Ok, this is what we here at ArtSake would dub a not to miss opportunity. Impulse Dance Company Artistic Director Adrienne Hawkins, in collaboration with Regie Gibson and Akili Jamal Haynes, will present the new work Life’s, lessons …. Learned or (When my soul looks back) A Choreopoem at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum this coming Thursday, August 9th (which by the way, opens its doors to the public for free starting at 5:00 pm). ArtSake is honored to have a brief moment with Adrienne before the proverbial curtain rises.
How did you come to team up with Regie Gibson and Akili Jamal Haynes? I have worked with Akili for about 6 or 7 years. We have done many projects together – The Path, Looking for Analog Love in a Digital World, to name a couple. We’ve performed at Framingham State, Stonehill College, Gardner Museum, Amazing Things Art Center. This is one of many collaborations.
This is my first time working with Regie. We have expressed interest in working together since he had seen the show The Path, which included another poet and dancers, singers, and musicians. The three of us teamed up because we have a similar view of our art, what it is capable of doing in the public arena, and how we like to express ourselves through our art. We work well together.
But the thing that I like the best is the blend between the old and the new. By bringing a hip hop group into the mix and the younger forms, blended with Jazz and Old Blues (both music and dance), Drums and Krumping, poetry or spoken word with images followed by certain images, we are able to bring a deeper communication to the stage. We are dancing to Blue and Green by Miles Davis, Misery Blues by Odetta, Krumpers dancing to drums, House music, snakes, love affairs, Al Jarreu, music composed by Akili, poetry not only by Regie but by Kent Foreman, all flowing seamlessly together because that’s what we are about, bringing our history forward with us to share, and learning from many, many sources.
What can we expect from the upcoming event Life’s, lessons …. Learned or (When my soul looks back) A Choreopoem? One of the things that I and my collaborators like to do is to take you through an emotional journey. We like for you to respond with your own feelings that match or complement what we are trying to say. We feel as though we want to put a mirror up to ourselves and examine the human condition in a way that is visceral, because that is when communication begins.
What’s the most surprising response to a performance you’ve ever received? Tears. There have over the years been a number of people who have cried seeing the dancers doing one dance or another. They feel as if we have touched them in a place where no one else has and have put their feeling on the stage for them to look at. One of the testimonies to our performances is people want to stay and talk, and talk, and talk after the performance… and sometimes we have to “kick” them out of the venue.
Over the last 30 years, what excites you as you see the development of dance? The new movement vocabulary that the younger people are bringing to the table. I don’t think they have figured out what to do with it, or how to use it as a tool for their thoughts and ideas, but the use of the body and the use of the music is refreshing.
What are you currently listening to? Books on tape… and NPR… lol… And I must say I’m mad they took Eric Jackson off the air during the week….
What do you make of all these Dancing with the Famous television shows? Couple of things: one, I think it brings a new group of people to the art form, and exposure is always good – look what it’s done for the sports world. Two, it’s bringing a new group of men to the art form, and there is a new male energy that has changed our perception of dance, and what technique can look like, and how it can be done.
Who was the most exacting performer you ever had the opportunity to work with? I’ve had the privilege of working with so many amazingly gifted dancers I could not put names out there, because I know I would forget some, and then I would feel bad.
Did you always want to be a dancer? I didn’t always want to be a dancer, but I was always a dancer.
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: Not knowing where you are going, and following your heart – has its advantages.
Life’s, lessons …. Learned or (When my soul looks back) A Choreopoem
Free and open to the public. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, Boston. Museum opens 5pm. Doors to the hall open at 6:45pm. Show is at 7pm. Limited seating. Produced, and Directed By Adrienne Hawkins,with Regie Gibson (Educator and Literary Performer) and Akili Jamal Haynes (Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Founder and Director of Chibuzo Nation). With Ricardo Foster Jr., Tony Tucker and Street Hype, 5-CD (5 College Dancers) featuring Tandy Nurse, and Joe Gonzalez.
Image credit: All photographs courtesy of Adrienne Hawkings.