Discomfort: A Long Table

A Long Table–a format conceived by theater artist Lois Weaver–is an engaging, non-hierarchical space for open conversation among the members of a community. We’re hosting a Long Table for dance, performance and other artists to talk about the place of discomfort in our lives, processes, practices and relationships with collaborators, audiences, our society and world. Please join us to listen or speak as you will. Pull up a chair and partake in this evening’s food for thought.

Curated and facilitated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa with invited participants, Joya Powell, Ashley R.T. YergensDan Fishback and NIC Kay.

(Photo: D. Feller)

Eva Yaa Asantewaa, recipient of  the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstaning Service to the Field of Dance, was first published as a dance writer in 1976. Her work has appeared in Dance MagazineThe Village VoiceSoHo Weekly NewsGay City NewsThe Dance EnthusiastTime Out New York and other print and online venues. In 2007, Ms. Yaa Asantewaa founded InfiniteBody, her popular arts blog (http://infinitebody.blogspot.com).  Ms. Yaa Asantewaa joined the curatorial team for Danspace Project’s 2016 platform Lost and Found and created the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, an evening of group improvisation featuring 21 Black women and gender-nonconforming performers. 

She created and hosted the Body and Soul dance podcast and the Serious Moonlight dance podcast, co-produced with Tei Blow, both available on iTunes. She was a member of the inaugural faculty of Montclair State University’s MFA in Dance program (2016-17) and the inaugural faculty of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography’s Moving Forward Dialogues dance lab for emerging artists (2017).

As a WBAI radio broadcaster (1987-89), Ms. Yaa Asantewaa worked with the Women’s Radio Collective and the Gay and Lesbian Independent Broadcasters Collective, co-hosted The Tuesday Afternoon Arts Magazine, and produced her own specials. Since the 1980s, she has also been active in service to numerous LGBTQ, feminist, POC and arts organizations and initiatives as a workshop facilitator in alternative practices of meditation, divination, ritual and wellness.

She is a native New Yorker of Barbadian immigrant heritage and lives in the East Village.

(Photo: Sammy Tunis)

Dan Fishback is a playwright, performer, musician, and director of the Helix Queer Performance Network. His musical “The Material World” was called one of the Top Ten Plays of 2012 by Time Out New York. His play “You Will Experience Silence” was called “sassier and more fun than ‘Angels in America'” by the Village Voice. Also a performing songwriter, Fishback has released several albums and toured Europe and North America, both solo and with his band Cheese On Bread. Other theater works include “Waiting for Barbara” (New Museum, 2013), “thirtynothing” (Dixon Place, 2011) and “No Direction Homo” (P.S. 122, 2006). As director of the Helix Queer Performance Network, Fishback curates and organizes a range of festivals, workshops and public events, including the annual series, “La MaMa’s Squirts.” Fishback has received grants for his theater work from the Franklin Furnace Fund (2010) and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (2007-2009). He has been a resident artist at Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania, the Hemispheric Institute at NYU, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, where he has developed all of his theater work since 2010. Fishback is a proud member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council. He is currently developing two new musicals, “Rubble Rubble” and “Water Signs,” and will release a new album by Cheese On Bread in 2018.

NIC Kay is from the Bronx. Currently occupying several liminal spaces. They are a person who makes performances and creates/organizes performative spaces. They are obsessed with the act and process of moving the change of place, production of space, position, and the clarity/meaning gleaned from shifting of perspective. NIC’s current transdisciplinary projects explore movement as a place of reclamation of the body, history and spirituality.

NIC graduated from Professional Performing Artist School and was a Hemispheric Institute EMERGENYC Fellow. They are a founding member of 3rd Language, queer arts collective. In 2014, they were a Chances Dances Marc Aguhar Memorial Grant winner. In 2015, NIC premiered their solo performance lil BLK in Chicago at Links Hall. In 2016, they developed a web series called the Bronx Cunt Tour around their debut solo performance lil BLK for Open TV, which premiered in April 2016. NIC Kay is currently a 2017 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence Van Lier Fellow in New York City. NIC has shown work, spoken on panels and hosted workshops at numerous venues throughout the United States and International.

(Photo: Lia Clay)

Ashley R.T. Yergens is a byproduct of growing up on tater tots and WWE SmackDown. He’s a 2016 boo-koo artist-in-residence at Gibney Dance, and a 2016-17 Fresh Tracks Artist at New York Live Arts. Please text your favorite emoji combination to him at (507) 412-1381.

A native Harlemite, Joya Powell is a choreographer and educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Her company, Movement of the People, is dedicated to creating Socially Conscious Contemporary Dance Theater. Her work has appeared in venues such as: BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, Lincoln Center, SummerStage, The Bronx Museum of Arts, FLICfest (AIR 2016), Casita Maria (AIR 2015), Symphony Space (commission – ZCO Dance Project), The Performance Project @ University Settlement (AIR 2013), and BAAD!. She has choreographed such Off Broadway plays as: Fit for a Queen by Betty Shamieh (The Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney (Luna Stage, NJ), JOB by Thomas Bradshaw (The FLEA Theater). Joya has been a Guest Artist at various colleges, conferences and festivals; she has taught and studied internationally in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Israel. Awards and recognition include: The 2016 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Bessie Award, 2016-2017 Dancing While Black Fellow, 2017 SDC Observership Program. Currently Joya is a Women in Motion Commissioned Artist, a collaborating member of Dance Caribbean Collective, a member of the Artistic Resource Group for The FLEA Theater, and teaches at Hunter College and SUNY Old Westbury.

Top image by Samantha Siegel