Tap dance is the primary force in my work and the basis for my rhythmic lexicon as a performance artist. This lexicon, inspired by hip hop, jazz, spoken word, and west and south African movement and sound, allows me to craft silence using sound with an intentionally Afrocentric frame. My work deals with questions of historical archiving, ritual, power, and black existence, by drawing from traditional movements in black culture (both historical and personal), from the ring shout in religious spaces to the cake walk. For example, in my performance installation “Humbled,” I examine the relationship of labor spaces, like the kitchen, in black culture and how such spaces transition spaces of strife to ones of joy, by telling the story of that shift through ritual. I ritualize the labor itself, its rhythm and movement, and exhaust its possibilities testing my own endurance and devotion.
I use the concept of time as a tool through which I undo the traditional arcs and expectations for tap dance and explore tap dance as a way of life rather than a momentary performance. I experiment with time using it in a variety of ways as short-form performance or performance installation or performance pieces with sound installation components, all of which stand outside of classical forms and performance lengths seen in tap dance. I am interested in creating work that captures the paradox in humanity. I am committed to shedding light on the in-between spaces that complicate human life; like, the rituals in daily life that blur the line between the sacred and the mundane or the spaces of labor and pain that are also spaces of community and hope. My work invites audiences to revel in the blur, knowing that in those blurred, in-between spaces difference melts away and new kinds of connection and abundance arise. Audiences should look for patterns in movement and the ways they are built, broken, and rebuilt in my work. I also use natural elements, water, light, sand, and fire, to mark time, guide rhythms, and obfuscate the audience’s view. I aim to educate and push audiences to question the polarities that we have come to accept.
My work encourages us to embrace the unknown and the “too much” that we fear most because it makes room for us to be more present and for sharing our whole selves. Making the “too much” known makes the impossible possible. As a performance artist, I am committed to creating work where tap dance and performance become sites of existence rather than events with a clear beginning or end. With this approach, I try to push myself to the “too much”. I access this using tap dance and black ritual/inspiration to deny the invisibility of black life, acknowledge intersectional identity as powerful, and highlight that blackness and queerness are keys to abundance, hope, and endless possibility.