A screening and discussion that explores how film can be used to document Black dance and also used as a creative tool in itself to push the boundaries around dance and performance. The panel will be chaired by Pawlet Brookes MBE, CEO and Artistic Director of Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage, with guest panellists: Cayla Mae Simpson, an interdisciplinary movement artist creating works through dance and film; Georgina Payne, Digital Innovation Project Manager at Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage; Maureen Salmon, Senior Lecturer for the Design School at London College of Communication; and Peter Badejo, Founder of Badejo Arts. This screening is part of Unearthed: Forgotten Histories.
Witch Doctor (1952)
A seminal film by Haitian choreographer, Jean-Léon Destiné, first created for stage in 1948, it was filmed in 1952 by Ritter-Young Lerner Associates and went onto receive international acclaim at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Milan Film Festival. The film is a dance stylisation of a vodou ritual with Destiné in the titular role, alongside Alphonse Cimber (drummer) and Jeanne Ramon (possessed woman).
Steel ‘n’ Skin (1979)
A group of artists with a pioneering spirit head into some of the most impoverished and neglected parts of Liverpool to tackle ignorance and celebrate difference in areas where it’s often castigated. Filmed over a 10-day workshop, the project was clearly memorable to Liverpudlians, young and old, Black and white. A marriage of diverse cultural heritages from Africa, the West Indies and generations of Black British culture lie at the heart of this fantastic community arts project.
Emi ijo – Heart of Dance (2000)
Emi ijo was created by Badejo Arts as an exploration into the experience of migration, the fight for survival and the triumph of the migration to new land. An inversion of Joseph Conrads’ book Heart of Darkness, Emi ijo was a water site-specific production in a boat which sailed on the River Thames from Greenwich Pier to the South Bank Pier to celebrate the new Millennium and the tenth anniversary of Badejo Arts.
Let Freedom Ring (2023)
The civil rights movement from the March on Washington through to Black Lives Matter provide a stark reminder of social indifference and stagnation of dreams for social change for the African Diaspora. It features Djoe Tomakloe, filmed by Cayla Mae Simpson, commissioned by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.
There are threads that keep us together, that tie together, regardless of past, regardless of heritage. Sisterhood is an observation of connection in the modern day, an observation of sisterhood and the multiple facets that come with navigating sisterhood and friendship as Black women in the ferocious world of today. It features Francesca Matthys and Georgia Thompson, filmed by Cayla Mae Simpson, commissioned by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.
Back Garden Joy (2023)
London. The concrete of all jungles. Grey walls, concrete floors and blossom-less trees. Consuming these elements all day through the windows to one’s soul can begin to grate on one’s heart, making London’s tenements hard, grey and dim like the very bubble we get locked in at times. It features Jade Hackett and Jennifer Grey, filmed by Cayla Mae Simpson, commissioned by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.
The Residue of a Stagnant State (2023)
The Residue of a Stagnant State was born from the questioning of inheritance versus experience, how and where the remains of an empire live on in the London we inhabit today. As a team they pondered what amount (if any) of our past is carried into our present, be that experiential or ancestral. Featuring Georgia Thompson, Francesca Matthys, Jemima Tawose and Kendra Chiagoro-Noel, it was filmed by Cayla Mae Simpson and commissioned by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.
Invisible Power (2023)
Invisible Power is a piece exploring the effects of mental health from a Black intersectional perspective. Follow two dancers moving across the city of Newcastle persistently seeking their own quiet moments, unleashing their quest for rest across the architecture of the city. Featuring Igor Tavares and Lauryn Pinard, it is filmed by Cayla Mae Simpson and commissioned by Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage.