West Virginia University will present AFROSOLO , a series of powerful one-person performances celebrating Black History Month, at the Creative Arts Center .
The performances are co-sponsored by the Center for Black Culture and Research and the College of Creative Arts’Division of Theatre and Dance. Admission is free to all performances, but tickets are required for general seating.
The first performance will beNo Boundaries: Dancing the Vision of Contemporary Black Choreographersby Gesel Mason. It will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre of the Creative Arts Center .
Recently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for historical preservation,No Boundariescelebrates the depth and diversity of style and vision in the field of modern dance with several of the nation’s leading contemporary black choreographers, including Bebe Miller, Donald McKayle, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Andrea Woods and David Rousseve.
In this dynamic piece, Mason raises questions about the filtering of culture and identity through art, questioning the changing nature and meaning of identity, and whether identity is important in appreciating works of art.
A native of Dallas, Mason is co-founder, artistic director, choreographer and performer for Mason/Rhynes Productions and Gesel Mason Performance Projects. She received her bachelor’s degree in modern dance from the University of Utah , where she was a guest performer with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and toured Germany with the Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah.
Mason also spent two years in Minnesota , where she was dance coordinator at Apple Valley High School , a member of Sam Costa’s 10,000 Dances and performed for DanceAfrica America as a member of Umoja, directed by Chuck Davis.
She taught and performed in Poland , first in 1995 with the Silesian Dance Theatre as part of the Minnesota Dance Exchange and again in 1999 with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She spent four seasons with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and is currently on faculty at the Dance Exchange School . She also teaches at Joy of Motion Dance Centers.
Mason’s work has been presented at the Walker Arts Center and Hennepin Center for the Arts in Minneapolis; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Majestic Theatre in Dallas; Diverse Works in Houston; and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She has performed at the International Association of Blacks in Dance and attended the Bates Summer Dance Festival as an emerging choreographer.
Her choreography has been commissioned by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, University of Maryland , University of Wisconsin , Sandra Organ Dance Company, Houston’s High School of Performing and Visual Arts, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas .
AFROSOLO continues Feb. 23 and 28 with performances of the playFree Jujube Brown!by Psalmayene 24 andEmergence-See!by actor and Def poet Daniel Beaty.
Free Jujube Brown!is a one-man, multi-character driven play that uses hip-hop movement and musical compositions to help tell the story of a young writer who accidentally shoots and kills a police officer. Through the guise of 10 characters, this performance creatively comments on such issues as racial identity, the commercialization of revolution, and the state of hip-hop culture.
Emergence-See!delivers a spellbinding performance as Beaty does multiple characters in this stirring piece. The story begins in New York City in 2003, where a slave ship has risen from the waters off the coast of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The play vividly shares the plight of African slaves during the Middle Passage and characters tell the stories of their experiences in this highly charged production.
For more information about the show or for free tickets, call the WVU Box Office at 304-293-SHOW.