Posted by Rodneya Brown
Filed in Artists
Water As A Coffin (Water Coffin)
New York City
With National Water Dance 2018, my local project ‘Water as a Coffin/Water Coffin’ identifies visual imagery of black death through markers in the African diaspora, which can be described as the forced migration of Africans from their homeland to different parts of the world including Africans' spirit and ability to adapt. In a particular connectedness Water Coffin brings together movement rehearsals, research published online, dance composition education coursework, museum artifacts, travel to libraries and waterways as a means of raising awareness about water, history and African American lives near New York City settlement. Within National Water Dance everyone will begin the National Water Dance performances at 1600 hrs on April 14, 2018 with the same movement phrase and end their performance with the same movement phrase. Dale Andree, Director of National Water Dance, will be coordinating, updating on a regular basis the developments from all of the State locations and maintaining communication through the internet. Water Coffin runs through comments regarding commerce, waterways access, theology, history, tragedy and, healing. Water Coffin also asks Questions:
• Where do oceanic waters and black (or African American) lives intersect at the New York City settlement?
• When (history time periods) do water and performances of protest/resistance constitute as markers for movements in American history? For example what has become known as the attack on Pearl Harbor (1941) or the Boston Tea Party (1773).
Chanting ‘the waters brought us— the waters will take us home,’ it is written that some Nigerian people survived the Middle Passage only to walk willingly into the sea wearing chains rather than live as slaves in America. Water Coffin historicizes black bodies who’ve met the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and archives them through National Water Dance.
• How exactly are loved one's buried?
• What can the site (public transit, waterways, concrete streets etc...) of death say about the person(s) who died?
• How is water central to learning about traditions of theology, resistance and loss perpetrated in black (or African American) communities?
The Water Coffin performance bring together not just the traditions and personalities shaped by one's home faith traditions, for example Islam, Judaism or Buddhism, but also what Beatrice Okyere-Manu examines in The Ethical Implications of Migration on Liturgy: An African Postcolonial Perspective, "these learned liturgical practices eventually must form the identity of the individual… and is indivisible from who he or she is."
The choreographer, Rodney A. Brown, has participated in concert dance company work and performed dance by choreographers Jennifer Harge, Donald McKayle, Jeraldyne Blunden, William B.Mcclellan Jr., Eleo Pomare, Amy Chavasse, Talley Beatty, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Li Chiao-Ping and, others. Rodney is a survivor of workplace harassment and discrimination at The Ohio State University Department of Dance. Currently Rodney is part of a non-denominational faith-based institution, online. In New York City, Brown attends Church meetings in Bronx, NY.