Inspirational dance company Yewande 103 announced today its new production and screendance Fountain, a compelling, first of its kind new work created by contemporary dance visionary, choreographer, educator, writer and activist Alexandrina Hemsley, which will launch and tour across the UK this Autumn.
Fountain is a unique film that builds on Hemsley’s body of work around embodied advocacy and blends dance and digital watery environments to explore tidal cycles of repair, loss, bereavement, joy and intimacy.
This powerful work draws on the symbolism and psycho-geography of water as inevitably linked to Black histories, embodiments, experiences and mental health and will tour in partnership with Picturehouse and Kauma Arts. Guided by a tightly woven improvisational movement score created by creator and choreographer Alexandrina Hemsley, dancers Shahada Nantaba, Rickay Hewitt-Marti and Rudzani Moleya cycle through multiple interconnected, expansive, non-linear states. Contrasting digital visual effects of splashing waves conjure immersive watery states that splash, vibrate, drench and flood the screen, contrasting with a darkened theatre space as the trio shift between being seen, mirrored and camouflaged by water.
Fountain explores the undercurrents present in a racialised dancing body, through the spectrum of experiences within Black subjectivities that water evokes, and the significance of oceanic passages and colonial carving up of water and selves within Black existences. Considering the water within our own bodies in relation to the other waters within Earth’s hydrosphere, Fountain looks at the inescapable tides of life and death, welcoming how our watery bodies exist simultaneously as tides, tombs and sanctuaries.
In 2020, Alexandrina Hemsley founded Yewande 103 to formalise the past 10+ years of work in the contemporary dance field as choreographer, performer, writer, mentor and educator. With the vision to advocate and push for change against systemic racism and ableism in the dance sector, Yewande 103 centres the experiences of Black, disabled artists and audiences to build an ethical and inclusive model of dance production. Creator Alexandrina Hemsley said “It’s an important moment to launch Fountain through my organisation Yewande 103, which aims to foster compassionate spaces that work with care, agency and felt-level creativity.
Fountain explores ways water can hold, care, wash away, as well as draw on and reclaim space; be that physical, emotional or psychological. This will be an access-led screendance production to promote Black, disabled leadership in dance, to support and bring about change for artists who face health-based marginalisations.
My vision for Fountain arose after years spent turning towards water within my poetry and independent screendance work as a metaphor for my own experiences of mental health. I have strived to make a work that takes the autobiographical and expands it into an invitation to consider and encounter each other; to build creative universes which hold, show and protect Black bodies in all our multiples.” Dancer Rudzani Moleya said “I have a deep connection and deep sense of gratitude to be a part of the Fountain production and create a new experience for our audience.
It has been incredible and life affirming working and collaborating with the visionary Alexandrina Hemsley and wonderful to contour the other dancers and express all this emotion and then release it. It was powerful and necessary. I hope that together we have created a unique and timely work that can really heighten awareness and appreciation of Black experience and existence.”
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