Paper, glue, old magazines, glitter, antique typewriters: such is the stuff dances are made of.
All of these were used by approximately 60 people—including young African professionals at a Dartmouth summer academy and Upper Valley teens—in workshops June 25-29 at the Hop contributing to Dearest Home, the latest work by MacArthur “genius” choreographer Kyle Abraham. Abraham and his company, Abraham.In.Motion, gave a free work-in-progress presentation of Dearest Home on Friday, July 1, 7 pm, in The Moore Theater of the Hopkins Center.
As they have done at other Dearest Home developmental workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Abraham and his dancers engaged the workshop participants in explorations of love, loving, longing and loss, through large- and small-group discussion, guided meditation, the making of collages and “artist maps” to chart life journeys, and the writing of love letters, to themselves or others. The thoughts and expressions that emerged went into the slow-simmering stock pot of ideas from which Dearest Home is taking place. Abraham and company will do several more such residencies before premiering the work in San Francisco and returning to perform it at the Hop in fall 2017.
Abraham and his dancers first spent time with 25 African entrepreneurs (including visual and performance artists and other young creatives) from 17 sub-Saharan countries at Dartmouth for six weeks through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). The Dartmouth fellows are among 1,000 Mandela Washington fellows in programs hosted across the US this summer. While here, the fellows will take part in service projects for local nonprofits; work one-on-one with local peer collaborators in areas of shared interest; visit some of New England’s most innovative companies, including Generator, Maker Space, Ben & Jerry’s, King Arthur Flour and Timberland ; explore the outdoors through canoeing, hiking and a trip to Dartmouth’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge; stay one weekend with a local family; and attend a contra dance with local musicians.
Then, on two evenings, the process was repeated with about 15 teens associated with The Junction Teen Life Skills Center (a frequent Hop collaborator), plus Junction and Hop staff.