When he and I spoke recently, venerated choreographer Reggie Wilson opened my eyes to new and challenging ways to think about dance and movement. Wilson is at the helm of the post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dance company Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, and will offer a master class in modern dance tonight (February 27) at the Harvard Dance Center. (The class is at capacity and is not open to the public.) An edited version of our conversation about Wilson’s research, choreography, and style of dance follows.
What is post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dance?
What do you think it means?
I don’t know.
It means that it’s several words strung together, and you probably have to experience it to understand what that means. It’s dance – best to be experienced and not read. That’s the basic concept behind it, but actually and literally each one of those words are ideas that do relate to ideas that happen in the movement and in the research for the movement and in the structuring of the movement. At the same time it’s using the ideas that it’s being drawn from, and if you actually put them together as words they don’t necessarily mean something that’s immediately comprehensible.
What does research for a dance piece entail?
It can vary from choreographer to choreographer, and for me it can vary from dance work to dance work. So the research might be actual field research, going to work with a community to understand who they are – like ethnographic research. The research can take place in any number of ways and can also include work that’s actually done in the studio, trying to find new ways of moving or trying to perfect old ways of moving. Read more…