Author: ks2vf (Page 1 of 2)

Pure Confidence

The first thing that grasped my attention was the setup of the stage. I was not expecting to walk into a room full of hay on the floor and to have two audience sections on either sides of the room. It created a different atmosphere than another typical stage setup with the audience on one side of the room. I believed that the room allowed the audience feel like they were part of the room and the story. It was interesting to be able to watch the performers and the audience’s reactions at the same time.

During the play, I felt slightly uncomfortable because I did not know if it was socially acceptable to laugh at certain remarks.For the majority of the play, I sat back, observed, and allowed myself to process the information. The main theme that I thought about was how the system was built against the enslaved. Even though there was a chance for the enslaved to become “free”, they were still considered slaves to society who did not have to be clothed or watched over by owners. Furthermore, they still could not vote and they did not get paid a lot. The main character had so much passion and drive to become free. However, the system and the oppressors were always obstacles and never made the process or the product of freedom easy. This translates to the present and how minorities always have to work harder to prove themselves in situations such as the workplace because society was set up to not support minorities. 

The Fruits of Denial

I believe that this section of the chapter ties into my other section from chapter 5. Those in power can create the narrative that is told throughout the country. They hid histories and facts from citizens. The downriver slave trade was virtually unknown until the last decade of the 20th century. This goes into more about how America tries to cover up their horrible histories. This relates to how most people, including myself, did not know about who Brother General Gabriel was or about the existence of the burial ground, I was not taught about him in school. It is the school’s job to teach students the truths of the past which does not mean only providing half-truths. What I mean by half-truths is only sharing certain information while manipulating or avoiding other information

Cross Currents

Cross Currents was a beautiful and powerful site-based performance. The choreographer looked intentional and everything made sense. Along with the choreographer, the way the dancers used the space, the music, the poem, and the lighting created a strong narrative that never left the audience bored.

The choreography was more gestural than anything else. The dancers used their arms; they performed a lot movements that brought the arms and hands in and close to the body and then back out away from the body. A lot of arm movements were repeated throughout the performance. The dancers also performed a low walk that had a bounce to it. The dancer’s bodies were close to the ground and they moved along the space with that movement multiple times. It provided a sense of the dancers trying to bear weight on their backs. The first person to perform the low squat/walk was the first soloist. Then the rest of the dancers did it. All of the dancers moving together with a sense of weight on them provided a sense of community and empathy. All of them appeared to be feeling or creating the same emotions with their bodies and it allowed the audience to clearly see their story. The group pieces generally provided choreography that made all the dancers move in unison or in a ripple/cannon effect. The connectedness in the choreographer also added to the aspect of community and all the dancers being there for each other. Overall, The choreographer created a group of women who were experiencing the same situation and were getting through it together. 

The dancers utilized the whole space and never stopped performing. Even when the dancers left the lit area, they had to gracefully walk away from the scene until the audience could not see them anymore. It showed power within the space and as if there was an energy that was running through the dancers the whole time. After the performance, one of the most interesting things I learned about the piece was about its references to the train station that is right beside the museum. There was a train sound in parts of the music and the reference was clear. The lighting included in the performance was well done. It lit the dancers and the space well and it did not create a distraction. It transformed the space from just a museum to a space that provides an artistic narrative to be told; it also created and set the tone for the performance. Along with the lighting, the costumes were simple. The simplicity of it allowed the audience to really pay attention to the movements and the dancers themselves. The costumes looked old as well which created a historical appearance to them.

The performance was well done and showed how site-based performances can create a different experience for the dancers and the audience. It is different to watch a performance on a stage than it is to be outside and on the same level as the dancers. It allows the audience to feel more connected to the work and the audience are more likely to remember their experiences.

Why are People Poor

The power analysis mainly solidified existing concepts that I already knew about. The exercises we did helped explain further about how the system is set up against minorities and how people generally blame the victims rather than the institutions that place people into bad situations. We talked about how there are many factors that go into making a working society and how they are designed to help some and disadvantage others. Some of those factors include systems like transportation, taxes, education, entertainment, media, criminal justice, employment and many others. Those are many systems that everyone goes through every day. Unfortunately, minorities experience the disadvantaging effects of those systems and a lot of people do not realize how much the systems are not benefiting them. After the power analysis sessions, I mainly felt frustrated that the rest of America could not go through the same power analysis that I experienced. I believe that there is a lot of ignorance circulating the country especially those who are politically active and those in powerful positions. I wonder in what ways can people properly educate the upper class and those in those powerful positions effectively.

Chapter 5

I am interested in the “Slavery and Revolution” section because I think that it can describe the foundations of cruel mentalities and behavior towards others and how it is evident in law making.

This section was describing how the media and the educational systems continuously broadcast certain information while withholding others. Since children are being taught certain information, society is molding certain thoughts and behaviors for future leaders with misleading mindsets and conceptions of the past. Moreover, generally rich, white men have a voice in different systems in society and they generally do not have the best interest for minorities.

MK assignment

Emergent Strategy and Intention for New Moon:

The tone I receive sometimes from leaders who want to lead a movement for political or social change is hints anger, passion, and intensity. However, after reading the “Emergent Strategy”, I felt at ease, hopeful, and inspired. One of the first things that the reading says is that the mindset for initiating change should come from a “place of healing, more than dominating others with our beliefs.” I think that a peaceful mindset will create better change rather than an angry one which could lead to further destruction.

 Another thing mentioned in the reading is that there is history in every living thing. I believe that history exists in the non living as well. It reminds me that everything has a past and that every situation cannot be handled the same. Knowledge about whatever social change we want to create is essential because of the vast amount of history in everything. Furthermore, history inevitably comes with change. The reading also states that we have to embrace change because there is no avoiding it. We have to learn to mindfully adapt to new situations. Adapting does not mean to blindly conform to new conventions. I think it means that we have to acknowledge change and see what next steps to take to take. 

Intention: After the burial ground, my main intention was to absorb more knowledge about the history and why we are doing the performance. The knowledge will allow me to better understand my position in the performance and how to better inform others.

The reading helped clarify my intention. I have to mindfully know all of the aspects of the project in order to help it progress. I want to not only be beneficial to the group but I want to extend what I learn and hopefully teach my friends and have them teach theirs. Hopefully, that will initiate more people joining in the commemoration of the burial ground and other places, communities or people that have been affected from racism or any other social injustice.

Process Reflection

Why was it important to perform at the actual burial site rather than another location or stage?

     The Brother General Gabriel performance was a site-specific performance at the burial ground. In my opinion, the essence of the performance and how it resonates with the dancers and the audience would have been completely different  if it were to be performed on a stage. Choosing to perform on the burial ground allowed the opportunity to bring awareness about historical/modern injustices, community building, and it adds a spiritual and more genuine commemoration element.

     The burial ground has markings but they are not obvious markings that notify people about the land. It is also right next to ongoing traffic and buildings that attract even more people to the location. The area is loud and chaotic which is not an ideal place for a burial ground. If the burial ground were for white people, it most likely would have tombstones and other markings. The city would go through more length to make sure the burial ground is peaceful and respected. Richmond neglected the burial ground and not a lot of people know it exists until someone educates them about it. Even residents of Richmond who lived there for the majority of their lives did not know about the site. Therefore, the site-specific performance allowed people to become aware of the space and hopefully try to learn more about it and start conversations. If the performance was on a stage, people would have not gotten the same message or feeling. The audience probably would have been a little bit confused and they probably would not have taken further steps to educate themselves about the land. Performing at the burial ground allowed people to physically see the land they pass by carelessly every day. It also appealed more than just sight and captured the attention of other senses: smell, touch and sound. The activation of the audience’s senses improves their mindfulness of the present and can improve their memory for the future. They can recall how they felt in the moment because more than one sense was working. The site-specific element made the performance more personal and forced people to be on the land that was neglected. 

     When people watch performers on a stage, they just sit in their seats, stay to themselves and just focus on the show then leave. However, for the Brother General Gabriel performance brought dancers with different skill levels and the community together at the same location and at the same time to experience a powerful gift. The audience had to interact and move with others in order to see the show and to be involved in it. It is a different feeling to be standing and walking around to watch performers rather than just sitting and turning the head to shift focus. Having to stand and move side by side with many neighbors creates different energies that unites people and forms connectivity between them. Also, since the performance was site-specific, people were able to join the performers with ease. People got the opportunity to actually walk on the burial ground and get to feel energies of old ancestors whose lives were horrifically lost. This was an emotional event. Additionally, the performers physically touched different aspects of the land. The bricks of the walls under the bridge had human contact, the trees, the grass, the steps, the ledge and even the air. Physically touching the land allowed for a better chance of feeling spiritually connected to the theme and ancestors. The site-specific performance also highlighted how the land does not get the peace and respect that it needs. During the performance, cars and people were passing by and noise was present. The dancers performing through the distractions showed strength and determination to give the land the awareness and attention that it deserves from the city and its people.

Furthermore, the ending of the performance was very impactful for everyone involved because everyone was joined together with singing and moving through the space. It would have been harder to achieve audience participation if they were seated in an audience and there was limited space to move due to seats, a stage and four walls.

     The product of uncovering historical injustices present in modern day society and involving the aspect of community building during a performance creates a genuinely spiritual and commemorative event. If the performance happened in a different location then the land would not have gotten the true commemoration that it deserves. 

How does the museum visit and the performance process / performance day differ from each other?

     The exhibit “Determined” and the Brother General Gabriel performance both presented topics of discussion about racial injustices but they were presented in different ways.

     The majority of the exhibit presented textbook-like information which did not make it personal. It discussed facts and dates from the start of slavery but then it skipped many years, as if nothing bad happened during the time periond, until it reached the present; this adds to the superificial and incensire quality of it.  The exhibit missed a personal aspect of their history telling. Adding connections from history to today, such as how the events from history are still affecting people today, is necessary and it was lacking. 

additionally, the walls even go from red, to orange, to brown, to green, and then to purple. It made it seem like society was bad during the time of slavery but since slavery “ended” and we had a black president then everything is better now. The colors symbolized pain and darkness and transitioned to a good and hopeful tone. The group discussed that the exhibit tried to cover up the reality and try to divert people’s attention to the successes of black people in America but do not highlight that the problems still exist. Injustices from history still exist today but they evolved which is why people think things have gotten better but in reality it has not. 

     Contrastingly, the performance presented information in a much more personal way. It also included fact information with signs and with the use of headphones that presented information to audience members. The museum presented more information and gave people the chance to read and receive at their own pace but the audience members during the performance could only hear the information once and had to move on. The personal element plays a bigger role than just stating facts. When people feel personally connected to something, they are more likely to do more research and take action to fight for whatever cause. The site-specific performance presented a neglected area that currently shows a lack of justice for black people while the “Determined” exhibit presents information about the present as if all of the problems became nonexistent.

What aspects of community building talked about in class present themselves during the performance creating process?

     In MK’s class, a set of class etiquette rules and agreements were established which included: trust (trust, practice, build), respect (where can respect appear and how: spatial awareness. Aware of feelings, allow agency) kind confrontation (it’s okay to disagree), encounter the growing edge, everyone has value, collective accountability, move forward in 2s and move back in 3s. During the performance creating process I think that trust, collective accountability and move forward in 2s and move back in 3s presented themselves.

     When I am involved in a performance, I am used to having structure and having a general sense of the process and the final product. For the Brother General Gabriel Performance process, I found that MK worked in a process-based way. Every day was a new experience and she was constantly changing ideas and concepts in order to come up with the end product. The process made it feel like there was no clear idea of the end product and everything was pieced together last minute. However, it was easy for me to think things like that because I was not the one who was in-charge of the creative process which was a lot to do. Unfortunately, I lost faith in the project along the way because I found the uncertainty in things to be discouraging. I had to remind myself that I made a commitment to the class and the performance and had to trust that everything will work out at the end and trust in my own abilities to set those changes into my body. I had to sit back and go through the process one day at a time and just go with the motions.

     Collective accountability came into play because everyone had to come to class meetings and rehearsals in order to show commitment and to keep the intentions alive. It is important as performers to respect rehearsal times and to be completely present. If everyone stays mindful of their roles and contributes 100% of their energy than the project is able to progress over time. For the performers, the accountability aspect can simply appear when we reminded each other to go over certain sections of the choreography to practice. Everyone played their roles in the project which allowed for a great performance.

     Moving forward in 2s and moving backwards in 3s related to the creative process because the project was constantly changing and the performers always had to adapt to changes and different expectations of how something is going to happen. One day the dancers would learn a set of choreography but then the next day it would be completely scratched. Ideas and inspirations were always forming and the dancers always had to work with that process. It did not seem like we accomplished a lot during each individual meeting but overall we ended up learning a whole performance. It reminded me that not everything can happen in a day but some things need months or even years to prosper.


For the first part of the blog post, I will write down the notes in the order I took them while watching the play.

  • Beginning of the play a character mentioned how passed the lake, there is a slave graveyard that does not have any markings. Meanwhile, there is another graveyard that has tombstones. Later on in the play a character says,” you would hardly realize you’re there until you are on it”.
  • The walls on the stage showed signs of residue from old picture frames but the only picture left on the wall was a big picture of the old white man. I felt like it was a sign of only commemorating old white men.
  • The characters were talking about how when the house is sold, the construction workers would destroy the graveyard in order to build other things such as a Walmart.
  • One quote that stood out to me was,”maybe he was a slave to his upbringing”.  A character was explaining a possibility as to why their father could have had the pictures of the lynchings. Maybe the lynchings were normalized and the dad grew up in a community where it seemed okay.
  • I felt like when the children could not believe that their father was part of the lynchings at first it was like how some privileged people or institutions do not acknowledge issues and try to erase history. It also reminded my of why Untold RVA is so important. Things are being uncovered from the passed that seem surprising and that were hidden.
  • The father who passed was supposed to become a supreme court judge. The daughter found this as an accomplishment and as a sign of her father being a good man but in reality that is a scary thought and shows was is happing in politics and society today. Minorities do not have a fair chance in court due corrupt minds and policies that privileged white men created and try to stand by. Continuing about the daughter, I feel that she always tried to flip the script and shift blame from her father to others. She thought other people were the problem and that her father was a good man in her eyes. Also, I found that she cared more about her brother being a sex offender but stays blind to the fact that her dad was a racist man.
  • In Act 2, I think they showed the dilemma of sharing and over sharing. One of the grandchildren tried taking a photo of one of the lynchings to post on instagram. In a way it is good to share things like that to educate people but it is also sensitive material that could bring up traumatic emotions from others.
  • One quote from one of the grandchildren was,”All I learned is that everything is a secret” when talking about why she came to the house to learn more about her father and her grandfather. That was like Richmond and how a lot of things are hidden due to institutions covering things up.
  • one thought that came up during second act was: people can be nice but still participate in cruel things. Some things were normalized. White people did not view black people as humans which made it easier for them to do bad things to them such as lynchings. This could explain why people can appear to be a good person but participate in bad things.
  • One sign that the dad was racist was when he saw his son’s black college roommate and would not look at his face. He even later told his son ” keep an eye on your things” as if the black person was going to steal his stuff due to stereotyping.
  • A character brought up that their son did not know the meaning of the photos because they were not taught about lynchings in school.
  • I related the photos thrown into the lake as the lynched bodies floating through the river.
  • “your family makes me crazy” said one of the female characters when she was explaining why she turned violent at the end. The environment that you live in makes you do things that are not necessarily “you”. The family subconsciously had the thirst for violence so then she naturally responded to her environment and became violent herself. This could also explain how some people were able to participate in lynchings. When people around you seemed okay with it, eventually your brain will think it is okay too.

I wanted to talk about how some people do not know what to do to make up for the poor past. The play mentioned how “I’m sorry” means “I’m Sore” which is the oldest ritual and part of the healing process. However, we need more than “I’m sorry” sometimes and need effort and time for true healing. People should not brush over or cover horrors from the past due to embarrassment. People need commemoration and justice. There is also an argument some people have about how they do not pick which family lineage that they are born to. So they do not have to make up for wrong doings that their ancestors made.

I also related how the family tried selling the pictures for profit and not to educate or to to try to make right to the museum we visited. We talked about how we felt the museum was artificial and was not personal at all. I feel like institutions try to make profit then really trying to educate people and to commemorate victims.

Camille and Social Justice

Camille A. Brown’s style is social dance. She first describes dance as a language and then social dance as an expression that emerges from a community. Her work uses traditional African movements and the social dances that came from them and uses them in her choreography. The style is not very technical such as ballet or other contemporary companies such as Alvin Ailey. The choreography that she produces allows the dancers more freedom with their movements than if they were performing a piece for most companies. Most companies and pieces developed contain certain techniques that the dancers have to do well. Camille A. Brown gives the steps that have rhythm and the rest is up to the individual to make it into their own. Another aspect of her movement quality is to make the movements more pedestrian like which also helps make it less technical. 

Another thing that she mentioned was that humans develop music and she likes to utilize and create a lot of rhythms. Camille A Brown said that Africans used dance as a language and it expresses their identity, so dancers should dance the movement in a way that is true to them. In a way, she is commemorating African traditions that created many social dances that have been white-washed over the years. Many of the social dances that become a trend, roots from black people. However, the majority of the dances are highlighted in the media and at social gatherings by white people. The dances have been appropriated and Camille A. Brown pays tribute to the dance’s origins. Similarly, Untold RVA shares stories that have been concealed by institutions and she brings light to its true history. 

My question to Camille A Brown is how did she fist get into social dance and how long did it take her to develop her craft to become noticed and successful? Also, was her movement quality and her choreography accepted at first or was their hesitation from the public? After watching the performance, my new question is: what first motivated Camille to stay true to her craft in social dance and when/how did she decided to advocate for black history through dance?

Digital Storytelling Done Right?

     I picked the Harvey Milk digital journal to analyze because it appeared to be about history and the digital journal for dance and commemorative justice has historical aspects to it. I thought that it would provide ideas on how to present historical facts well. Harvey Milk’s digital journal was well made. The information presented was well organized and easy to follow. The narrator provided a lot of information. Along with the ample amount of information, there were a variety of different pictures. The pictures changed throughout the video which kept my eyes from being bored. Unfortunately, the audio malfunctioned in the middle of the video. The voice was loud and clear but then it shifted into a quieter volume which made it hard to hear. It was hard to focus on the new information and pictures because the audio was not normal. I would have liked to see more videos of Harvey Milk rather than pictures to change the dynamic of the video. Additionally, another voice could have been used so that the viewers do not have to listen to the same voice throughout the video. 

     I also watched “FYS education digital story”. The main critique I have for this video is that the narrator’s voice is monotone which made it boring to listen to him speak. However, the video had many good qualities. I liked that he made the digital story personal by describing his experiences with his job and the kids, and how he discussed the language barrier between them. He also added many photos and video clips which added a variety of visual effects. I felt like I was on his journey as he was in another country because he made the video like a personal story. I thought that the personal aspect and storytelling that this digital journal provided is what is needed for my own digital journal.

     For my digital journal, I want to make sure that it has a good amount of information that educated people but is not overwhelming. I also want to add personal elements by possibly adding interview clips from dancers, audience members and others. Also, I can add video clips and pictures from the performances, rehearsals, and from moments traveling around the burial ground. I want to make sure that the audio is good. I want to avoid a monotone voice and want to make sure that the words spoken are clearly understandable. I also want to avoid disorganization. I have to make sure all of the information presented flows and makes logical sense.

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