This is an excerpt from the May 1, 2009 performance of the dance journey, The Mother Project, in Washington, DC at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. I created this segment to explore the life of my mother’s mother, Mary Malissa. Though I have been developing this dance journey for many years, I always feel like I am at the beginning of the work. For the first phase of the work, I focused on the women in my mother’s maternal lineage. In the next phase I began intuiting movement for the mothers on my father’s side, specifically his mother’s paternal grandmother, Adelaide.
Now, as I begin yet another phase of my own mothering work, I am drawn to the women on my mother’s father’s side, especially the evangelical preacher Laura McCoy who is my great-great grandmother. As I am finding my own oratorical voice and slowly peeling back this new experiment with “writing sermons,” Laura’s life echoes through my spirit, and the creativity stirs anew.
The dance, For my grandmother, Mary Malissa, will always be a sacred turning point in my process. This live recording was a “world premier” of sorts, and my grandmother was in the audience to see it. At various points in my artistic experimentation, I revisit this work, seeing something new each time.