Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Creating a space for black women's voices - Campus News

Creating a space for black women's voices - Campus News

Two graduate students recently created a club that lets black female students at NYU who are interested in dramatic performance network among women with similar interests.

Gallatin graduate student Geneva Thomas and Tisch graduate student Ebony Golden created the Black Women in Performance Studies Work Group, in which members can "explore black women performance methodology," said Golden.

This methodology, or technique, is a way of reflecting the "tradition we're coming from" on the stage, Thomas said. Mentioning the work of performers such as Ntozake Shange and Anna Deavere Smith, Thomas said this method of performance "centers the subject on black women, on our stories and our words, and it is heard in a black woman's voice."

Golden said the group is a solution to something that was missing in the Performance Studies curriculum at NYU.

"We noticed there's been a gap in experiential practice created by black women," she said. "So in our network, we can explore this in a way that is not controlled by people outside of black women."

Though based in New York and open to undergraduate and graduate NYU students and artists in the community, Thomas and Golden's group membership extends to the country's borders, from students at Duke University in North Carolina to the University of California campuses.

"There are black women doing this work all over the place," Golden said.

Thomas and Golden are currently planning a jazz concert in mid-December, along with a winter mixer to "exchange ideas," Thomas said.

"We're also planning a one-day symposium in spring, which will include a keynote speaker and panel discussion," she said.

The group is still being developed. Thomas and Golden are recruiting members and have recently created a Facebook page.

Tisch graduate student Ayanna Williams, who recently joined the group, thinks that all students at universities like NYU - especially those in minority groups - want to have their voices heard.

"It's not so much about separating ourselves as it is about being seen and feeling supported," she said.

"As of yet, there is not an organization like this on campus," Williams said. "We feel like we are filling a void by creating a support network, not only for us now but also for those students to follow."

Emma Davis is a staff writer. E-mail her at news@nyunews.com.

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Calendar of Events

  • June 1- Official Launch of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative
  • May 10, 7 pm, Gumbo YaYa @ Roses and Bread Women's Poetry Reading, Performance/Body Insallation, Brecht Forum NYC
  • May 10, all day, Experimental Theatre Final Performances NYU
  • May 7-8, all day, Gumbo YaYa, MA Symposium NYU
  • April 23, 6 pm Gumbo YaYa, -ism Gala NYU
  • March 26, 7 pm, Gumbo Yaya/ or this is why we speak in tongues, Tisch School of the Arts, Forum Series
  • Feb. 7, Brecht Forum, 730, moderating NO! film screening
  • Jan. 4, Common Ground Theatre, 8 pm, performance art night---Holding Space (a love poem for Meghan Williams)
  • Dec. 12, Ripple in Brooklyn, 8 pm, sharing poetic vibes for a jazz/blues show
  • Oct 27, Duke University, 9:45 am, Women Engage Hip-Hop Panel
  • Sept 14, PS @ Tisch, How Much Can the Body Hold
  • Sept 19, Righetous AIM, NC A & T
  • August 31-Sept 2, 75TH Highlander Anniversary
  • Anti-prison Industrial complex performance, Durham, NC
  • April 30 Shout Out, Carrboro, NC
  • April 24 Fingernails Across Chalkboard Reading, Washington, DC
  • April 14 Poetry Month Reading, Durham, NC
  • 3/31 Ringing Ear Reading, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday 3/21 - 7 pm Miller Morgan Auditorium, Performative Healing and the Work of Ntozake Shange, Lecture
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