In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Endless Shout, the Institute of Contemporary Art presents Virago-Man Dem: in-process showings by Cynthia Oliver. These performances are set in motion by lead Endless Shout participant Danielle Goldman.
Endless Shout asks how, why, where, and when performance and improvisation can take place inside the museum. Over the course of six months, the five lead participants will initiate an unfolding series of events and encounters within ICA’s exhibition space. Major support for Endless Shout has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Virago-Man Dem will be an evening-length dance-theatre work premiering in New York in 2017. A work which troubles Virago’s reference to characteristically male behaviors as well as female cultural transgressions, Virago-Man Dem is a nuanced study in masculinities, and their multiplicities within cultures of Caribbeanist and African American communities.
The performances will take place on Wednesday, January 11 at noon, 2, 4, and 6PM, and on Thursday, January 12 at 1, 3, and 5PM.
Virago-Man Dem captures these masculinities through movement, spoken language and visual design and explores the expressions particular to Caribbean black masculinities, and black masculinities in general as they are performed and expressed by men, staged on male bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman. A full production of Virago-Man Dem will be presented in the winter of 2018 at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia.
Performers: Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus and Shamar Watt
Music composer: Jason Finkelman
Lighting Designer: Amanda Ringger
Costume Designer: Susan Becker
Visual Design: John Jennings
Projection design/animator: John Boesche
Cynthia Oliver is a Bronx-born, Virgin Island-reared performer who has danced with Theatre Dance Inc. and the Caribbean Dance Company of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. In the US, she has danced with the David Gordon Pick Up Co., Ronald Kevin Brown/Evidence, Bebe Miller Company and Tere O’Connor Dance. As an actor she has performed in works by Greg Tate, Ione, Laurie Carlos, and Ntozake Shange. Significantly influenced by the black avant-garde, Cynthia creates performance collages that move from dance to word to sound and back again toward an eclectic and provocative dance theatre, incorporating textures of Caribbean performance with African and American aesthetic sensibilities. She has been awarded and/or commissioned by the Franklin Furnace, The Jerome Foundation, Creative Capital, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the Illinois Arts Council, among many others. Cynthia, who holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University, has been a nominee for the Cal Arts Alpert Award (2009), USArtists (2015), and a 2015 nominee for the Doris Duke Impact Award. Her dance theatre work has been performed at The Kitchen, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, and The Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia, among many others. She is a Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.