Wideman Davis Dance to hold meet and greet at ArtsRevive Tuesday

Published 7:30 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

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The Alabama Dance Council is partnering with Wideman Davis Dance, who will be coming to Selma as part of an extended four-month residency that runs through October.

The residency, made possible by a $50,000 grant from APAP ArtsForward, features a project called ‘Migratuse Reimagined,’ a site-specific performance where the performers, Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis, create a production and take ideas of Black liberation of the 50s and 60s, which is the time period of the Selma to Montgomery march.

Wideman-Davis said the goal is not just to amplify the more well-known members of the Civil Rights Movement, but also the foot soldiers who may not have gotten a significant amount of media coverage while incorporating local architecture associated with the movement.

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“It will be based off the research we glean from being in the community and talking to the people in Selma,” she said.

The first phase of research will begin Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. via a meet-and-greet to be held at ArtsRevive.

“We wanted to invite the community to come and meet Tanya and Thaddeus, who are the co-directors of Wideman Davis Dance,” said Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director of the Alabama Dance Council. “There will be two other company members here next week as well. They can find out about what’s going to be happening over the next four months and what the performance is going to be about and begin having a dialogue around the content of the work.”

During the course of the residency, Davis said they will make several weeklong visits to Selma.

“We’ll be working in the community,’ he said. “We’ll be having conversations and teaching movement classes. What we want to get from those conversations is an opportunity to theatricalize different narratives from the community. The final residency week will be the week of the performance, which is in October. We won’t do any performing before then, but everything that we’re experiencing in the community is what we’ll be trying to create the final performance out of.”

Johnson said the duo will select three different buildings in downtown Selma to feature as part of the performance and the final performance would take place during a three-day span at those locations.

“The set is going to be outdoors,” Johnson said. “There will be projections on the buildings and an actor who is doing the script … It’s more of a performance experience. It’s not like going to the theater, being in a seat and watching performers on a stage. This is using the arts to create this narrative and using the actual architecture of these historic Black buildings that played a role in the Civil Rights Movements.”

Wideman-Davis said the performances would be more immersive so the audience can be involved in a more intimate way.

“This is a bit different where you can walk around and have different vantage points of the work as opposed to just seeing it frontal,” she said.

Johnson said the performance and all events preceding the performance will be free and open to the public, and added the Black Belt Community Foundation, Truth Racial Healing & Transformation, the National Voting Rights Museum, JourneysfortheSoul, By the River Center for Humanity and ArtsRevive make the group of community partners in Selma supporting the project.

“We’ve been working with these groups over the last several months actually to talk about how the work would happen in Selma,’ she said. “They’re helping to connect us to people.”