A Meditation on Tongues (BAX Meditation 1)


Created By Ni’Ja Whitson
Performed by Ni’Ja Whitson and Kirsten Flores-Davis of The NWA Project


Friday-Saturday, May 6-7, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

Tickets: $16 General, $10 Low Income [HERE]
Limited seating

A Meditation on Tongues is a live adaptation of Marlon T. Riggs’ iconic documentary film, Tongues Untied. Part abstract, part performance ritual, part live and historical document, this rigorously layered interdisciplinary project (re)images Black and Queer masculinities.  It struts.  It snaps.  It frames new questions about loss at the height of the AIDS pandemic, while challenging constructions of love of/as revolution.

Developed for BAX, this presentation experiments with a deconstruction of Riggs’ collectivist aesthetics into a raw invocation that shape shifts gender, sexuality, and the body.  Conceived and directed by Ni’Ja Whitson and performed by Whitson and Kirsten Flores-Davis of The NWA Project, A Meditation on Tongues (BAX Meditation 1) remixes historic and embodied  invisibilities, spilling between the spaces of mourning and celebration.

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Artist Bio

Ni’Ja Whitson is a 2015 Bogliasco Fellow and a recipient of Creative Capital’s inaugural “On Our Radar” awards. Referred to as “majestic” and “powerful” by the New York Times and “multi-talented” by Gibney Dance, their performance and challenging work as an independent artist has received awards and recognitions across disciplines.

Whitson has been a student and practitioner of indigenous African ritual and resistance forms for over ten years, creating work that reflects the sacred in street, conceptual, and indigenous performance.  They engage a nexus of postmodern and African Diasporic performance practices, through the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and spirit.  Working internationally, creative and scholarly works include collaborations and performances for leading artists interdisciplinarily such as Allison Knowles, La Pocha Nostra, April Berry, Darrell Jones, Merián Soto, and Marjani Forté. As a noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic and accomplished improviser Whitson enjoys ongoing collaboration with award-winning artist Sharon Bridgforth, and currently as a touring company member of Bridgforth’s River See.  Additionally, Whitson is a member of Douglas Ewart’s (AACM) interdisciplinary performance ensembles touring notable venues across the country with leading creative and jazz musicians such as Mankwe Ndosi, Tatsu Aoki, and Joseph Jarmon.  Whitson’s work as an independent choreographer includes working alongside Dianne McIntyre on the 10-year anniversary revival of Crowns written and directed by Regina Taylor at the Goodman Theatre, as choreographer for Nia Witherspoon’s Messiah Complex and Susan Watson-Turner’s directing ofAnon(ymous) both of which received New York audience and ensemble awards. Recent Commissions and residencies include Harlem Stage, Gibney Dance, St. Marks Danspace, Dancing in the Streets, and residencies with the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance and Movement Research.

Other recognitions and awards include Time Out New York and Chicago Critic’s Picks, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Outstanding Ensemble Award, Downtown Urban Theatre Festival Audience Award, Vermont Studio Center Writing Residency, LinkUp Inaugural Artist in Residence, Chicago DanceBridge Residency, John G. Curtis Jr. Prize, Archibald Motley Grant, 3Arts Visual Artist Award Nomination, and a MFA Fellowship Award from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Visit nija.upshawhosting.com to learn more about their work.

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