This powerful multimedia performance takes shape at the Klein-Wallace plantation in Harpersville, AL. The collaboration offers a blueprint for reconciliation, healing, and hope for a way forward with shared narrative.
Klein Arts and Culture partners with the Alabama Dance Council to present Migratuse Ataraxia by the Wideman Davis Dance Company. This powerful multimedia performance takes shape at the Klein-Wallace plantation in Harpersville, AL. The collaboration offers a blueprint for reconciliation, healing, and hope for a way forward with shared narrative.
During an exchange program of artists from Columbia with the German city of Kaiserslautern, a collaboration between the Wideman-Davis Dance Company and Michaela Pilar Brown was born. And, the visual art and dance collaboration has recently developed a unique and innovative performance piece that explores Black bodies and experiences in the traditionally white spaces of historic antebellum homes. First presented in April 2019 as part of a residency with Historic Columbia, the piece titled Migratuse Ataraxia was presented by Klein Arts and Culture in partnership with the Alabama Dance Council at the Klein-Wallace plantation in Harpersville, AL. This video includes interviews the creators of Klein Arts and Culture and the artists about how the performance redefines how people might experience the former slave plantation, to make it “preservation with a purpose.”
“Migratuse Ataraxia” explores how enslaved Africans were erased from Antebellum existence. The Davis’ have created a work to illustrate that concept and will be taking it on tour to be performed in Antebellum spaces throughout the South.
The performance debut is set for April 19 at the historic Preston-Hampton Mansion and Gardens in Columbia. In this new digital media age, the duo is integrating all media into the performance, not just acting on stage. “For example, screens (iPad, mobile phone, computers, monitors) are a major part of the current culture and we attempt to reflect the culture by bringing screens into our work. We use screens to give the viewer entry points into viewing sets of ideas and themes being explored through a dance work,” Davis said.
Another important element of the project is the interdisciplinary artmaking and collaboration component. Antebellum spaces are historic repositories of a shared history of both the enslaved and the people who enslaved them. Wideman-Davis and Davis aren’t interested in creating a historical work, but they do feel the figurative weight of the spaces and feel a profound sense of responsibility to present authentic performances reflecting the times, so, their performances will take place in plantation homes.
Davis said, “We are working with contemporary movement and ideas that are very current, yet reflective on our past as we project future possibilities. To do so we are working with movement, sounds, food, smells and visual art ideas to help process.”