Historic Columbia and Wideman Davis Dance present Migratuse Ataraxia

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Historic Columbia and Wideman Davis Dance present Migratuse Ataraxia

Performances April 15-18 will interpret the Black experience at historic locations

Historic Columbia will host nationally renowned Wideman Davis Dance (WDD) to present a reimagined “Migratuse Ataraxia,” a performative art installation that centers Black experience and embodiment in racialized spaces, from April 15-18. Each evening’s performance will be an hour in length, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The original “Migratuse Ataraxia” installation and performance, which was workshopped at Historic Columbia’s Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens in April 2019, centered on the humanity of enslaved Africans in an antebellum home despite the oppressive bondage under which they lived. In 2021, the performance intentionally shifts by exploring the journey from spaces of enslavement to those of Black liberation and empowerment. Participants will travel a route where they will encounter the artists’ responses to historic structures through large-scale projections, sonic environments and live performances that speak to Black potential.

This mobile performative intervention begins at the antebellum Hampton-Preston site and ends at the former home of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, South Carolina’s most notable civil and human rights activist. By focusing the energy on this temporal and physical migration, WDD reclaims the representation of Black bodies and narratives, creating new visual, emotional and intellectual entry points in an immersive, interactive setting. The creation of this performative work will be informed by facilitated sessions with community groups, including students from Allen University and Benedict College and seniors from the Columbia Housing Authority residential programs.

Directed by Wideman Davis Dance, performers will include Tanya Wideman-Davis, Michaela Pilar Brown and Thaddeus Davis. The performances are enhanced by numerous collaborators, including Michaela Pilar Brown, Myron Beasley, Adrian D. Cameron, Petra Everson, John Green, Allen Hahn, Gina Kohler, Ron McCall, Darion McCloud, Michael McManus, Eto Otitigbe and Tony Stoeri.

The presentation of Migratuse Ataraxia is made possible through the support of Central Carolina Community Foundation, New England Foundation of the Arts, South Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and the University of South Carolina.

Held April 15-18, 2021 from 7:30-8:30 p.m., performances will take place at various locations along a half-mile route beginning on the Laurel Street side of the Hampton-Preston grounds. Attendees should expect to walk the route, but those who need to travel by vehicle can make arrangements by contacting Historic Columbia. Registration is free and limited to 30 people for each performance. To register, visit HistoricColumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 x 23.

To learn more about Tonya Wideman-Davis, check out our recent interview with her as part of our Artist Minute series.


About Migratuse Ataraxia

Migratuse Ataraxia (2021) is a performative architectural tour that centers Black humanity in response to time, COVID-19, histories, migration and speculative Black futurity.

Migratuse means, “Migrated, departed, to have gone away, having been changed, and the habitual patterns of moving from one place to another.”

Ataraxia means, “Calmness or a peace of mind, emotional tranquility.”

About Wideman Davis Dance

Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis began Wideman Davis Dance in 2003 in New York. The company is currently a bi-located company in Columbia and Chicago.

Wideman Davis Dance has a deep commitment to exploring social and political issues through an African American perspective. The company makes work that is inspired by, and engaged with, current issues, including race, social class, gender and location. They consider critical inquiry an essential component to the development and sustainability of Wideman Davis Dance. Embodying education as practice, the company connects with various communities of all ages through residencies and by increasing awareness of social and political issues.

Wideman Davis Dance works in collaboration with artists, scholars, universities and community organizations to shift the traditional company model and level hierarchical relationships.

About Tonya Wideman-Davis

Tanya Wideman-Davis is the Co-Director of Wideman Davis Dance and is on faculty as Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Theatre and Dance and African American Studies. With an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, she completed her Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF in 2012. Tanya has danced with many world-renown companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Ballet NY, and as guest artist with Ballet Memphis, Cleveland San Jose Ballet and Quorum Ballet Amadora, Portugal.

Wideman-Davis has received multiple honors and grants for her work, including 2021 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant (2021), South Arts Momentum Grant (2019), Alternate Roots Artistic Assistance: Project Development Grant (2019), NEFA National Dance Project Grant (2018), UofSC Provost Grant (2017), Map Fund Grant (2013) and Jerome Robins New Essential Works Grant (2011). She has received international acclaim as “Best Female Dancer of 2001-02” by Dance Europe magazine. Tanya’s academic, choreographic research and lectures examine race, gender, femininity, identity and location. She has recently contributed a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet titled Dance Theatre of Harlem: Radical Black Female Bodies in Ballet.

About Thaddeus Davis

Thaddeus Davis is the Co-Director of Wideman Davis Dance and Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina.

Through the lens of the African American experience, he questions notions of spaces and environments that affect the interaction of gender, class, race, technology and media’s ability to shape our perceptions. His research findings are exhibited in the creation of original dance works, films and essays.

Davis has received multiple honors and grants for his work, including National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant (2021), South Arts Momentum Grant (2019), Alternate Roots Artistic Assistance: Project Development Grant (2019), NEFA National Dance Project Grant (2018), USC Provost Grant (2017), Map Fund Grant (2013), Jerome Robins New Essential Works Grant (2011), USC Arts Institute, Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Reading/Dance Collaboration, Balance: Homelessness Project (2009), Canvas: The Master Class (2010) and Cultural Envoy to Portugal, U.S. State Department.

As a fellow of the 2016 South Carolina Collaboration on Race and Reconciliation, Davis is committed to being an active participant in South Carolina’s efforts to improve community relations and support conversations on race and reconciliation.

About Michaela Pilar Brown

Michaela Pilar Brown is a multidisciplinary artist using photography, installation, collage, painting and performance. Brown’s installations, collage and photographs address issues attendant to the Black body. She uses nontraditional materials and their juxtaposition to each other, and or dissimilar objects to make statements about the body and its relationship to larger cultural themes of age, gender, race, sexuality, history and violence. Her work considers memory, myth, ritual, desire and the spaces the body occupies within these vignettes. The narratives move between past, present and surreal projections of the future, sometimes occupying these spaces simultaneously.

Brown is the 2018 grand prize winner of Artfields juried art competition. She is a 2018 inaugural resident artist of the Volcanic Residency, Whakatane Museum, in Whakatane, New Zealand. She was one of the six American artists selected to participate as a Resident Artist for OPEN IMMERSION: A VR CREATIVE DOC LAB produced by the CFC Media Lab, The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and JustFilms | Ford Foundation in Toronto, Canada, an Inaugural Resident Artist at the 2016 Sedona Summer Colony and a 2016 Artist in Residence, Kunstlerwerkgemeinschaft Kaiserslautern, Germany, and has held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the McColl Center for Art and Innovation. She is the Executive Director of 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia.

About Historic Columbia

In November 1961, a small group of visionary citizens intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next six decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would assume the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit historiccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

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