Tag Archives: WAUPTBI

11Dec/17
Alvin Ailey

Art Affecting Humanity: Alvin Ailey ‘Shelter’ to address Homelessness

Affected. Something that we, as citizens of the globe, often feel that we must be less of in order to survive. However, Alvin Ailey is reviving ‘Shelter,’ a piece choreographed by Urban Bush Women’s Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and aims to make us feel just that; affected. Originally performed in 1992, ‘Shelter’ is a “work that frankly addresses the pain and isolation of homelessness,” says the choreographer. The all-female piece reflects not only the struggle but the resiliency of those who are chronically homeless, she notes. Resiliency that, I feel, is part and parcel of the human spirit that we all share. Just as homelessness affects us one and all.

‘Shelter’ is set to debut for the renown dance troupe’s current season in NYC, a place where blatant homelessness is rampant and it is customary to turn a blind eye. As per inspiration for the piece, Zollar remarked that upon settling into NYC in the 80’s she “realized that as a coping mechanism [she] had stopped seeing the people who were homeless… that was [more] dangerous because it was a loss of humanity.” Humanity being all facets of experience, whoever and wherever you may be. I am currently in Barbados, and homelessness is too. While in the city, I had a stranger point out a characteristically homeless man, explain that they went to University together and that he used to be a lawyer. Perhaps knowing the man forced the strangers conscious to acknowledge him, whereas the other people on the street simply passed him by without a glance. I would then ask: must it directly affect us for us to take part in affecting it? A resident New Yorker myself, I have found that turning a blind eye requires us to repress our Souls. To repress the constant call for sympathy as well as the underlying fear of relating. However, the issue and relevance of homelessness cannot be ignored into non-existence. Whether through dance, art, outreach or otherwise, it begs of us to be constantly addressed through awareness and action.

I send energy to the notion that we are not powerless in this matter. Not in aiding those who are afflicted nor in preventing it for ourselves. But our power lies in our ability to give. Not speaking solely of our money or our time, but of our attention as well. In giving our attention to and, therefore, shining a light on the very things that we wish to push into the darkness, the threat of darkness itself disappears. As opposed to our hearts having to do so instead. Especially if Ms. Zollar and the Alvin Ailey Dancers have anything to do with it. So as audiences pack into the plush seats of City Center’s theater, they will be reminded of the transiency of ‘having’. It is indefatigably important to foster contact with our humanity as often as possible; especially to the experiences that we may feel are not applicable to us at the moment. This is exactly what will be accomplished, yet again, with ‘Shelter’. As James Baldwin said ‘…the Artist knows, and must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”. So yes, it could happen to you. Perhaps it has happened to you already. May there be continuous attention given and inspiration found to address such a prevalent affliction. May we be led to fostering a future where it does not exist. It is possible.

Alvin Ailey 2017 Season happening now.

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27Jan/17

We Are The Universe Pretending To Be Individuals/As Per the Airport Detainees

It isn’t as if POTUS Cheeto has managed to clone himself and send his minions to enforce the executive order. Those that are implementing these shameful and immoral dictations are citizens like you and I (saying that as referentially as possible, fully acknowledging the entire rank and system is one big delusion of grandeur). They are people who have to work for a living, rely on their jobs for healthcare, and likely have immigrants no more than 3 generations removed. If there was a twinge of consciousness and concern, it was likely overruled by instinct to maintain their own livelihood first. This delusion has become the means by which we are made to feel that standing for what is right risks our own survival.

In any war or oppression, the citizens are the ones to carry the burden of some power-hungry, greed-stricken aristocrat. It could be said that the armed forces and the like are just ‘doing their job” but not speaking against what is wrong silently reinforces it. An injustice to some is an injustice to all, with the opposite being true as well. We as humans have such a capacity for love that we do not necessarily get to exercise within this manufactured society. I don’t believe that true freedom is in being able to choose which color refrigerator we want or which ecosystem disrupting fuel we use to heat our home. I truly believe that true freedom is not a solitary movement.

What if majority of those who are responsible for carrying out these tyrannical sanctions simply refused? What if the man power that is necessary to abuse and oppress were to fully awaken to its TRUE power? It may seem far-fetched, but it is entirely possible sine what a man can think, he can do. Why “squabble over pieces of the Earth”, when in our truth we ARE Earth. We are slowly coming to realize that our true freedom lies in the fortification of the collective and our ability to outwardly manifest the sanctity and oneness of all. We are crawling towards awakening, but there are plenty who are still mired in darkness. For now, that is okay, as they are as necessary to our advancement as our own vertical movement is. We can spread our light simply by continuing to be that light, but it is going to take a lot more than just doing so for ourselves. We have to be as adamant and soaked with conviction as those of us who choose to preserve hate. What if we ALL found ways to show and share our light consciously so for the benefit of Humanity? Especially within our own Cultures and Communities where we have adept influence. How much more powerful will we be when we choose to put our lights together and perpetuate a greater good!

It is easy to wish the climate were more conducive to our growth but if man had nothing to resist him, he would not exist. More so now than ever, I am consistently asking myself how I can contribute to our united ascension. We must each pick our avenue; for some it will be fiery protest while for others it will be watery ritual and visualization. Some will plant the seeds and some will build the shelter, but we all must do something. I am glad you are on your electronic device reading this, but in knowing better, we are required to do better as well. I know you have a life to live and a self to preserve but your soul is eternal and you are a part of the whole. What will YOU do? We need you.

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