Reflections 2021: Seattle’s Artists of Color Bring Rays of Light to Pandemic Life on Nov. 4
release date: 10/22/2021
Ready for a beautiful love letter to the city during Delta times? On Thursday, Nov. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Reflections Dance Festival returns as a ray of light during the dark times of fall and winter during the pandemic.
Reflections, which was filmed on Seattle’s waterfront at Pier 62 and will be presented as a virtual event, is co-presented by The Seattle Public Library and Friends of Waterfront Seattle, with lead partners Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects. It is free and open to the public.
The special dance series debuted to a virtual audience of more than 5,000 viewers in the fall of 2020. Back again with a dynamic lineup, Reflections features the following artists and cultural practitioners, whose performances were filmed by Futsum Tsegai, artist-in-residence for The Seattle Public Library and filmmaker. Tsegai also filmed Reflections in 2020.
- Abriel Johnny (Cowichan and Tlingit): Dancer and civic leader Abriel Johnny shares a jingle dress dance as ceremony and remembrance.
- The Coastal Collective - Aiyanna Reid (Cowlitz), Chayil Brooks, Drew Gorospe, Michaila Taylor: Moving to the lyrics of a “rising sun,” this ensemble of deftly choreographed modern dancers holds up inclusive communities with joy, beauty and collectivity.
- Giavonna White with Inner G: Educator and dancer Giavonna White has chosen Seattle children who are her dream team for their Reflections performance, titled “Young, Gifted, and Black.”
- Larry Lancaster: 18-year-old dancer Lancaster, who performs courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, is accompanied by classical violinist Swil Kanim (Lummi).
- Makeda Ebube with Lungusu Malonga’s Traditional Congolese Ensemble: Veteran dancer Makeda Ebube celebrates the Motherland in her collaboration with Lungusu Malonga. As the choreographer and artistic director of the Traditional Congolese Ensemble, Lugunsu’s “ancestral arts” exist in the beautiful vein of Ebube values and lifts up. Featured talent also includes assistant choreographer Maxie Jamal, dancers Decontee Wea and Ma’Syiah Malonga, with traditional music by Kiazi Malonga and drumming by Eugene Yaw Amponsah.
- Pasifika Wayfinders: This gorgeous dance ensemble brings to light stories of ancestors from each island in the Pacific, holding past and present together. Their program also uplifts these young leaders’ outstanding public health work around vaccine drives.
- Tloke Nahuake: Returning together to dance, Tloke Nahuake brings prayer and a breathtaking moment of witness by the water and with clouds breaking the heavens open.
RSVP to Reflections 2021 on Facebook; a streaming link will be posted there several days before the event.
“Culture shifts when we lift each other up,” says classical violinist Swil Kanim. His compositions accompany Baltimore-born, 18-year-old ballet dancer Larry Lancaster. With Swil Kanim’s advice that now is a time for taking on the impossible, his song “Ascending Mourning” is dedicated to our frontline health workers. Lancaster’s spare and graceful performance brings this crucial point home.
Powerful drums open civic leader and activist Abriel Johnny’s jingle dress dance. She shares, “Our culture is our medicine. When we practice our medicine, it restores balance to all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.”
“We take care of us” is a community adage that you often hear from Ixtli Salinas-Whitehawk, who has been on the frontlines of mutual aid throughout the pandemic. The Indigenous artist and cultural worker is a member of Tloke Nahuake. The family of traditional Aztec dancers had their first reunion during their Reflections filming after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Salinas-Whitehawk emphasized, “This is not a performance. You are watching a sacred prayer.”
The graceful gestures of the young women in the Pasifika Wayfinders may belie their equally deft moves in the community to combat COVID. These cultural workers worked door to door to get their communities vaccinated. The highlighted work shares how community work can also help keep beautiful cultural traditions alive.
Contemporary dance comes into the fore with the quartet led by Aiyanna Reid, a recent graduate from Cornish Art College, as they perform a rousing choreographed piece set to Nina Simone’s “The House of the Rising Sun,” now a public domain classic.
The African Diaspora shines in a special ensemble convened by veteran dancer Makeda Ebube, highlighting Congolese culture. Featured dancer Malonga Casquelourd put the piece in the context of this Congolese traditional proverb: “Wa Dia Fua Yi Ka Dio - What one inherits, they must add value to."
The focus shifts to younger generations when dancer and educator Giavonna White invites the children of Inner G, who are “young, gifted, and Black,” to have a moment of joy on Pier 62.
Reflections is made possible with support from The Seattle Public Library Foundation and All in Washington.
The Seattle Public Library believes that the power of knowledge improves people's lives. We promote literacy and a love of reading as we bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.
Contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at https://www.spl.org/Ask. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.
Friends of Waterfront Seattle (“Friends”) is the nonprofit partner to the City of Seattle responsible for helping to fund, build, steward, and program the park — today and into the future. In deep collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutional partners, Friends’ mission is creating, caring for, and activating a renewed place on Seattle’s central shoreline to connect — to the water, to the mountains, to our city, and to one another. In addition to raising $110M by 2024 to fund park construction, Friends will provide funding and manage the programming and operations of the future Waterfront Park through a joint-delivery partnership with Seattle Parks & Recreation. Park construction has begun following the Viaduct’s removal and the first piece of the park — Pier 62 — is now open. Visit waterfrontparkseattle.org for details.