Hot off the presses: “Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Dancing to Improve the World” (April 10, 2018 NY Times)
Jon Boogz is a movement artist, choreographer, and director who seeks to push the evolution of what dance can be – sharing with audiences of all backgrounds an appreciation of the melding of art forms while inspiring and bringing awareness to social issues.
So Many Great Videos, So Little Time
COLOR OF REALITY
Boogz recently wrote, choreographed, directed and danced with Lil Buck in Color of Reality, a short film in collaboration with visual artist Alexa Meade.
Check out Jon Boogz and Lil Buck in this moving performance, plus a New York Times interview with them about their inspiration for the work, the process, and what it feels like to dance inside paint.
Transfixed by racial, political, and socioeconomic tensions saturating the news, movement artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, enveloped by the art of Alexa Meade, switch off the TV and release their emotion into a stirring dance that is both a lament and a spirited call to action. Movement artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, who use dance to move people and improve the world, find alchemy with Meade’s perspective-changing art. The result is a powerful, mesmerizing reflection, a moving 2D art representation, of the state of today’s society.
AM I A MAN
Featuring insights from social justice activist and attorney Bryan Stevenson, visual art by Hank Willis Thomas, and movement art by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, the short film AM i A MAN takes its audience on a gripping, heartbreaking, and critically important journey through the harsh realities of a broken justice system.
This piece features an interview from Bryan A. Stevenson who is an American lawyer, social justice activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a clinical professor at New York University School of Law. Stevenson released his memoir entitled Just Mercy in 2014. It is an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and a inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.
Check out chapter one of Just Mercy here.
Foundational texts on black aesthetics and embodiment, to give some context for the work:
Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez, eds., Black Performance Theory (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2014).
Brenda Dixon Gottschild, The Black Dancing Body (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003).
Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2016).
Nikhil Pal Singh, Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004).
Harvey Young, Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance) (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010).
Art and Activism
Movement Art Is (MAI) “uses movement artistry to inspire and change the world”: these texts on art and activism take up that idea in different contexts.
“Dance as activism: The Power to Envision, Move and Change” by Sherry Badger Shapiro (2016)
Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon, “Chapter 1: Dancing Under The Lash” (1990)
Contemporary black poets complement MAI’s project by bringing another lens to bear on structural racism and violence, articulating these lived effects through art. This excerpt is from “summer, somewhere,” by poet Danez Smith, in which the poet imagines an afterlife for black boys who are victims of police brutality and white supremacy.
history is what it is. it knows what it did.
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy
color of a July well spent. but here, not earth
not heaven, boys can’t recall their white shirt
turned a ruby gown. here, there is no language
for officer or law, no color to call white.
if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call
us dead, call us alive someplace better.
we say our own names when we pray.
we go out for sweets & come back.