Velocity Presents An Evening of Performance Artists One Night Only

Velocity Presents An Evening of Performance Artists One Night Only

Join Velocity in our Founders Theater on February 10 for a very special one-night-only performance by artists mayfield brooks and Karen Nelson. Entitled Improvising in the Break, the improvisational work will tackle the poetics of racial justice and dancing as a radical act. The performance will mark brooks' Seattle debut, and will give audiences a window into the research they will bring to the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation in August 2019 at Velocity.

Improvising in the Break brings together brooks' research project and practice "Improvising While Black," an ongoing inquiry into black social death, spontaneous movement, and survival, with Nelson's long-standing body of work exploring dance as a place to unravel personal identity, narrative, and whiteness. For both artists, spontaneous movement and dance improvisation offer a vital frame in which representation can be questioned, fear and hate investigated, and skepticism and self-preservation explored.

"At each step, [brooks and collaborator Mlondi Zondi] encourage their audience to join them in their emotional and historical excavation. They also build in moments of rest and reflection, whether through the group meditation or a pile of cushions designated for this purpose. They are guides of sorts, but not gatekeepers, and patrons who drift away from the pack are able to do so with dignity." - Erica Getto, The Brooklyn Rail

The charge of brooks' and Nelson's collaboration derives from the intensity and integrity of their work apart: brooks is a widely-recognized stalwart of dance improvisation, radical dance practices, and racial justice, performing at institutions like Movement Research and Judson Church in NYC. Most recently, they were a Movement Research artist-in-residence, as well as a 2018 WOW/UNY resident on Governor's Island. Meanwhile, Nelson has continued to be a cornerstone of dance improvisation in the US and abroad. Mutating the form of Contact Improvisation (CI), she co-founded mixed-ability experiments Dance Ability and Diverse Dance Research Retreat while later joining Lisa Nelson/ Image Lab's development of Tuning Scores for performance. At the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation in 2018, Karen instigated the part lecture/demonstration, part performance, part ritual, "CI interrogates it's own history and currency- investigations centering on intersections and stories of CI through the body, and currently tours it around the US and internationally.

Improvising in the Break will be the second live performance to come out of the cross-continental collaboration between brooks and Nelson, who met five years ago on Lasqueti Island in British Columbia. They have made videos, published collaborative interviews in Contact Quarterly and have negotiated BIPOC + allies spaces in workshop settings. Since meeting, brooks and Nelson have continued to research together intermittently across geographic hurdles, making this upcoming reunion in February an especially vital and heart-felt boost to their work together. Improvising in the Break is inspired by Karen and mayfield's reading of Fred Moten's seminal book, In The Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition.

Location: Velocity; 1621 12th Ave, Seattle

Tickets: $20 advance ($25 at the door); $17 FRIEND-MVP members; $15 under 25 (w/ ID); $50 Patron. Website:

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