For C.J is a thought-provoking multimedia dance piece inspired by the life of my nephew Clifton Fearon, Jr. who unexpectedly passed from an asthma attack in 2017 at 20 years old. After his untimely and entirely preventable passing, I began to research the health disparities that are present in the community that I am apart of. The Bronx, where C.J. and I grew up, bears a heavy environmental burden in New York City. Urban planning has pushed populations of color to areas that face high levels of pollution. The asthma hospitalization rate for children in the Bronx is 70% higher than the rest of the city and 700% higher than the rest of the state. According to the NYC Department of Health, asthma hospitalization and death rates among Blacks and Hispanics are 3-5 times those of Whites.
For C.J. features my unique movement aesthetic that fuses my professional concert dance experience and masters-level dance training with hip-hop and Caribbean movement vocabulary. It uses themes of nature and the environment to translate C.J.’s life through movement, music, and visual art. Interdisciplinary artist Jasmine Murrell will design wearable sculpture, costume, and makeup. Murrell uses abstract ideas to represent both the medical field and the declining status of the environment. The set and props will be designed by the performer and visual artist Myssi Robinson. For C.J. is set to preview at BRIC on March 5 and 6, 2020 and recorded October 15th, 2020.
I am requesting funds to cover the recording of the For C.J.; arranged by multi-genre composer/instrumentalist Mike McGinnis who has composed scores for four other Davalois Fearon Dance (DFD) pieces. The new work will be scored for a six-piece chamber ensemble of bassoon, clarinet, violin, trombone, voice, and tuba. The music will draw from several compositional practices including minimalism, non-idiomatic improvisation, guided improvisation, reggae, and New Orleans second line. Having a high-quality recording expands our ability to show repeated performances of the piece when venues cannot accommodate live musicians.
For C.J. includes both a performance and discursive component which entails performances of For C.J. in communities with high rates of asthma, followed by panel discussions with local organizations committed to combating medical and environmental racism. This combination of performance and discussion effectively builds connections between organizations with resources and people who are in need of them. As a part of this initiative, DFD will host an asthma awareness event at BAX on March 29, 2020, where participants will have the opportunity to learn about asthma treatment and prevention. I am also partnering with MS 118 teacher Damian Griffin who is providing opportunities to collaborate with his school, where there is a sizable asthmatic population. I plan to use this initiative to inspire audiences to become socially aware and take action against these injustices. For C.J is set to premiere spring 2021 at BAAD!.
“Time to Talk” uses movement, music, projection art, and dialogue to call attention to racial inequalities within dance. It is rooted in research on American history and systemic racism and “For C.J.” is informed by this research. It has music composed and performed by Mike McGinnis. The music draws from multiple musical traditions including pop, electronic, reggae and classical. Some elements are pre-programmed, and others are performed live. The excerpt I would like to highlight is 21:12-31:00 performed by myself and Mike McGinnis.
“As Above, As Below,” a site-specific piece commissioned by the Bronx Museum as part of the BxMA Co-Lab dance series, created in dialogue with Gordon Matta-Clark’s exhibition “Anarchitect.” The excerpt demonstrates the artistry of myself and artistic collaborators. The music is site-specific and scored for three winds and electronics to convey the transformation from an alien landscape to the earthbound trappings of human beings. It is performed by Davalois Fearon Dance dancers and musicians Michael McGinnis, Brian Drye. Please begin at 00:47.
“Consider Water” combines three types of artistic expression – dynamic and fluid dance, original music, and visual arts – and was inspired by domestic and global water issues. The music was composed by Mike McGinnis and uses “found” sounds taken from field recordings made by McGinnis combined with live performed by Mike McGinnis, Jeff Hermanson, and Daina Lyn. The video projection art is by Andre’ Zachery and the dance is performed by Davalois Fearon Dance dancers. The particular passage I’m choosing is 16:22-20:08.
Start and End Dates
06/01/2020 — 06/30/2021
Manhattan, New York