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Kandis Williams and Okwui Okpokwasili in Conversation


Clarion Vol. 1: Kandis Williams: A Line

Hannah Black

Kandis Williams and Okwui Okpokwasili in Conversation

P81-90 219 Words 1 Note 1min

Excerpt: 1

Okwui Okpokwasili: You and I have spoken before about dance and choreography and notation—the translation of physical movement into a two-dimensional form—and this conversation is so generative, as it maps anatomy, mythology and popular culture, the black diaspora, theater, and modes of communication. I think we should start there. You were recently telling me about the American dancer Isadora Duncan’s belief that dance is all from the solar plexus and nothing from below the waist. I think, too, she appears in some of your recent works on paper.

Kandis Williams: According to Isadora, it should be. She writes that anything with the hips is African jazz, and not American, and thus heathen. She was monumental in bringing dance to America. What I find fascinating is the inscription of anything related to the hips, “gyrating” or non-balletic movements, as uncivilized movements—movements that are not going to take us into the future. Movements that are not progressive. She was like, “Walt Whitman heard America singing. I see America dancing.” It’s all in the chest. And, yes, she does come up in some of these collages.

OO: But what is in the chest? There’s lung capacity.

KW: In Western ontology, the soul. The pure soul, the clean soul.

OO: But who wants clean when it comes to dance?

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