Yinka Esi Graves + Shamar Wayne Watt
Studio H at Gibney Dance 280 Broadway
DoublePlus presents three weeks of shared evenings for which established artist-curators each choose a pair of emerging artists and mentor them through the creative, production and audience development processes.
From Curator Nora Chipaumire:
“I am very excited about Yinka Esi Graves, a mature, serious thinker and flamenco artist. Shamar Watt is a strong physical performer with a nascent choreographic practice. These artists are both asking questions about the value of human life through different performance forms. What I care about most is how their aesthetics come through. Carrying the history and burden of blackness are relevant topics of discussion. But how do time, space and energy capture these issues? With little to no evolution in contemporary politics and economies of race, the body must become a weaponized agent of aesthetics for the artist. Graves’ and Watt’s performative explorations manifest the body as a site for these urgent concerns.”
About the Artists
Yinka Esi Graves is a Flamenco dancer. Her dance journey has taken her from ballet and afro-cuban dancing to studying Flamenco in Spain in the world renouned school Amor de Dios with artists such as La Lupi, Manuel Reyes and Pepa Molina. Graves’ work explores the links between flamenco and other forms of expression. In 2014 she co-founded dotdotdot dance alongside two other flamenco dancers. In 2016 the company was invited to curate and perform at the Lilian Baylis, Sadler’s Wells, for which Graves choreographed ‘I come to my body as a question’ a collaboration with spoken word artist Toni Stuart. This piece was performed in SAMPLED 2017 at Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry (UK). In 2015 Graves began working with former principal Alvin Ailey dancer Asha Thomas on CLAY, which will be part of Dance Umbrella’s ‘Out of the System’ program in 2017 (UK). Graves was featured in the documentary film: ‘Gurumbé: Canciones de tu Memoria Negra’ (2016) the first Spanish film to highlight the influence its African population had on Spanish culture particularly Flamenco. She has been performing alongside the film in its Spanish tour. Graves is currently developing a new piece with contemporary African dancer choreographer Mbulelo Ndabeni.
Shamar Wayne Watt, born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Jamaica and Miami,FL. He has been involved with sports (mainly basketball/football) for most of his life. He started with freestyle hip hop and dancing (mime/pantomime) in his home church during his later years of high school. Shamar was introduced to the arts through theatre; he started his dance technique training at Miami Dade College under the direction of Michelle Grant-Murray, where he was introduced to West African, modern and ballet. Before transferring to Florida State University he received his Associates degree in Psychology, and then graduated from Florida State University with his BFA in choreography/performance and a BA in Psychology. Shamar has worked extensively with artist such as Jawole Zollar, Ronald K. Brown, Netta Yerushalmy, John Jaspers, Cynthia Oliver, Camille Brown, netta yerushalmy, he is presently working(studio/rehearsal/research/sound assistant) and touring/performing with Nora Chipaumire. Shamar recently received the Dancing While Black Fellowship 2015-2016, also he has received the MANCC scholarship to go to Senegal to further his studies/research with World renown nora chipaumire. Shamar currently travels regularly to Zimbabwe as nora chipaumire’s assistant in developing the nhaka studies/research/practice. He has been invited to present his work at BAX, SLI directed and coordinated by Jawole Zollar UBW, and at the National Sawdust in collaboration with cellist Kelsey Lu. As an artist, Shamar is driven to create Art through the pursuit, dedication and declaration to the emancipation and liberation of the whole self-mind, body and soul for himself, his people and all of mankind.