has been a space of transformation for me throughout my life as spectator, performer, and maker. It brings me deep gratitude that the space feels I can bring something in terms of ensuring new faces and makers are also housed and honed in its heritage. Inside of the interrogation of the Black Arts Movement of which I'm a child of, due in part of my lineage to my father's work in jazz and atonal compositional spaces, I find the invitation here that I am excited to engage with is centered in hybridity. As the Black Arts Movement for me was a mixing of genres and peoples, the movement that comes from that moment is still being researched. African Americans, hybrid in composition already, are constantly navigating making methods that are expressed through past and present geographical constructs. The more I can support makers through theatrical movement expression, the more I can honor E-Moves. Our shift is away from the phasic curatorial structure of makers in their beginning, middle, and arrived definitions, and shifting into what I think is unique to all art at Harlem Stage. The three makers whom I've chosen are in deep experimentation, exposure, and experiential conversations in their current practice. I'm thrilled that Jamal Abrams, Kayla Farrish, and Ogemdi Ude said 'yes' to this call."

E-Moves 2023 includes interdisciplinary artist Jamal Abrams' SAB & The Gatekeeper, which honors the continuous conflict with self. The performance explores the origin story of SAB, the name Abrams has given to his shadow self, and the process of extracting our shadow from self. Abrams thinks of his shadow self as his protector and guide sent to help him navigate the world. SAB is light, truth, and acceptance. Through fantastical world-making and experimental play, we get to the root of SAB's biggest dilemma: did I do this.......or did you?

Abrams is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Baltimore. He received his BFA in dance from The University of the Arts. He has worked with Tariq Darell + The UNUM Dance Collective, haus of bambi, as well as Punchdrunk in Sleep No More NYC. He is currently in his first season with Stefanie Batten Bland's Company SBB. As a maker, Abrams has received the 2018 New Releases Commission at Dance Place. He has also been selected as a 2020 fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab, and was presented at The Blacklight Summit hosted by The Clarice in 2021. As an educator, Abrams has taught at Dance Fest in Shanghai, and in Fall 2021 served as guest faculty at The University of the Arts in the fall of 2021. Abrams is currently working on new world- and play-building as the recipient of the NextLOOK commission presented by The Clarice.

In Myths until you hold me, Kayla Farrish imagines and brings into resolution herself as a Black Woman, becoming visceral, solid, and human. She builds upon her To Dream a Lifetime and recent solo works, using her curiosity as an engine of rebellion as she aspires to build tools for BIPOC communities to radically imagine, archive, and live. With urgency, power, and transparency, Myths until you hold me delves into socio-political structures, the guts of Black Women's experiences as people, and addressesing American lineages that reverberate today. As the work explores new landscapes, and reveals the hidden pictures of those underrepresented, oppressed, or erased, it becomes activism.

Kayla Farrish/Decent Structures Arts is an emerging company combining filmmaking, storytelling, dance theater performance, and sound score. The company has been commissioned by Gibney Dance, Louis Armstrong House Museum, Danspace Project, Pepatian, BAAD!, and others. Works include Black Bodies Sonata, The New Frontier (my dear America), With grit from, Grace, SpeCTacle, and Martyr's Fiction. Bessie-winner Farrish's work has been performed at venues including Judson Church, Danspace, Jacob's Pillow, New York Live Arts, Joe's Pub, BAAD!, and various film festivals. She created the site-specific Broken Record with Brandon Coleman for Little Island Festival; Rinsing, a short dance film; the film Y'll D'nt Care Abt Black Women, co-directed by Melanie Charles; Saul Williams' People Above the Moon, a solo for The Motherboard Suites at NYLA; and, with Melanie Charles in 2021, Roster, an outdoor performance for four/four's Open Air Series. In Fall 2022, Farrish shared her work at Lincoln Center with Kyle Abraham/AIM; choreographed for Little Amal at Lincoln Center, in collaboration with director Tea Alagic, and produced and choreographed numerous new works in progress at her Triskelion Performance Series. Farrish has been supported by numerous prestigious grants and creative residencies.

Dance and interdisciplinary artist Ogemdi Ude offers ok, let's try this again, a solo in which Ude adapts remnants of past works addressing grief and loss, creating a character that exists both internally and externally. This character offers an outlet for reckoning with who one becomes when their personal life and creative life become about death.

Ude is a Nigerian-American dance and interdisciplinary artist, educator, and doula based in Brooklyn. Her performance work focuses on Black femme legacies and futures, grief, and memory. Her work has been presented at Danspace Project, Abrons Arts Center, BRIC, ISSUE Project Room, Recess Art, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at Judson Church, Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, La Mama Courthouse, and BAM's DanceAfrica festival. As an educator, she serves as Head of Movement for Theater at Professional Performing Arts School and has taught at Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, MIT, and University of the Arts. In collaboration with Rochelle Jamila Wilbun she facilitates AfroPeach, a series of free dance workshops for Black postpartum people in Brooklyn. She is a 2022-2023 Smack Mellon Studio Artist, 2022-2024 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence, and 2022 Center for Performance Research Artist-in-Residence. She has been a 2021 danceWEB Scholar, 2021 Laundromat Project Create Change Artist-in-Residence, and a 2019-2020 Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU Resident Fellow. In January 2022 she appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine for their annual "25 to Watch" issue. Her upcoming work includes a commission for Gibney. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English, Dance, and Theater from Princeton University.

About Stefanie Batten Bland (Curator)

Jerome Robbins awardee Stefanie Batten Bland, a global maker and 2022 BAM Next Wave Festival- commissioned artist, exhibits a unique blend of African American flamboyance and European sensibility. She situates her work at the intersection of immersive, dance-theater in live and cinematic settings. Based in New York City, she founded Company SBB in France in 2008 and is a longstanding Baryshnikov Arts Center artist in residence. KOLONIAL, her 2021 dance film, has won 8 film festival awards and was nominated for three Bessies. Batten Bland is Casting and Movement Director for Emursive Productions' newest production, serves as Performance and Identity Consultant for Sleep No More, Movement Director for Eve's Song, Public Theater, and Choreographer for American Ballet Theatre's inaugural Women's Movement Initiative. Batten Bland is an assistant professor at Montclair State University for Theatre & Dance, received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College, and lives in SoHo with her family, where she grew up as the daughter of artists. As a performer Batten Bland has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Compagnie Georges Momboye, Compagnie Linga, Pal Frenak, Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wüppertal, and PunchDrunk's New York Production of Sleep No More.

About Harlem Stage

Harlem Stage is the performing arts center that bridges Harlem's cultural legacy to contemporary artists of color and dares to provide the artistic freedom that gives birth to new ideas. For nearly 40 years, the organization's singular mission has been to perpetuate and celebrate the unique and diverse artistic legacy of Harlem and the indelible impression it has made on American culture. Harlem Stage provides opportunity, commissioning, and support for visionary artists of color, makes performances easily accessible to all audiences, and introduces children to the rich diversity, excitement, and inspiration of the performing arts.

Harlem Stage fulfills its mission through commissioning, incubating, and presenting innovative and vital work that responds to the historical and contemporary conditions that shape our lives and the communities the organization serves.

With a long-standing tradition of supporting artists and organizations around the corner and across the globe, Harlem Stage boasts such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri, Maya Angelou, and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Mumu Fresh, Jason "Timbuktu" Diakité, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Tamar-kali, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, José James, Nona Hendryx, Bill T. Jones, and more. Harlem Stage's education programs serve over 2,300 New York City school children each year.

Harlem Stage's investment in this visionary talent is often awarded in the early stages of many artists' careers, and the organization proudly celebrates their increasing success. Five members of its artist family have joined the ranks of MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship awardees: Kyle Abraham (2013), Vijay Iyer (2013), Jason Moran (2010), Bill T. Jones (1994), and Cecil Taylor (1991).

Harlem Stage is a winner of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters William Dawson Award for Programming Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming.

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