Ucross artist-in-residence Helanius J. Wilkins, an award-winning choreographer, performance artist, activist and educator based in Boulder, Colorado, invites local community members to participate in The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging, a project that includes new choreographies, a documentary film, and a digital archive of the process and performance.
“The work stitches together a ‘dance-quilt’ to broaden our understandings of what it means to be American and sew ourselves together anew,” explained Wilkins. “It is humbling and also an honor to have Ucross as an organizational partner to create one of my landing places in the state of Wyoming.”
Over several years, Wilkins will travel to all 50 states, Washington, DC., and five inhabited territories to discover the histories and stories of diverse communities and engage in conversations centering on belonging. He is guided by the question: “How can we get the world that we deserve — one that works for everyone?"
Presented and supported in part by Ucross, Wilkins will facilitate a series of these gatherings in Sheridan County. He will begin by meeting privately with different groups, then engage the greater community with two public events.
Belonging Conversation Community Gathering will be at the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center on Tuesday, August 1, at 6:30 p.m. Designed to bring together an intergenerational and inclusive group of Sheridan County residents, this community gathering creates a space to explore the topic of belonging from multiple entry points and perspectives and to illuminate how we are connected through shared stories. This event is free and open to the public; register here.
On Wednesday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m., Wilkins will give an artist talk at Ucross, in the Lauren Anderson Dance Studio. He will discuss the dance of social justice, share insights about “The Conversation Series” and answer questions. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public; register here.
In September, Wilkins will return to Ucross to follow-up on the community conversations. The visit will culminate in a site-based choreographic ritual presentation at Ucross on September 9. Open to the public, this finale will be a response to everything the community shared with him: part meditation, part dance, and part performance art.
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