The Creation Project Showcase is a presentation of the work and talent of six African American artists by the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. Among the artist include poets, a playwright, a singer, a dancer, and a minister. Of the six artists showcased, I had the pleasure of seeing Vania Bynum and her project Excerpts from the Soul of a Woman, Christa Bell and her project CoochieMagik, and Gin Hammond and her project Returning the Bones.
Excerpts from Soul of a Woman
With a career in computer engineering most of Vania Bynum’s choreography is inspired by the exactness of math and science. Specific movements of her choreography are equal to a particular emotion, everyday action, or object. Her first dance features a video of interviews with women involved with the Iraq War, excerpts from a female soldier’s diary, and clips of life in Iraq intertwined with the movements of the dance. This dance rightly leaves the audience feeling the heartbreak of mothers with lost sons and the furious strength of women soldiers who are constantly in danger of being assaulted by their own commanders. With this dance, Bynum created a tragically beautiful piece. Her second dance becomes much more uplifting and joyful. Presented by a poem about the value and beauty of women, her solo piece and following trio piece become much more interpretive of the joys of being woman.
Vania Bynum performs Excerpts from the Soul of a Woman
Christa Bell is an award winning performance artist and poet but for this performance declared herself a minister. Dedicating her performance to her grandmother who was never allowed to be a minister, Bell preaches her newfound religion SHEism: The Woman Worship Way. The message comically delivered ways for women to love themselves, embrace their bodies and experience their lives through their bodies. Her preaching was full of energy and very audience inclusive but at times became surprisingly introverted. Her attitude sometimes made the audience feel as though it was observing her happiness more than it was experiencing it with her.
Returning the Bones
Gin Hammond delivers a stunning performance of an excerpt of the true story of Dr. Caroline Montier, Returning the Bones. In this one woman show, Hammond plays (at my count) seven different characters all with their own distinct voice, posture, and swagger. It was truly incredible to see one actor achieve all the different objectives of so many characters. Her talent and artistry causes the audiences imagination to fill her simple set with quaint country houses, bustling city streets, and the excitement of a college campus. I was impressed by this acting feat and the grace and poise with which she executed it.
May 16th, 2008
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