“Illegible” by bkSOUL and Collective Purpose
Dr. grace shinhae jun has been a valued member of the San Diego Dance Theater community for many years. She has taken some time to share a little but about “Illegible,” a thought provoking mixed-medium performance addressing acrimony and injustice around the #Black LivesMatter movement.
I am a child and product of Hip Hop culture who has trained in various movement styles that are represented in my work with the heaviest influence coming from Golden Era Hip Hop and modern dance. My work is centered on themes of social justice and representation. The emphasis of social justice through a hip hop lens has been heightened in my collaboration with spoken word poet Ant Black.
“Showcasing diversity” is what our collaboration is all about. Outwardly, we come from different racial and cultural backgrounds. We are a multi-genre group in which our expression of Hip Hop culture veers from mainstream standards. We often describe ourselves at the margins which I believe makes us unique. And I think Jean asked us to participate because our work is not so easily categorized.
I create dance work because I believe in the power of movement and performance. In a society that often privileges the mind, we rarely value the incredible intelligence of the body. I create work because I want to share my experience as a Korean American and to facilitate expressive storytelling by artists of color. When I saw Asian American fly girl Carrie Ann Inaba on the comedy show “In Living Color” in the early 1990s, I saw someone who looked like me and who blasted the stereotypes of docile and passive Asian women. This was amazingly affirming and I continue to be drawn to movement to push for my own and others’ empowerment.
“Illegible” grew out of ongoing conversations with co-directors Ant Black and Jesse Mills, and our other artistic collaborators. With the historical, current, and ongoing racial tensions that persist in our society and the growth of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, we sorely needed to share our voices. As I was finishing up my dissertation and Ant Black began writing his PhD dissertation, we read work by scholar Mark Anthony Neal. Ideas came like flashes of insight, and we poured our artist, activist, educator, scholar energies into the work. Jean commissioned “Skin” for Trolley Dances 2014, and we further expanded on the theme of illegibility to create an evening length work for the 2015 San Diego Fringe Festival.
“Illegible” is a powerful must-see Live Arts Fest performance.
Wednesday, April 20. 7:30 pm Tickets: $20 Buy a festival pass. Full access to ALL performances: $110