What lands are important to you?

All land is important to me. In a podcast I was listening to, soil scientist Dr. Lydia Jennings said something like “we live in the soil, not on top of the soil”. When I am in cities walking, I am always trying to be in better relationship with that land. That means knowing what people belong to that land and if that land is threatened at the moment by extraction, or in the past, in the future.

Is that land in need or in desire of something? Sometimes there are people who know what that is, and sometimes it takes a different kind of listening to know what that is, and the way that I dance is to try to know that.


You talked about your choreographic practice as dance responding to the world, what do you mean by that?

We have this notion that performance happens during this moment where we gather indoors, there is a kind of coming-to-something that will be presented to you on a stage. And I want to throw that idea away.

When we dance, we think of taking down the walls. I want performance and dancers to be in relationship with the world, and to be responding, in the sense of being an active participant in the world. This means that the dance is an active participant with those who are choosing to witness it. But also it means – how can we be active participants with our more-than-human kin, with what is happening in the world? We cannot dance and forget that there is a genocide happening now in Gaza. We have to keep our dances in relation with the world.


Being Future Being: Inside/Outwards is part of a trilogy. What links it to the other parts?

Being Future Being is one work but there are 3 parts to it. What we are presenting at FTA is Being Future Being: Inside/Outward which happens to be the work that is done mostly on stage. Another part, Being Future Being: Underneath, happens in a large outdoor space. And Being Future Being: Land/Celestial has been created in relation with particular trees or tree stands that are threatened in the places where we are performing.


Being Future Being is a collaborative piece, involving many people organized into “branches”. Can you tell us more about that?

The way we make performances teaches me a lot about structure. The development of these branches came from Being Future Being. I was in ongoing conversations with scholars, thinkers and makers of knowledge like Karyn Recollet, Dylan Robinson, Camille Usher and Joseph Pierce. The conversation had flowed into the rehearsal process and they informed one another. I came to call this conversation the Branch of Scholarship.

The Branch of Making is all the people who are involved in making Being Future Being. The performers and collaborators Stacy Lynn Smith, Brandi Norton, Sugar Vendil, and Ashley Pierre-Louis; IV Castellanos, the production manager and Interkinnector, Raven Chacon, the composer, Korina Emmerich, who created the Quilt-Beings and Maggie Thompson, who designed those quilts in 2012.

The Branch of Knowledge is a group of womxn and femmes from Nations across the Lenape diaspora who work in creative guidance and new protocol forms.

The Branch of Action, is what I call the architecture of the overflow. It is what flows out from the performances with audiences and community partners. During the performance, I ask the audience to think about their relationship with the land and to orient their cells to justice. The dancers have already been doing this, for years… It’s exciting to think of what that mean. If the millions of cells that compose your body were oriented to justice, your body could only work towards justice.

Paying attention to the world with all of the senses is a way of relating to our surroundings that would benefit all, if we practiced it more. What might our future world be? What can we do together? And, after the performance, can we take action, together?

The goal of The Branch of Action is to craft Indigenous-centered actions that encourage collective community self-determination and direct response, support and action with local land rematriation and protection efforts.


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