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© Marion Vogel

Bronx Gothic

Okwui Okpokwasili

A fundamental work of the last decade in New York, the mythical Bronx Gothic is revived by Wanjiru Kamuyu – a razor-sharp and trailblazing solo performance about a black girl’s life in the Bronx.


Intimacies under construction

What do we need to survive? To be heard? To be seen? Since the creation of Bronx Gothic in 2014, U.S. dancer and choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili has taken this mythical piece to stages on several continents. In a powerful gesture of sisterhood, she has now handed it over Wanjiru Kamuyu, who gives a new body to this solo about the entanglement of violence and desire in the life of a prepubescent black girl in the Bronx.

Part dance, part theatre and part installation, the work is based on a raw exchange of letters, in which the intimacy of two young black girls develops in the shadows. With their troubling desires, first-time experiences and aggressions, they yearn to be visible to each other in a world that renders them invisible. Bronx Gothic is an embodiment of empathy; a razor-sharp performance that epitomizes an anti-racist, decolonial and feminist stance as it tells a singular human story.


Produced by Sweat Variant
Text and Original Songs Okwui Okpokwasili
Performed by Wanjiru Kamuyu
Directed, Set and Lighting Design by Peter Born
Music Peter Born + Okwui Okpokwasili 
Special thanks to Veronica Okeke
Sound Consultant Philip White 
Surtitles Operator Karyne Doucet-Larouche

Commissioned by Performance Space 122 (New York) + Danspace Project (New York) + LMCC (New York) + 50th Anniversary Grant from the Jerome Foundation (New York)

 With the support of Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg — Scène européenne + T2G Théâtre de Gennevilliers – Centre Dramatique National + théâtre Garonne | Scène européenne (Toulouse) + Zagreb Youth Theatre (Zagreb)

 Creative residencies Under Construction at the Park Avenue Armory (New York) + New York Live Arts + Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York) + LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development program (New York)

Thanks to Umechi Born + Ralph Lemon + David Thomson + Onome Ekeh + John Born + Cecilia Clarke + Andy Harman + Vinnie Dilio + Laura Brock + Dr. Bertram Okpokwasili + Eunice Okpokwasili + Silas and Mary Born + Ije Okpokwasili + Georgianna Pickett + Sam Miller + Anna Glass-Coquillot + Katherine Profeta + Karen Montrose + Jamie Boyle + John Wyszniewski + Marya Wethers + Nora Chipaumire + Devynn Emory + Baille Younkman + Einy Am Sparks + Liz Sargent + Rani + Kristen Schafenacker + CC Chun + Claudia Ibaven + Ben and Laurie Tollefson + Dominic Guertin + Judy Hussie-Taylor + Vallejo Ganter + Jaamil Kosoko + Carla Peterson + Abby Harris Holmes + Rebecca Robertson + Utsuki Otsuka + Jerad Schomer + Cassidy Jones + Clyde Wagner + Eleanor Wallace + Danielle King + Will Penrose + Melissa Levin + ladies of the dream + LMCC + Park Avenue Armory + Danspace Project + PS122 + HA + Sohui Kim + Ben Schneider + Kay Takeda + Pratchi Patankar + Sarah-Lee Joseph + Barbara Bryan + Jennifer Monson + New York Live Arts + Baryshnikov Arts Center + MANCC + Jennifer Calienes + Ansje Burdick + Rachel Howell + Dr. Joseph Hellweg + Chris Cameron + Afua Hall + Mark Morris Dance Group + Center for Performance Research + and many more who have provided support during our process. HCYS always + Kate Moran + Thomas Lax + Andrew Wallace + Adam Berkwitt + Joe Diebes + Sarah Fritchey + La MaMa + Nicky Paraiso + DRC sleepers + Mikhail Baryshnikov + Bill T. Jones + Ishmael Houston-Jones + Rhasaan Manning + Michael Lonergan + Nicolas Jenkins + Jef Ricker + Lauren Brown + Sean Bauer + Derek Lloyd 2014 RIP

Written by Enora Rivière
Translated by Jeffrey Moore

Premiered at Danspace Project, New York, on May 8, 2014

Presented in association with Fonds GB


© Michael Avedon

Okwui Okpokwasili (Brooklyn)
Sweat Variant

Okwui Okpokwasili, a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, comes from an immigrant family from Nigeria and grew up in the Bronx in the 1980s.


Full biography