10 Minutes With Solo Badolo

DTW’s Studio Series kicks off tonight at 6pm with Souleymane Badolo showing work-in-process Solo’s Solo/”Basic”- a study on how NOT to go so low or too deep (with changes in direction). During Souleymane’s 100-hour creative residency he and choreographer Reggie Wilson met to investigate movement, gesture, repetition, and structure.  Looking to see when, how, and if narrative can arise from form and structure. Focusing on order, rhythm, patterns, texture, comparison and relationship they have abandoned improvisation, movement-invention, character and emotion.  There will be another showing tomorrow (Saturday) night at 6pm with In-Process Talks after each showing moderated by Nora Chipaumire.

The Studio Series offers an opportunity for research and development in a creative residency format, providing resources of time, space, and a commission. The Studio Series is a laboratory for physical explorations and new movement investigations with a focus on process, not final performance/product. The “performances” are intended to be informal public showings to share ideas with an audience in the intimate working space of the studio.  This season, I will be having quick conversations with each Studio Series artist to highlight the valuable investigatory nature of this program.

So, how did you and Reggie come to work together?

When I saw the performance he made with Andreya [Ouamba], it was a new thing for me as a way to make dance.  After that, I talked with Nora and we had an idea about asking him to make a solo for me.  His way of working was something I wanted to understand. I asked him and it took a while for him to say he could make some time to work together.  When I got the Studio Series, I said “I have space and time to show something.  Let’s work.”  So, our first step was to make something for the Dance Kings of Black Brooklyn in the fall.  Reggie was getting an award as an important black male dancer and choreographer in Brooklyn and I showed the first version of our dance for him at this.  Then, we came back and developed this dance out of a gesture. It isn’t only that I want to work with Reggie. There are many African American choreographers who work differently; the way they are moving is completely different. They don’t do ballet. It’s not African. It’s their own. It’s very different for me.  Like Trajal [Harrell], I spoke with him. I would like him to make some work for me.  I want to learn new things. I’m a dancer and a choreographer and I’d worked with a lot of people in Europe and the way they work here is different. It’s important to work with these artists and learn more, it’s for my own education, my own black, African education. I need this, I need these Americans to help me learn more about what they are doing and who I am and who we are. For me, I never went to school for dance like them.  I learned from the company and for events. I learned it by doing it and doing it. I want to work with people who think about dance with ideas that are exciting for me, like Ralph Lemon and Gus Solomon. For me, it’s important to talk with them and make the possibilities to make this work. When I see what people are doing in NYC, it is very contemporary and I’m very excited.

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