from the 2016 world premiere of what the body knows, a suite of three dances exploring the complex intersection and legacies of race and disability, here are bios of select artists:
Barak adé Soleil [choreography, direction, design and performance] makes dance, theatre, and performance art. An award-winning creative practitioner, he has engaged diverse communities within the USA, Canada, South America, Europe, and West Africa throughout his career. He is the founder of D UNDERBELLY, an interdisciplinary network of artists of color, and recipient of the prestigious Katherine Dunham Choreography Award presented by AUDELCO for excellence in NYC Black Theatre. His hybrid aesthetic speaks to the expanse of contemporary art; drawing upon traditions from the African diaspora, disability and queer culture, and postmodern forms. Barak is a 2015 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, 2015-16 recipient of a 3Arts/University of Illinois at Chicago Residency Fellowship, 2016 Choreographer-in- Residence at Rebuild Foundation, 2016 3Arts awardee and 2017 recipient of 3Arts Residency Fellowship at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 2016 marks Barak’s 25th anniversary of being involved in live arts.“Barak adé Soleil has been a powerful force for good in performance scenes across the U.S” -NEWCITY stage
Jerron Herman [performance] shares stories through body-centered performance and writings. Presently in New York City, Herman is a company member of Heidi Latsky Dance. Originally from the Bay Area, Herman holds a B.A from The King’s College and through his writing practice, has written and produced a full length musical and a one man show. Speaking eloquently on his identity as a disabled dance artist of color, he was the subject of a docu-interview with John Bathke. For his performance in the world premiere of the company’s recent work TRIPTYCH, The New York Times noted him as, “the inexhaustible Mr. Herman”.
Sadie Woods’ [collaborator in sound design; live performance of sound score] creative practice includes sound art and design, deejay performance, exhibitions, and collaborations within communities of difference. Chicago born with a childhood steeped in the arts, she received a B.A. in Music from Columbia College, a Visual Arts Certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School and MFA in Sound from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Projects include sound design for Free Street Theater and collaborations with artist Ricardo Gamboa. Sadie is a current resident artist at ACRE, SAIC’s Nichols Tower Homan Square, and participated in the Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive in Dakar, Senegal.
Penelope McCourty [creative associate and lead advisor] has worked artistically and administratively with several locally and nationally known dance companies and community arts organizations. As a performer and teacher she was a member of Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. Her choreographic work has been presented at St. Mark’s Church, Joyce Soho, Chicago’s Links Hall, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and San Francisco State University. She is the recipient of the 2014 NYU/Steinhardt School Exemplary Teaching Artist Award and the Elders Share the Arts Visionary Artist Award. Penelope is on faculty at The Berkeley Carroll School and facilitates artistic process residencies and professional development workshops through New Victory Theater and Park Avenue Armory’s Artist Corps.
Marcus Doshi [lighting consultant] designs lighting for theatre, dance, opera, and non-performance. His work has been seen at the Park Avenue Armory, Juilliard Opera, Theatre for a New Audience and extensively off-broadway; in Chicago at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He has designed for most major regional theatres and opera companies in the US and internationally at Canadian Opera, Holland Festival, La Monnaie, Festival Lyric d’Aix-en-Provence, La Commedie Française, Venice Biennale, and the Sydney Festival among others. Education: Wabash College and the Yale School of Drama; Assistant Professor of Stage Design in the MFA program at Northwestern University. www.marcusdoshi.com
Maya Lori [American Sign Language Interpreter; dramaturg for ASL choreography] is an interdisciplinary artist, often creating her work within written, video, drawn, and painted realms. Born and raised in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Lori identifies as having grown within liminal yet emotionally and energetically charged spaces, which is reflected in her work. From her family of a nomadic Jamaican father, a tender and eclectic mother, an expressive Deaf elder sister, and a bond with a younger sibling that blurs the small age gap between them, Lori found safety and love in intimate circles that paved the way for the artist she is today.
Nikki B. [documenter], a native of Chicago, fell in love with photography and established “GreyMatter Photography” with a mission to use her unique eye and photojournalist style to capture OMG (“Oh my God”) moments. She uses a documentary style to capture photos with a purpose. She travels throughout Chicago as a self-proclaimed “Artivist”, capturing the attention of youth through her mobile Exhibition entitled “Words Scar.” This has resulted in Nikki teaching youth 6-21 years old how to use photography to document their voice. As part of her photographer’s mission, Nikki believes Art is a catalyst of positive youth development.
Awilda Rodríguez Lora [creative associate in production phase] is a performance choreographer and cultural entrepreneur. Born in Mexico, raised in Puerto Rico, and working in-between North and South America and the Caribbean, Rodríguez Lora’s performances traverse multiple geographic histories and realities. In this way, her work promotes progressive dialogues regarding hemispheric colonial legacies, and the unstable categories of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Rodríguez Lora is currently a host/coordinator at La Rosario in Santurce(Puerto Rico) where she is creating, researching, and producing her life project, La Mujer Maravilla, while developing new strategies for the sustainability of live arts in Puerto Rico. laperformera.org