Cat Mahari with Rae Chardonnay, Amir George, and Daniel Haywood

If you play and make a statement...and it's a valid statement, that's a truth right there in itself.

— John Coltrane

 

Philosophy

I'm opening doors, a woman moving with direction, a child offering options to play.

I share narratives, freestyle decisions, and installation montages that hint at - and sometimes attempt to make explicit - a perspective I've either experienced or feel a sense of familiarity with. A doer of words and movement learning different ways of speaking and moving in the world. I do my best to transmit visions and bring a willingness to learn - from one to all, and back, and around again. The question of "What?" that leads to "So...?" guides my exploration and brings me hopeful delight in overseeing challenges of life. Though dance is an ephemeral art, I see movement wisdom in almost everything. This is my cultivation of power, thoughts, and care for action with those here, those there, and those to come.

The challenge question: Do the grounds that I traverse enable a clearer weaving of direction?

The trick is to press play and open to it.

BIO

Cat Mahari creates work with personal and collective transformational possibilities. She is a free style hip hop and house dancer, with ongoing training in multiple modern techniques, ballet, Krump, Traditional West African, Cuban Salsa, and Chen taiji. In addition to movement performance, she is also composes music and designs the video projections for a significant portion of her projects. Her practice-­‐as-­‐research interdisciplinary solo mixtape series Violent/Break: Vol I, that questions delineations of violence, premiered in London at the Brink Festival (2011), and has since been shown in Carei, Romania and Toronto, CA. Her residency at Charlotte St. Foundation resulted in the multi-­‐media interdisciplinary work Expectation of Violence/Rites due Spring: B-­‐ BAM!, that articulates systemic and specific events of Blackness and America in Kansas City, which premiered at La Esquina Gallery. B-­‐BAM! birthed the dynamic performance approach to dismantling anti-­‐Blackness BAM! the Workshop.

Rae Chardonnay Taylor is a DJ, Arts Administrator and events producer based in Chicago dedicated to encouraging a life of open-minded learning and expression. She began DJing in 2010 and has since held residencies at prominent venues in Chicago including the late Double Door, The Promontory and Soho House. She has circulated many private and public events to share her musical styling techniques opening for acts such as Janelle Monae, Jamila Woods, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Madison McFerrin, Megan Thee Stallion, OSHUN, Tiffany Gouche, CeCe Peniston, J Rocc, Just Blaze, Little Dragon, Big Freedia and many others.

Amir George is a filmmaker and curator. Born and bred in Chicago. Amir creates work for the cinema, installation, and live performance. Amir’s motion picture work has been screened at film festivals including Ann Arbor Film Festival, Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, Afrikana Film Festival, and Chicago Underground Film Festival as well as cultural institutions, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Anthology Film Archives, Glasgow School of Art, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, and Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit. Amir has organized cinematic themed symposiums at Cooper Union, and Talbot Rice Gallery at the University of Edinburgh. Amir has curated exhibitions at Transmission Gallery Scotland, and Silent Funny Chicago. In addition to founding The Cinema Culture, a grassroots film programming organization, Amir is the co-­‐founder of Black Radical Imagination a touring experimental short film series with Erin Christovale.

Daniel Haywood is a 2017 Chicago Dance Maker Lab artist, and an internationally respected dancer and educator of House and Hip Hop culture. He has been commissioned to speak, judge, host, dance and teach at many cultural events. He has worked closely with the University of Hip-­‐Hop, Temple of Hip-­‐Hop, and Urban Arts in Action Movement, Hip-­‐Hop Congress, the Universal Zulu Nation and the U.S.A. States Department. Daniel has dedicated his energy towards understanding the origins, developing concepts and mastering the foundations of Hip-­‐Hop’s cultural dance form known as B-­‐Boying/Breakin, while also focusing on Freestyle, House, choreography, music, and health. He is a member of internationally recognized breaking crew, Phaze II– Crosstown Crew, as well as a founding leader of Awesome Style Konnection (A.S.K.), a Chicago-­‐based all-­‐elements crew, and F.E.W. Collective which joined artist activists from across the City to create social change through the arts in Chicago and overseas.

works

Loving Each Other

Guiding Text: "In the Wake: On Blackness and Being" by Christina Sharpe

In what ways does touch allow lived experiences of Blackness to be celebrated, healed, and provide resilience? What is a cherished memory in relation to touch?

The current work of this collaboration is "Loving Each Other," a dance film centering Chicago-style Stepping, Chicago House, and footwork. This collaboration seeks to grasp ways in which touch within Blackness yields intimacy, is challenged by historical and generational distance, and services the communal and individual via an embodied experience of valued lives.

Christina Sharpe’s text, "In the Wake: On Blackness and Being," will guide the conversation, provisioning an understanding of the ways in which the lives of Black folks after chattel slavery, and during the historical mission of re-articulation, can give birth to new imaginations.

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