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COMMUNITY PROGRAM: Imagination, Honoring History, and Reclaiming our Stories – Marginalized Voices through American Cinema and History

February 7 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm



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Title: Workshop: Imagination, Honoring History, and Reclaiming our Stories – Marginalized Voices through American Cinema and History
Date & Time: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 7:30-8:30PM
Join Artist-in-Residence Kayla Farrish and the team behind “Put Away the Fire, dear” for this FREE community program!

What is it to hold our own lens to see ourselves, our community, and to see the efforts of our people?

Kayla Farrish with her collaborators in creative residency working on a new group piece Put Away the Fire, dear combines dance-theater, storytelling, cinema’s inspiration, and music.

We invite all interested, and also in celebration with Black History Month to join us for a workshop where we will have conversations together, write, and witness excerpts of our new work. In this shared discussion, I am inviting folks of various backgrounds and experiences to share the histories or lineages that need to be uncovered or seen more. To ask what draws us to narratives and cinemas, and how we can see more of our own stories. And what present and future is possible when we can re-imagine or imagine spaces that can include or full selves?

Join us for a discussion, community archiving in writing, and some live-performance excerpts.

About Put Away the Fire, dear
Piece Title: Put Away the Fire, dear
By Choreographer: Kayla Farrish in collaboration with artists
Performing Artists: Jessica Alexander, Christian Paris Blue, Kayla Farrish, Imani Guadin-County, Kerime Konur, and Christian Warner
Set Design: Dyer Rhoads
Live Music Composition: Alexander MacKinnon

Put Away the Fire, dear is a live dance-theater work mapping the journey of 6 BIPOC and marginalized characters taking the reins of their own narrative in an evening-length piece. As a Choreographer and Filmmaker, I apply filmmaking techniques in narrative formation, camera movement and editing to witness these characters in full humanity. Through Old Hollywood plot frameworks, the live performance plays out along these arc structures as the characters disrupt their oppressive tropes of their designated scripts. Jumping through portals spanning reality and cinema, Put Away the Fire, dear, uproots power and history across generations of the American landscape, to rupture the leading socio-political narratives living in American Cinema of the 1930s-60s. Toni Morrison defines “The Master Narrative” as the lens of a dominant power and our consumption of inherited stories that depicts us all in archetypes of identity. Bursting tropes and filling missing storylines, they endeavor to write new narratives of ranging humanity and power. In a 75-minute performance of moving stories, the 6 characters traverse scenes and worlds through dance-theater, ranging storytelling, set design, and a score of reclaimed exploited Black American music.

About Kayla Farrish
Kayla Farrish is a Black American Director merging dance-theater, filmmaking, narrative, and sound score. She captures ranging identity, the mythical dualities of history and present survival, and powerful dreaming lending to liberation.  

Her commissions include Limon Dance Company, Gibney, Louis Armstrong House Museum, Danspace, Pepatian, Little Island, Harlem Stage, Blacklight Summit and beyond. Some works formed: Black Bodies Sonata, The New Frontier: My dear America, Sunny Side/Inside the Laughing Barrel, December 8th, Martyr’s Fiction, and others. She creates live works, films, site-specific/immersive, and collaborations. She recently shared Choir (Carrie Mae Weems Exhibition), To Dream A Lifetime (BlackLight), Roster with Melanie Charles, MIXTAPES with Alex MacKinnon and site-specific Broken Record (Little Island) with Brandon Coleman, and Rinsing and Harbor films. Presenting spaces include Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, Symphony Space, and National Sawdust, among receiving support from Watermill Center for the Arts, Armstrong Now, Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, Baryshnikov Arts Center, La Mama Experimental Theater, and others. 

She received the Sundance Uprise Grant for Emerging BIPOC Directors, Bessie Awards for NYLA’s Motherboard Suite and December 8th-Gibney, NY Times Top 2021 Dance Performances- Roster and Breakout Star. She is a recipient of the Harkness Promise Award for 2022. During 2022, she was a Rehearsal Director for Punchdrunk Sleep No More, and adjunct faculty for NYU Tisch Dance. During 2023, she created new works for Arizona State University, LINES dance Training Program, University of Arizona. She has been commissioned to create a reimagined archival work for Limon Dance Company, and to collaborate with musician Trixie Whitley, for her new music tour. In her next company project, Put Away the Fire, dear, she is touring a group narrative work of radical imagination and liberation, supported by NEFA NDP Touring Dance Production Grant. She is also the 2023 recipient of Watermill Center Nina Von Maltzahn Fellowship and the Ellis Beauregard Foundation Contemporary Dance Award.

Put away the fire, dear was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and the Mellon Foundation; commissioned and created in part with the support of The Joyce Theater Foundation’s Creative Residencies Program made possible by lead funding from the Mellon Foundation; supported in part by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Emergency Grant; residency support provided by NYU Tisch Department of Dance (2024); supported in part by The Watermill Center and the Nina Von Maltzahn Fellowship (2023); supported in part by Works & Process Showing at the Guggenheim Museum and LaunchPAD Residency at Bethany Arts Center (2024); supported in part by La Mama Experimental Theater- La Mama Moves Festival and Mertz-Gilmore Late Stage Grant (2023), Triskelion Theater (2022); and ODC Theater where it will premiere in March 2024.

Photo Credit: Kerime – Camera Eye by Steven Pisano, 2023


February 7
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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Bethany Arts Community
914 944-4278
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Bethany Arts Community
40 Somerstown Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562 United States
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