PillowVoices: Dance Through Time

Choreographing the Social Consciousness: Part 2, The Body Politic(al)

Episode Summary

In part 2 of this several-part series, we explore how dancers and choreographers have embodied and confronted social constraints and constructs. Highlighing conversations between Pillow Scholar Maura Keefe and Carmen de Lavallade, Tere O'Connor and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, we discover personal, artistic, and political perspectives on age, culture and queerness.

Episode Transcription

[Music begins, composed by J.S. Bach, performed by Jess Meeker]

NORTON OWEN: Welcome to PillowVoices, a production of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with content from the Pillow Archives. I’m Norton Owen, the Pillow’s Director of Preservation, and it’s my pleasure to introduce Pillow Scholar Jennifer Edwards who is also the director/producer of PillowVoices. She will be your host for this episode looking at how dancers and choreographers have both confronted and embodied social constraints in different ways. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS: What does it mean to use your embodied experience as source material for your art? This is a question that I have confronted as an artist, who mined her body and her life for creative inspiration and always with an agenda. For this episode, I sought dancers and choreographers who could speak to this practice. One aspect that strikes me when looking to find conversations about embodied politics in the archives, is that what is available, may seem more philosophical or intellectual than focused on the physical. But when speaking about dance, most dancers don’t talk about their bodies - perhaps because our bodies are the instruments - the tools and the media through which we create. And so I suppose I am asking you to go on a journey with me - one where we acknowledge that what these individuals share in words, is expressed physically in dance and therefore exemplifies embodied politics.

We begin with some sage advice that offers a window into one artist’s lived experience of giving oneself the permission to be free within the creative process. Here is Geoffrey Holder, writer, designer, visual artist, choreographer, dancer, a voice you may remember from 7-Up commercials in the 1970s and 80s and of course husband to the ineffable Carmen de Lavallade. Holder speaks to his take on age - or maybe his lack of concern with it.

GEOFFREY HOLDER: I am still a child, will alwaysbe a child. I am 77, going on 10. I have to, I see the world like a little boy, I will always see like a little boy. Greg, ‘what’s that? Why?’ I saw my brother’s face, ‘I don’t need that, neh, neh, neh, neh.’ Get it out. We see things, you have to get it out, don’t keep it in. There is no such word as ‘never,’ or ‘no you can’t.’ You are telling yourself that. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS:Now, unfortunately, the quality of that recording is not very good, but I had to sneak in at least a moment of the fount of wisdom that was and is Geoffrey Holder. We will shift the narrator now and hear from Carmen de Lavallade in conversation with Pillow Scholar Maura Keefe in July of 2004, when she was at the Pillow performing with Gus Solomons Jr. and Dudley Williams, among others, in Paradigm, a company of dancers who, at that time were all in their 60s and 70s.

MAURA KEEFE: You said in an interview in 1979, ‘you can take a lifetime to discover what you want to say in your art.’ And, you have worked with such a range of choreographers, not to mention…


MAURA KEEFE: And, and directors. How do you keep discovering new ways to work? 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: Well, that’s the challenge. That’s the challenge. You start on something and then you have to, you take what you have and then you have to, you listen to the choreographer because they have their ‘vision’ and you try to give them their vision, but then sometimes it’s kind of a, you know, you, you ‘metamorphose,’ or whatever. You, you kind of shape yourself, shapeshifter. Hey, that’s a good one. You know, you have to shape yourself and mold yourself to what they would like, but, but it takes experience. And I, and even old nightclub experiences I’ve had, believe or not,hatedit, but it was a great experience. 

MAURA KEEFE: So do you think now working with a younger choreographer like Move or Rhoden that they’re feeling the, the pressure of Mr. McKayle’s presence and Mr. Ailey’s presence. 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE:Oh, I don’t know. I think they’re, they’re kind of. Hi, Richard. That I think they enjoy working with. I’m, when, when, you know, I’m, make them understand, you know. Poor, Richard. You know, I kept saying, Richard, ‘Miss Ruth here, Ruth St. Denis movement please,’ you know, ‘few arms.’ Like, you know, because we cannot fly all over like the young people do, nor, nor should we. But I knew in Dwight Rhoden’s piece it was really nice to do, I don’t, in, in fact he did it in two hours and we can’t even remember doing it. We got in the room and something happened and it just flew. And he can’t remember doing it, and we can’t remember doing it, but it just worked. 

MAURA KEEFE: So then you had a dance after... 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: Yes. He, you know what he said which was really very nice, is that, ‘as you, as you mature.’ Let’s say, it’s not getting, I hate that word old. The pyramid’s old. The, you know, it’s, it’s maturity. You get richer. And, and what happens is that, Dwight said, he said, ‘you know why I like working with you and Gus, or people like you?’ I said, ‘why?’ He said, ‘because when I give you movement you're already performing it. You don't have to do all the intermediate. We just go right to the, you know, right to what it’s all about.’ 

MAURA KEEFE: But it sounds like that’s what you were saying Lester Horton was teaching you to do right from the very beginning…

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: In a way, he gave us that imagery. And Carmelita [Maracci]. Now, Carmelita, you know, you get that old, you take those rond de jambes, you know those things? ‘Eee,’ and then the leg going out like this, she said, ‘you know where that came from?’ She’s this wonderful lady. She says, ‘it, they had skirts and it’s kick the skirt, kick the skirt, the flounce goes up,’ and what happens when you have that in your imagery, musically it comes out right. You don't have to say and one and two and one, you don’t have to do that. You just go kick the skirt and it automatically, the leg goes where it’s supposed to go and it just does it. And I tried it in my classes, you know, I get the, the youngsters to do the, the rond de jambe - oh, and they get very happy. It really helps. Or this old thing when you get to the barre, and you go like this, and like that. She says, ‘you know where that came from?’ She says, ‘real time Italian things.’ I guess, good old Italians. Yay. Said, ‘from my heart to you.’ That’s where it came from. So that when you do your barre, this thing to there, means something instead of arm in, arm out. You know? And it gives you something, gives it, do you understand what I mean? And so she gave it, you know, I mean we have, you, we have these balances, and you balance, and you balance, ‘I want you to suspend like El Greco paintings.’ So, long, and if you have that in your mind, you just go up there and rise. And Lester would say ‘you’re crawling through this, or you’re in a box, or you, your relationship to one another,’ you know, it’s all that, so you’re, you’re focused in on relationships. Of course, in those days it was the, the story, we did more stories. Now it’s more abstract. I find that challenging when I work with Johannes [Wieland] and with, with Richard [Move]. It’s a challenge for me to really go abstract, you know, that’s a kind of, that, that I can’t say hard for me, but it makes my brain work differently. 

MAURA KEEFE: We, I mean, something I’m appreciating very much about what you’re saying is we often think that dancers are, even from Walter Terry’s comment in 1953, calling you an instrument of expression, that, but it doesn’t necessarily acknowledge the, the, the body-mind engagement. What’s the way that you take the image and how does it open your heart? 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: There’s a lot of mind work there. I mean if it doesn't it comes out very, very stiff and automatic. It doesn’t, it, it the body’s a great communicator. And we see it every day, that's how we communicate with, we don’t have to say anything because somebody can sit there like this and we know exactly what they're thinking. They don't even know it. You can tell, the, you know. And so that we communicate all the time with the body. But to put that into music and phrasing, and, and it’s much more complicated than most people think. And I think it’s when you work that way, I find that young people like working like that so it’s not always, you know, you better get your leg pointed. If you have a reason to point your leg, it’s going to point. If you, but your, it comes from your imagination. 

MAURA KEEFE: With your performances this week at the Pillow, you will now hold the record for the longest performing career at Jacob’s Pillow. 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: I can’t believe it. Yes. Norton Owen told me that and I couldn’t believe, ‘no, that’s not true,’ you know, ‘that’s not true.’ But you see time goes so by and you know I do things and I just move on. I don’t count, I just move on and I enjoy my past. 

MAURA KEEFE: Can I ask you to look back at your first performance here with Lester Horton?

MAURA KEEFE: Could you say something about the company Paradigm and how that came into fruition? 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: Well that came because of Gus Solomons. He called Dudley Williams, and myself. Hello, Dudley. Dudley Williams and myself, Mr. Williams was there. And asked if we would like to work together and, and I found it very interesting because, you know, I call us the ‘Becketts’ of the dance. I, I like Samuel Beckett’s plays. I like the sparseness of it and the strangeness of it. But I just found it very interesting to take our age, who we are now, and to take that and develop a way of moving. And I always feel that each age has its story to tell, and that, I find that when you’re mature that there are things to be said and I don’t see why that it’s always the young folks that have to say it. You know, they haven’t experienced it yet. So it, it, they can’t say what we can say. And we are still part of life and we can still move. We don’t, the young people doing exactly what they should be doing. Flying all over the place. Bending their head, you know, their, all that stuff, legs flying, that’s wonderful. That’s exactly what they should be doing. But I think as you go you have to find other ways of saying what you want to say. That’s the, the lovely part of being in plays because they can go on, they have, they have substance, they are things to say, and words to say. And it would be nice. When I was coming up, my god, dancers danced way up, José Limón, even Martha, and all you know, danced way beyond what. Kids thought now in their 30s, they’re just getting good at that. By the time you’re there, that’s when you really start going. 

MAURA KEEFE: That’s when you find the experience of performing finally. 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: Oh my goodness. Yeah. That’s why I like the Complexions dance company because they're all that age and they're fantastic, they are men and women by that time, and their, their bodies are just great. And their, and the energy, they don’t stop, it's fascinating. But I think that sometimes now we’ve been cutting out a little bit too soon on certain things. But maybe there’s a way of finding another way, of, of finding another way of continuing dance in a different way. So we, and I find that the young people like it. We’ve got to get together and have a great time, and I think the younger choreographers find that maybe they, they have to be a little more imaginative because they have, they, their, con, not, I can’t say constrictive, but, yeah. 

MAURA KEEFE: You can’t, you can’t fall on…


MAURA KEEFE: The, the trick. You know? 

CARMEN DE LAVALLADE: But it becomes interesting, but then the working situation becomes very interesting. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS: de Lavallade makes so many important points about dancing over the course of one’s life as well as working in intergenerational collaboration. As we age, we gain knowledge and awareness in our bodies, minds and in how we connect with any task at hand. This makes me think of the grooves that cover the surface of any human brain. We know that those grooves deepen over time and represent well-worn neural pathways, caused by repetition. 

It only makes sense that this applies to the muscle memory of performance as well. Age, or maturity, as de Lavallade reframes it, should be a boon, not a detriment to a dancer. However, in our current society, dancing, professionally, in one’s 60s, 70s and 80s is a rarity and therefore counter to our culture or a radical act, one that disrupts the status quo and challenges perceived norms. 

This next clip of Tere O'Connor, in conversation with Maura Keefe, centers sexual orientation and the phenomenology of growing up a closeted gay individual. The closet represents the act of putting away or hiding aspects of oneself from society due to a fear of persecution. O’Connor shares how his choreographic practice was shaped by and explores structures of consciousness, disconnect, and queerness.

MAURA KEEFE: I, I think both because it’sWeekend OUTand because of some things you’ve written and said, it seems like a place to start by talking about the closet. Physical space, a symbol, a structure, a code, a threshold, a creator of identity. You wrote in creating the work Cover Boy that’s here this week that you’ve extracted structural conceits from the closeted gay experience to help you in the choreographic process. I wonder if you could just talk a little bit first about how you would define the closet. 

TERE O’CONNOR: Uh-huh. Well, I mean, in this instance I’m talking about the closet that we’re thinking of and talking about and I, I have to really in this point in history make a difference because what's going on and what's going on when I was young in a very rural area are quite different. And I'm really happy that things are changing. And the closet I'm talking about is a sec, a completely secretive life that was based on a fear of death. You know, I mean it was not, there was no one gay where I grew up. And I knew it at a very young age. And so right away you become a little driver inside your body like in the eye of like driving this body that you're not really in anymore. And this idea of a surface that's generated for the community or for the kind of people who have agreed to standardize human behavior versus what you're feeling, you are immediately outside. No one knows you're outside, you're presenting a version that's obeying all the rules, but inside you're seeing things, things completely differently. So this division...


TERE O’CONNOR: Of surface versus internal motors, repli, is replicated in dance for me. 

MAURA KEEFE: So, I mean, it almost feels like you’re saying it’s like almost slightly disembodied. That, that you feel like you're there and you're presenting something...


MAURA KEEFE: But then you're removed from it at the same time. 

TERE O’CONNOR: You are both, you’re kind of like your body is like a big puppet that you’re sending out and you’re telling it what to do, but you’re not really engaged in it fully. 

MAURA KEEFE: Do you think that you knew, that you knew to perform roles that you felt like this is what the expectations that everybody has of me, so this is how I ought to act and conform. I mean, do you...

TERE O’CONNOR: I feel like that…

MAURA KEEFE: I mean, do, do you remember making those conscious choices? 

TERE O’CONNOR: No, I feel like a lot of it’s really accidental. I feel like it's really just taken me this long to just simply say that I think that the, the extremity of my closeted experience. Apart from the kind of Lifetime movie element of it, the emotional part, which was big, but also, like, where it situated me definitely created what I make. It is absolutely the one, the most generative information about how I see dance maybe differently from other histories of, around dance. 

MAURA KEEFE: Well, I, I’ve been thinking a little bit about this idea that, that you sort of are performing already, that you’re sort of figuring out how to perform a role.

TERE O’CONNOR: Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah, yeah.

MAURA KEEFE: And, and I’m wondering if you think that feeds a kind of creativity. Or, or maybe I should make it more, as you said, more specific to the sort of generation that you’re talking about, that it fed a kind of creativity because you already were acting? 

TERE O’CONNOR: Yeah, that’s a part of it I think. And that’s part of what's going on in a dance, is a kind of subterfuge of things like virtuosity or artifice pushed to an extreme. Our versions of saying to people, ‘I’m doing something that you’re not doing right now and I’m not really here.’ So the idea that you’re always perpetuating artifice says, ‘you can’t take this as real.’ And that is one layer of what’s going on in the dance. Other things that are moving more towards the real, I mean I don’t know exactly how to say that, but to layers that are further away from any kind of definition or any kind of nomenclature. So you go in and out. And in the work for example, in one’s personality…

MAURA KEEFE: In, in Cover Boy specifically? 

TERE O’CONNOR: In Cover Boy, really inallof my work. This kind of, this kind of detachment, that I don’t think only of as a negative word, of the kind of motors that generate the dance as it moves forward versus the symbols that are riding on those motors go in and out of dissonance and consonance with each other. And that’s the same thing kind of with one’s personality. There’s certain places where you just only present facade because you're either just disinterested or feel unsafe, and other places where there’s a different blend of those two things that can come out. Like the ‘real you’ can be more engaged with the ‘facade you.’ And I think that’s what's happening a lot of, overtimes in, in my dances, definitely, willfully, is that I am setting up artifice or, or moments that make people lean in and say, ‘that’s kind of entertaining,’ and then another dog comes up that has more bark through it somehow. 

MAURA KEEFE: Uh-huh. So, so I, I’m thinking about this sort of notion, maybe, of dance as a place of, of refuge because of its, because of its non-specificity of, of language, or something. And I'm more, you know, if, if, if there’s the facade you, and then there’s the real you driving that, it feels like you already were living in this world that maybe is a step removed from…

TERE O’CONNOR: Yeah. I mean it could be but it’s also a step closer to a more balanced view of consciousness. Where language isn’t so frontal in your experience, it’s not, it’s not the only thing that defines you. That a kind of, ideas like rumination versus specific, specific knowledge, versus experimental ideas, versus the unknown all converge in a way in dance, and in, in the conscious mind that we’ve built systems to ignore. So, for me, dance can kind of offer us a look at consciousness that’s more expansive. That says, ‘there are many things going on that are restrictive in your lives and have you made a choice to do that, or is that happening to you?’ And so there’s a kind of basic politic of saying, ‘here’s another way of arranging the stuff of consciousness.’ 

MAURA KEEFE: So, I, I, it seems like maybe a little bit you’re head, heading toward thinking about, or I’m heading…

TERE O’CONNOR: Let’s say we. 

MAURA KEEFE: We, we are heading towards thinking about maybe narrative and the specificity of language that goes with narrative and how your work is often both non-narrative and anti-narrative. And, and talk, can you talk a little bit about the importance of abstraction in dance for you? 

TERE O’CONNOR: Mm-hmm. Well right now I think one of the things and this, this really has, has a lot to do with the kind of, the closeted realm because I think it’s some of my first works, and slash in many dance works from the modernist tradition, there’s a kind of obfuscation of a story. The abstraction, there was a story, and then you spray cloudiness on it, and that’s what abstraction is. And that, for me, isn’t what I'm interested in, what I’m, I’m looking at abstraction as the other side. The way out to more. It’s like a portal into a much more ample way of knowing everything. I mean, I even think it’s something that I would dare say we could, we could take ideologies in choreography and press them towards politics, literally to Congress, to say that there are different measures, things are out of balance and we, we are only living in a place of definitions of polarities and that a more spectral look at things might be a kind of antidote. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS: I love where O’Connor leaves us, with this question of how certain elements of choreographic and embodied practice might offer a non-dualistic approach to governing - one that might facilitate a less polarized, more balanced state. 

I think of all of the various ways in which we define and differentiate groups of people. How we divide people into old and young, gay and straight, and so on. These experiences are political because they are used to group and categorize us. However, the final conversation I’d like to share puts a finer point on the topic, because Jawole Willa Jo Zollar took something as seemingly simple as hair and exposed it for the tangled web of culturally intertwined tendrils that it is. 

JAWOLE WILLA JO ZOLLAR: I started working on HairStories in 1995. I started it as just kind of a standup comedy routine. I knew I had something, but I didn’t know what it was and often when I’m searching for something, I just started telling stories. And just, you know, improvising. And I discovered that, I discover, in doing that I discovered a lot of things which I really didn’t know, which was so much of my point of reference was from African American point of view, and a lot of the terminologies and point, points of reference, weren’t, they weren’t crossing cultures. So, you know, the first time I did it, I did it in front of an African American audience and people were laughing and rolling in the aisles and the next time it was a white audience and people were just sitting there deadpan. And I thought ‘ok.’ So, I realized I needed, people needed more information about the background, so I created a character. Dr. Professor who is in my mind, and, and this character is an anthropologist in the African American Studies Department with a specialty in ‘Napology.’ And ‘Napology’ would be the study of nappy hair. So, so I created this character to just kind of help introduce this world that, some people know about it, and what I’ve also discovered is there’s many African American people because of the generational differences, there's terminology that I would use that I grew up with that some of the younger people didn’t know what I meant. So, it wasn’t just for white audiences or Black audiences, it was really that I, that I found that there was a world I needed to introduce people to that maybe was specific to me growing up in Kansas City in the 50s. And, you know, in an African American community and I needed to expand how people were able to enter that world. So one of the characters was Dr. Professor and she’s, she’s based on one of my professors that I had in college and who is now a colleague, and he’s an oppression theorist. He studies the nature of oppression. He’s just one of the most incredibly brilliant people I’ve ever known so I based it on him. And then some other characters, or, were. See when we travel as a company, one of the things, our hair, when there’s the group of women together, our hair becomes a source of curiosity. So we started, we realized that we had all had these hair stories, you know, from people just coming up to us while we’re traveling. ‘Cause some women in the company are bald or some might, you know, have different colored hair, and some have you know locks, you know, or dreadlocks, if, you know, it’s matted hair together. And it’s so, you know, some of us had big afros and we’re just being who we are, but when you see us all together sometimes it’s, I guess it’s very interesting. So we’ve had people react to us. And so some of the, some of the characters that I developed are, are based on some of the reactions that we’ve gotten from people reacting to us. And also from the hair parties which, that’s when Carmella [Vassor] got involved. We started having hair parties. Where we would have, in a living room, we’d have a group of women talking about hair and the issues about hair and, you know, I see all the people laughing. And it just some of ‘em would go on and on and on, but that we, we developed stories from, from those women that we met. And we, and we took some of the characters and just expanded them and made them into comedy. So we would take someone, there was one woman at one of the hair stories who was a motivational speaker. So, I just took her a few more notches up and she became one of our characters - Jeanie Jones Johnson. 

MAURA KEEFE: So, at, at the hair parties, were they primarily African American women who were there? Or was it just…


MAURA KEEFE: women sitting around talking about their hair? 

JAWOLE WILLA JO ZOLLAR:Yeah, it was mixed. Some, some were primarily African. It just depended on who hosted them and where they were held. Some had men, some were...It just depend, it really, yeah, some were mixed, all different ages. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS: When I titled this series, ‘choreographing the social consciousness,’ it was works like HairStories I had in the back of my mind. Zollar does so much with this one area of inquiry, that has the power to open dialogue, teach, build community, and understanding of others’ experiences across race, age, geography, gender, and histories. Here again, are Keefe and Zollar 

MAURA KEEFE: Jawole when you realized that a white audience wasn't ‘getting it’ when you first were doing it as a standup thing, was this, was it the first time you realized like, the, how culturally specific some of your work was? 

JAWOLE WILLA JO ZOLLAR: Well, I think I, I knew that. And I, and I, and my feeling is always been the more specific, the more universal in a lot of ways. I just didn't realize that hair, like, there’s the, there’s a term that we call the kitchen in our hair. And, you know, you know I was making this joke about the kitchen and people were smirking, ‘what on Earth is she talking about?’ Trying to figure out how the kitchen related, but we call this area in the back of the neck where the hair is generally the kinkiest, we call that the kitchen.

CARMELLA VASSOR: How many people knew that before this? 

JAWOLE WILLA JO ZOLLAR: So, it was things like that. Realizing that there were certain things. Or what a perm is, you know, for white people when you get a perm, generally it’s to make your hair curly. Whereas for Black people when we get a perm it’s to make our hair straight. So if I was telling a joke about a perm and then, it was like, ‘fu’? It, it wasn’t necessarily translating. So, it was just understanding those differences and then being able to, you know, work with them. 

JENNIFER EDWARDS: Similar to how O’Connor offers the idea of the choreographic process as a way to complexify duality, Zollar, in my opinion, offers another piece to the puzzle. She saw difference and worked toward building understanding - she offered the inroads toward learning rather than resenting those who didn’t have the reference points or the lived experience. To me, this is, in large part the function of art that somehow, explicitly, interfaces with society and social issues. Dance, because it relies on the body to convey the content of a choreographer’s message, has the ability to live that much closer to the bone, so to speak, as it raises awareness. We will end with a bit of a history lesson offered by Zollar and her colleague, a character she calls Dr. Professor. 

JAWOLE WILLA JO ZOLLAR: Well, there’s the whole concept of good hair and bad hair. And it's a very complex issue, we even heard it, because it’s, it’s different than just a good hair day or a bad hair day. It’s tied, I mean, the research, it’s tied all the way back to when African people were brought to this country in slavery, and as slaves, you were not able to care for your hair. First of all, you didn’t have the tools, you didn’t have the devices, so women wearing their hairs, hair in the scarves, and. So, first of all, you just did not have the ability to address your hair in the way that you might have. And then the other thing is that it wasn’t valued, I mean nappy hair was like you know hair that was coarse, it was very different than the longer straighter hair, so the value of it was bad hair because it was kinky, it was coarse. The whole idea of combing hair through is a pretty European concept. At least later European cause there’s a friend of mine who says that, you know, she talks about locks and dreadlocks and she’s a ‘hairlocktition.’ And she says, ‘no, honey, but that was the original hairstyle. Weren’t none of us born with a comb and a brush. That’s an invention.’ So everybody at some point in time had matted hair. But at the point, but that was a more European idea to comb the hair within traditional cultures of Africa, kinky hair, you worked within different creative ways, but this idea of taking a comb and combing through it is a very European concept. So, so now you have people whose hair doesn't match, you know, the expectations here. And they’re trying to, you know, do, you know, make it do things that it doesn't do and all those things. So this whole concept of good hair, hair, you know, that is straighter became good hair. Kinky hair, or as one young woman who I just, who I met from, she just, she was a young girl of about seven years old, and for her she called, she didn’t like strong, or, kinky hair, nappy hair, she didn’t like it, but she called it strong hair. She didn’t like it, but she didn't want strong hair like that. And that was very interesting. So, you know, hair that was kinky or nappy was considered bad hair because it wasn't straight. So, now I’ve just told it in that way, but Dr. Professor tells it in another way. I’ll see if I can conjure her. I also, this, this character, you know, a lot, you know, how like academic people are more, they like to use a lot of big words? ‘If we begin to examine the phenomenology of hair in African American culture, perhaps we’ll begin to understand a complex socioeconomic dynamic perpetrated by values attached to race, class, and gender through the lens of a people who are existing in relationship to a dominant paradigm of a white power structure that enforces all aspects of American life, thus leading to a construct of good hair, bad hair.’ So that’s, that’s, yeah…

JENNIFER EDWARDS: Before we close, I wanted to give a shout-out to another dance podcast. The Dance Edit Podcast, hosted by a group of knowledgeable, passionate editors from Dance Media. Every Thursday morning, they lead a roundtable discussion of the week’s top dance stories, followed by an interview with one of the dance artists shaping the news. Whether you’re a dancer, a dance educator, or a dance patron, you’ll find something that moves you on The Dance Edit Podcast. Listen wherever you get your podcasts, or at thedanceedit.com/podcast.

[Music begins, composed and performed by Jess Meeker]

NORTON OWEN: That’s it for this episode of PillowVoices. Thank you for joining us today. On behalf of Jacob's Pillow, we look forward to sharing more dance with you through the films, essays, and podcasts at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, and of course through live experiences during our festival and throughout the year. Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for helping launch this podcast series. Please subscribe to PillowVoices wherever you get your podcasts and visit us again soon, either online or onsite.