Brigid McAuliffe + Clear Lake Middle School

a new media installation using the cultural identity, history and percussive dance as starting point for generational storytelling.

Embody is a multifaceted project and exhibition that uses percussive dance as a vehicle to explore cultural identity, history and empowerment in generations of women. The project includes Creative Resident Brigid McAuliffe’s work as well as a eight girls from Clear Lake Middle School in the creative process of discovery.  Brigid is interviewing female dancers who practice Spanish Flamenco, Mexican Folklorico, West African dance, American Jazz Tap and Native American dances (Northern Traditional, Jingle Dress and Fancy Shawl). Although these dances are all very distinct from one another, they have some major points in common. They all utilize the feet as a percussive element, they share certain gender dimensions and they speak to cultural identity and empowerment, history, tradition and change.  While she’s not not an ethnographer and am not making ethnographic films in the traditional sense, she is inspired by this method’s sensitivity to the experiences and stories of people. With their help and in collaboration with eight young girls, she portrays their stories with both empathetic and aesthetic sensibilities.  Learning Labs with the girls discuss cultural identity, memory and empowerment embodied in dance. They learn how to interview the dancers, create a film, learn the various dance steps, and talk about how the various dancers make them see, hear and feel. The students will make a video or animation work inspired by what they have learned and what they are drawn to and experiment with creating flip books that express their interpretation of the dance steps. Embody will be presented as a multi-channel video/audio installation, featuring each woman’s dance and dialogue within a dynamic mix of projected images and sound. The audio will fluctuate between sounds of dancing and the dancer’s voices.