Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Space Unknown | a spontaneous space activation collaboration

a magical space activation thru a sequence of unplanned events...

filmed on the solstice, december 21, 2010 just off de western main road, in trinidad...a tiny, galactic, globally-connected island just a few strokes north of south america

space activation & film by binahkaye joy

spontaneous collaborator & camera direction by emmanuel king

when i set out for "the beach", my maxi-taxi driver assured me that this was the "best place to go, for sure", and so i ventured into this space looking for the familiar beauty and grandeur of lush sands and buena vistas, and instead found myself another character in a scene of wonder, chaos, and community...

this is just an excerpt from a day of awesome art-making in the organic space activation laboratory...




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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog and be a part of my dance journeys in Trinidad. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The process of "Space Activation"

As a Visionary Space Activator, I interpret the elements of any space through my vibrant, dancing body. Every space offers a unique cocktail of textures, shapes, sounds, smells, colors, air quality, history, meaning, community purpose, and much more. The space in which I dance interacts with my physical/ emotional/ spiritual/ creative body in different ways, and this union of body and space births a new dance each time.

I am interested in experiencing movements that I have created for “Adelaide Ocean Lullaby”, a segment of The Mother Project dance journey, in all types of spaces throughout Trinidad and Tobago. My great-great grandmother Adelaide Fisher Brown was from Jamaica, and immigrated to the United States after falling in love with a fisherman. I weave what little facts I know about Adelaide’s life into an intuitive movement process that continually evolves within each space I encounter.

When I dance, I experiment with many components of the space, incorporating the dip of the hills in Santa Margarita, the crash of the sunset tide at Las Cuevas against my body, the urgent siren pleading its way through Friday afternoon rush hour on Western Main Road. It is within the wondrous laboratory of organic, unscripted (oftentimes public) spaces that I feel most free to delve into the choreographic possibilities of The Mother Project. I tune into the spatial sensitivities of the moment and discover new patterns and sensations of movement along the way. While in this increased state of creative openness, I ponder the unknowns of Adelaide’s story in my body, filling in the gaps with a dance that expresses my intuitive process of ancient memories, emotions, language, and movement.

The dance is still young in my body, eager to bloom amongst the many frequencies of Trinidad and Tobago’s ripe and abundant spaces.



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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog and be a part of my dance journeys in Trinidad. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vibing on Nina Simone's "Aunt Sarah" in Trinidad

The dance comes in many forms, at unsuspecting times. Throughout my movement study in Trinidad for The Mother Project, I am also allowing the creative surges to develop other pieces I am working on. As a member of The Saartjie Project who cannot physically be with my sistren while in Trinidad, it is important that I share my dance and ideas with them however I can. I have been collecting film of me dancing in a variety of spaces in and around Port of Spain, Trinidad. I put together a short piece with movements I felt resonated with Aunt Sarah's character in Nina Simone's classic song, "Four Women". The Saartjie Project's upcoming 2011 season is inspired by this masterpiece and the issues it paints about our lives as black women. Enjoy, share, dance!




More info
www.thesaartjieproject.org
Nina Simone singing "Four Women"

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog and be a part of my dance journeys in Trinidad. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

COCO Dance Festival in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Just hours off the plane and I was swept up into a community dance festival hosted by COCO, the Contemporary Choreographers' Collective. This portion of the program was called "inter-space" as my piece, a remixed version of "Adelaide Ocean Lullaby/The Mother Project", activated the space from Alice Yard on Roberts Street to Bohemia on Murray Street. When the music went out on the radio, Sonja Dumas, the COCO coordinator, kindly looked up to me and said, "You'll have to do it without music." Of course, impromptu, crowd participation is always a part of the JOYISM! process, so I was happy to journey with the dance and the people. Enjoy this short movie I made with highlights from the COCO festival street dance processional.




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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog and be a part of my dance journeys in Trinidad. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

#7 Space & #8 Adelaide Ocean Lullaby {10 things I want from Trinidad}


#7 Space | "My joy is stimulated by vast, wide, open spaces, both literally and figuratively"--excerpt from my 2010 artist statement

As a Visionary Space Activator, access to a diversity of spaces is essential to my creative process. Each space contributes to the stimulation of new ideas, awakens my body to unexplored movement. Every space is coded with its own spatial sensitivities, and these unique elements give texture and context to the origin and experience of the movement within that space. There is an infinite variation of movement in all spaces because each breath that we take shifts the nature of any space in a subtle, almost undetectable way. Every space that I encounter then becomes a laboratory of unconditional possibilities, informing my dance in a way that only that cocktail of space and time could.

Trinidad is a vibrant laboratory for JOYISM! for so many reasons. The fact that is a brand new space to my body speaks volumes alone. Another irresistible element of Trinidad is that it is an island, surrounded by oceans. Trinidad's spatial orientation on the planet stimulates a completely different frequency than what the east coast of the United States offers me, with its tall highways and compact concrete. The dance will birth itself anew in Trinidad, and I am eager to activate new spaces within and around me.

#8 Adelaide Ocean Lullaby | The Mother Project work-in-process...

Adelaide Fisher Brown is my great-great grandmother. She is the mother of William Brown, who is the father of Gloria Jean Brown, who is the mother of my father, Wayne. Adelaide was from Barbados, and immigrated to the United States at a very young age. There are little facts still left about her life, and so her story is largely an in-depth intuitive journey. I feel that being in the space of the Caribbean unlock parts of her dance and story that I could not have come across in Washington, DC.

The Mother Project's process engages the intuitive memory of our psychic selves and also the memory pre-coded in our biological DNA. Some strand of me is purely Adelaide, and so the dance is a physical action that gives me a real time connection to a woman who lived and died long before I ever existed. Adelaide Ocean Lullaby is a choreopoem exploring the intuitive direction that is coming through my dancing body. Her story is one of a woman who never dreams that she will be leaving home, and her mother, forever. And so she has to find a way to create peace and mother herself in the United States.

Adelaide's story is still very young in my body, but my dance journey in Trinidad will allow it to mature into its next phases. Read more about the The Mother Project and its early stages at www.dancejoyism.com.


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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Photos: Ganges River, Rishikesh, India February 2006; Coast of Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia, May 2006

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#6 Carnival {10 things I want from Trinidad}

“The soul of the people is in its dance…”

Imagine. A whole country dancing, everyone finding some rhythm in the body, some interpretation of the space, and sharing it with the whole. This is paradise to me. Not just the fancy costumes, and Trinidad’s tropical climate, and the sensual abundance of the f├ęte—but Carnival as the ultimate communal dance jam is ecstasy to me! It is massive, and the whole island stops to commemorate its majesty. This is ancient genius at its best, an annual ritual where everybody belongs! Again, in the expert opinion of a Visionary Space Activator, the human community’s collective dance is how we reach world peace. Carnival is literally how we move in love.

I first heard of Carnival in a GQ magazine when I was about 16. A big feature story opened with a Carnival Queen’s huge gold feathers taking up both pages. I remember thinking, “I belong in her world. There is something here for me.” A few months after coming across the article, my friend Keita’s mother, who was from Trinidad, took a group of us to Washington, DC’s Carnival in June 1998. My life was transformed forever.

HOW I had managed to grow up in DC, just across town from this annual communal soul celebration and never know about it, blew my mind. I was soooooo at home in Carnival's street, being carried by the force of the people down Georgia Avenue. The loud bands blasting music from the trucks, the mud people streaking through us with glee. Keita’s mom bought all of us Trini flags to wave in the air, and we jumped and danced down the mashed up parade—I was in heaven!

After that little taste of dance divine, I started to crave more and more carnival. I wanted to go to New York’s labor day carnival, and then to Toronto’s…I wanted to dance in every carnival there was. I read After the Dance: A walk through Jacmel, by Edwidge Danticat (one of my favorites), and wanted to dance Haiti’s carnival. I decided I was part Bahiain somewhere in my blood and wanted to go to Salvador’s carnival. But more than any other country, I wanted to know Trinidad’s carnival. That instant resonation I felt all those years ago as a teen flipping through pages of a magazine is still strong within my spirit today.

As a Visionary Space Activator who has spent much of her life in places where movement is not fully celebrated, who grew up in a country where the closest thing to national celebration is the Superbowl—Carnival presents the ultimate opportunity to dance in peace with my tribe of indigenous dancing, booty-shaking, soul gyrating humans. Such people are certainly scattered throughout all nations. But the intensity of a million dancing bodies in one place is a spiritual retreat for someone like me who is often the only body dancing up the space. I have been loved and feared alike in the United States for my spontaneous, open space dance process. I am excited to surrender myself to the communal movement, where it's already understood that everyone can dance here.

As much as I have wanted to experience Trinidad’s carnival for myself, I have also always wanted to witness life in the country when it wasn’t carnival time. So, I chose to start my dance residency in November and stay through the winter (we’ll there is no winter in Trinidad!) months and participate in carnival in March. I am sure what little I think I know about Carnival will be exploded into a symphony of wondrous, paradoxical happenings. Whatever it is I do finally experience, the dance will lead me through!

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#5 A Proper Whine {10 things I want from Trinidad}

“a liberated booty is a liberated being!”—moi

As a Bootyist, I celebrate booty dances from around the world. With my constantly spinning, gyrating, swaying booty, I invite humanity to intentionally activate its booty. I believe that total booty liberation enables us to heal ourselves, honor the sacred origins of all life, and elevate one of our most powerful assets…pun intended! It is no coincidence that I am gravitating to a country where booty liberation is already a part of the communal kinetic consciousness. The “whine” is Trinidad’s contribution to planetary booty activation. Ever since setting this Trinidad program in motion, my booty has been bursting with spontaneous, ecstatic praise in anticipation of the awesome whine, whine, whine…

If you’ve been around me just once, you know that my rotating booty is a vibrant space, a force field of ancient proportions, a mega-rotation of intergalactic transmissions. My booty spins and I can feel the happenings of a thousand other places across the globe. My booty dips and I can feel the Earth tilting on its axis. My booty rocks and I am inside the high and low tide of every ocean. My shaking booty downloads the subtlest of vibrations from near and far, and activates my strong intuitive powers.

My activated booty is the indigenous intel processor. When I need to digest or communicate important ideas, information, and emotions, the booty aids me in expressing my truth, allowing me to speak in my authentic voice. In my ongoing study of all things booty, I have come to understand that the booty has an infinite range of motion. The booty can journey through every mood, enabling us to release what we don’t need and receive what we want. The more we exercise our booty’s innate powers, the more we experience the benefits of booty liberation.

A liberated booty is as much a physical phenomenon as it is a psychic, mental, and emotional phenomenon. When our conscious booty is expanding, our physical booty reiterates the expansion. The evidence of a thoroughly liberated booty is seen in all aspects of one’s life: the ultimate fluidity of one’s dance, an appreciation for one’s beautiful, bountiful booty, a zest for life and the gratitude that our dancing body activates that life…to name a few!

As much as I shake my booty, I too have more booty frequencies to activate, more dimensions of my booty to liberate. When I roll to the right, everything is open and flowing easily. But on the left, it’s like the rhythm hits potholes and my rotation hiccups over muscles that need to stretch anew. Saturating my booty with the Trini whine will inevitably increase my booty’s capacity to thrive in more abundant ways. My new booty powers are going to transform my whole life; this i do know.

No matter where you are physically, you can also always tap into my dance journey by shaking your own booty. I can feel the booty activation love at all times, so don’t hesitate to send some booty-joy-beams my way. Just dip into the cosmic booty spin, and ride the frequency of liberated booty consciousness…all booties welcome!

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Photos by Caroline Angelo

Monday, November 22, 2010

#4 Bake N' Shark {10 things I want from Trinidad}

For Marva, my Trini fairy godmother

Firstly, I know nothing about bake n' shark, except that I will stretch my vegetarian-esque palette enough to try it—a local Trini dish comprised of fried shark meat between fried dough with sensational toppings—at least once. But, this post is actually about my Trini fairy godmother, Marva Telemaque (nee Morris), who was the first person to ever mention the words "bake n' shark" to me. In telling me about one of her homeland's classic culinary treats, she reactivated my already heightened fascination with all things Trinidadian. Even more, she watered the seeds of my Trinidad journey long before I knew it was going to grow.

I met Marva through divine intervention. 6 years ago, on my first day as a temp at the Grey Box, which many of you affectionately call, The Washington Post, I had a choice between working with the "Auto Advertising Service Team" or the "Jobs Advertising Service Team." I chose Jobs because at least I could look for other jobs while I worked. When I was escorted to my new section, Marva was the first person I met. I remember thinking, "Oh, I've definitely chosen the right place!" A bright, bubbly woman with locs just like mine greeted me with warm eyes and a big smile. Moments after introducing myself to everyone, Marva called me over to her desk. With the prerogative all mothers take with their children, she looked right through me and said in a bold, demanding way, "Chile, what are you doing here! You are not supposed to be pushing papers like this. Hurry up and get on with the dance!"

I was stunned, she'd just met me and confirmed what at the time I was not ready to embrace. I had just finished college, and felt pressured to "do something" with the degree. Of course, I couldn't tell you what or where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to dance in some capacity, but did not possess the confidence to craft my journey. Looking back I see the synchronicity of wandering into Marva's section. Everyday for the 9 months I worked in the Grey Box, Marva asked me, "how's the dance?" or "what have you done for the dance today?" She held me accountable to my dreams, when they were rickety and fragile with fear, merely secrets sketched between the pages of my journals. Marva's love and faith nurtured my embryonic creative powers during a pivotal gestation period. There are times when we need someone else to be our dreams' advocate, and I am eternally grateful that Marva was so generous with her spirit.

Marva also shared her art with me. She wrote poems everyday about dance, her art, her children Charlene and Justin—the loves of her life, her prayers for humanity, her spiritual devotion. Marva, or Marva Maah! as I grew to call her, taught me the power of positive intention and how our thoughts and words set the path in motion. Oftentimes we would go to lunch together and she would tell me stories of her life, of Carnival, of her family in Trinidad, of her experience of the United States. She would paint glorious pictures of how one day, when she moved back home, and I was a world-famous dancer, I would be her guest while dancing in Trinidad. And we would go to the beach sometime, and get the bake n' shark, and then go dance to the steel pan band.

It is the ultimate irony that on the eve of my Trinidad journey, I have lost all contact with Marva. And so I write this with the prayer that someone will reconnect us very soon. Perhaps she is even already there in Trinidad and we will bump into each other on Maracas Beach, where bake n' shark apparently originated, and have our long overdue reunion. A few nights ago I had a dream that we found each other, so I figure that's a good sign. I will close out with Marva's classic mantra, very appropriate for all of us needing the extra push towards our dreams sometimes, and the reminder that we are the ones responsible for our happiness: "DOOOO YOOOO CHILE!"

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

#3 Sisters {10 things I want from Trinidad}

“You will always need other women…”—every wise woman I know

The journey that I have been on is blessed by countless numbers of women, sisters, midwives to my dreams. I move forward into my dance evolution with a daily awareness and gratitude that I have been loved and supported at all times by strong, beautiful, courageous women.

My mother Debra, whose life stories sparked the early seeds of The Mother Project, has 3 sisters and one brother. I was envious of her as a girlchild, growing up amongst all boys. “Where are my sisters?” I would want to know, especially after my mother’s 3rd and last child had the audacity to be another boy! I thought some injustice had been committed upon me, surely all girls deserve sisters in their lives.

I decided that there had to be another way towards sisterhood for those of us whose mothers’ wombs only brought forth one daughter. Early on I started making sisters out of friends, pouring my heart into relationships with other girls and women so that a sisterhood would be born and sustained. I am happy to say that many of these sisterships still exist, strengthened every year by a mutual love and commitment to being honest with each other through all of life’s twist and turns.

When I travel, I always find sisters. In Ghana, Clara Yaa Nsiah Asantewa took me as her own, guiding me through sacred places so that I could discover the land and its people for myself. I was also blessed to have Esther and Abenaa Opoku as my first homestay sisters in Kumasi, who lovingly honored me as their “big” sister. In Bali, I formed an instant bond with my roommate Ying from Thailand. We spoke little of the same verbal language, but connected on the unseen vibrational frequencies that allow us to gravitate towards our tribe.

It always amazes me how fast we can create a bond with another person, an instant understanding that we are a part of each other’s lives, and that this new union is actually quite ancient. It is in the re-membering of our soul family that we are reacquainted with people who have been a part of our tribe for centuries, millennia before this present day.

It was also in Bali that I met Amber RainMa. When I first saw her, I was speechless. It really was like looking in a mirror. We don’t share the same physical features, but our spirits are so similar, it was like seeing my soul-twin. Amber was not as awestruck as me; she said, “You are seeing yourself in me, that’s all.” Even though I have only seen her once more in over 4 years, as my sister she has been a constant source of love-spiration for all of my dreams, a healing beam of wisdom in moments of doubt.

I felt like a sister-magnet in India. Only several hours off the plane in Bangalore, and I was surrounded by a throng of bright-saried women, all picking at my pink and yellow clothes, pulling at my tightly-twisted, fresh Bantu knots (amazing what hairdos you can work up on a 20 hour flight!). I remember feeling quite calm, not at all violated or threatened by their curious touch. It instantly reminded me of the intimacy of sisters, the allowances not hindered by formalities or barriers. There is an organic warmth, a knowing that we’re all “related,” some way or another.

The Indian women were speaking to me, asking me questions, expecting answers. All I could do was smile. I felt like my tongue was broken, having not recalled the codes for the Kannada language in this lifetime. But they saw themselves in me, they looked at our brown skin, our vibrant colors, our inviting smiles and recognized me as their own, in spite of a tongue evaporated with distance and time.

There is a sensitivity amongst women that I celebrate. It is in the nuances, the check-ups, the tenderness that we bring to each other that makes sisterhood so sweet. It is in the way we read each other’s minds, forgive each other’s diss when that on-again-off-again heartache calls us away, make each other sweet things when we need to be nourished, raise each other’s confidence when we have lost faith in ourselves.

Sistering allows us the space to mother, and be mothered by women who are our peers, women who are not judging us, but seeing their reflections in us. Sistering supports the flexible imperative that womanhood brings. Sisters know that we are not just one type of woman, but that we morph and grow and discover new parts of ourselves each day. Sisters know that we need support through all our phases. Their support is unconditional and doesn't demand logical explanations when we change our personality/identity/relationship status/job/location/mood… Sisters just know that we are always in flux, flowing in a myriad of frequencies, encountering fear-laced illusions along the path towards self-directed realities.

The sisters in the Washington, DC community have held me close when I needed to cry, fed me food when I was too numb to eat, got me to dance when I was stiff with heartbreak, made me laugh when I needed to remember my joybeamself. The sisters here have been good to me in too many ways to write about today (but FYI, I could write a book or few, for each sister and how you have enriched my life!).

The sisters here and all over the world have helped me birth the dance journey that is my life’s work. I know there are more sisters coming into my life in just a few days. I am so grateful for ALL OF MY SISTERS, the ones I know, and the ones I am yet to know across the waters in Trinidad.

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#2 Community {10 things I want from Trinidad}

Binahkaye means “the dancer radiates OUR awesome powers”.

It has always been important to me to orient myself and my movement as a part of the community. As a dancer who values the contribution of every human being’s dance to our world, I reflect the infinite possibilities of the people’s dreams with my vibrant dancing body. When we dance, we paint testimonials of humanity with our bodies, etching the air and space with the purest expression of what we are choosing to experience right now. Coding our muscles with memories of our journey, and the knowledge gathered along the way, our dance at times is wiser than we know ourselves to be.

My dance evolution was steeped in communal awareness from a young age. It was in high school that I first fell in love with facilitating dance in communal, non-traditional spaces. At the church where I grew up, I nurtured the creative expression of women and girls who didn’t know that they too had something unique and essential to share when they danced. At the time I didn’t know that I was planting seeds for processes and approaches to movement that would form the core of my artistic journey.

I LOVE that feeling when I am dancing with someone who is at the beginning of her creative revolution. It is like watching someone give birth to her power, a power that was always there, but waiting to be actualized by the individual. That is what our dancing bodies do—they activate the innate creative force within us, enabling us with insights and wisdom that enrich our lives, propelling us toward greater realities.

Sometimes it is challenging to explain my perspectives on movement. It took me several years before I felt confident enough to express that I am not “teaching” you how to dance because you already know “how” to dance. Rather, I am encouraging you to TRUST your dance, to believe in your process enough to share your dance with us. I recognize that every person on the planet has a sacred dance that is like a vital ingredient in the recipe for world peace, love, and prosperity. If one person’s dance is compromised, the “soup is off”, humanity misses out on something. This awareness fuels my passion and my mission to dance with as many people on the planet as possible. EVERYONE has that essential piece we need to make the whole.

It was in Ghana, 8 years ago in a small village called Adalku in the Volta region where I danced one of the best dances of my life. A storm flew down onto the dirt, the mud softened my feet, and I was soaked in ecstatic praise as musicians clanged weathered metal parts together, conjuring up ancient spirits and savory beats.

I loved the participatory, inter-generational process of the community’s dance. Somewhere in my soul, the Divine whispered, “this is home.” Not home, as in a physical place, but home as in, this is where I am to birth my creative genius, here inside humanity’s dance.

Shortly after the dance in Adalku, a poem came to me, its opening lines becoming the mantra for the early stages of my career: “The Most Beautiful Dance You Do, Is the One You Do With Your People.” As I have journeyed and grown over the years, I continue to delve into my fascination with the organic movement that springs forth from communal dance exchanges. In Trinidad, I am eager to experience the frequencies of the people’s dance, the sway of the crowd, the gait of the walk, the dip of the back, the flutter of feet, the spin of a nation.

Every element of the community’s dance empowers the exploration within my own body, thereby allowing me to acknowledge and honor the ways in which the people express their truth. Imagine the global shift if we all valued and honored each other’s movement as a beautiful contribution to our lives. This sharing process cultivates the preservation and expansion of the human community’s dance. This is how WE dance towards peace, this how WE move in love.

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Photos by Caroline Angelo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 things I want from Trinidad: #1 Love


In ten days I begin the biggest journey of my life, thus far.

I studied dance and cultural arts in Ghana for a semester in college. That experience rocked my world, exploded my identities, and cracked the shell of my slow-to-bloom artistic freedom. 8 years later, after travels to India and Indonesia, after launching my own company, after acknowledging my creative super powers, after honing an advanced intuitive awareness, after falling in love with my highly-sensitive emotional artself--I am happy to report that I still know nothing. That when it comes to this journey to Trinidad, I am humbly, and courageously, a mother in labor, yet to birth myself along this path of cosmic unknowns.

I literally am growing into a whole new journey, one that will undoubtedly change my life forever, and activate awesome new portals of myself. Am I excited? YES! Am I freaked out and feeling scared? Yeah that comes too at times, sometimes several times a day. The faith in the journey is like the harness on a roller coaster ride. You get in. You say YES to the adventure. You strap yourself in because as you climb that steep hill, as your stomach falls into your toes, you know that the straps will keep you there, through the scariest parts of it, even when you want to turn back. There's no way out, only a way forward. Such is the same with faith, faith that all the pieces that need to come together will do so as I am ready to receive them. This faith is what keeps me moving forward amidst a vast ocean of uncertainty, inevitable storms of fear, and the gnawing illusion that home is a place outside of myself.


This is me, having contractions, 10 days out from a 6AM flight at DCA. My journey is coming.

In preparation of my journey, and because it is vitally important to me that the community be a part of JOYISM!'s inaugural international dance residency, I am initiating a series of essays entitled, "10 things I want from Trinidad". The series is inspired by the lovely Margaux Delotte-Bennett who created a list, "10 things I want from India," and incorporated the list into her one-woman show Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves. I will publish one "thing"/essay per day, as we count down to the start of the next phase of my life. I will also continue to write extensively about my travels and dance journeys in Trinidad over the coming months. Thank you for being a part of the dance!


#1 Love | in all forms, at all times. Love informs this whole dance journey of mine, at every juncture. Through every challenging, oftentimes painful, growth process that brings me to the present moment, love is the constant miracle. Especially when I am at the bottom of hope, when I am scared about taking the next step towards the inevitable expansion of a breaking heart, love pulses on.

Love is the nectar of my journey, the energy of creation that will push me, pull me, dance with me throughout the many dreams I will manifest along the way. Love is everywhere, and I am so happy that I know this to be true! I have been to many patches of the globe and have always experienced tremendous, genuine love from families, from professors, from guides, from strangers, from everybody.

I am excited to know love in a new world, to taste love with the spices and sensations of Trinidad's sacred, ancient, wondrous spaces, to awaken new capacities to love and be loved in returned, to feel the tender embrace of love and allow it to blossom within me.

Love is a process of knowing self, and radiating that awareness through one's life. This journey to Trinidad is my love supreme.

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Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at www.dancejoyism.com.

Photos by Colin Danville

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Mother Project & Trinidad | Starting November 2010


In November, I will travel to Port of Spain, Trinidad to participate in an exciting dance program where I will develop new work for "The Mother Project" dance journey. The dance residency is hosted by the Makeda Thomas Roots & Wings Movement! Institute. This is JOYISM!'s inaugural international dance residency project and a critical part of JOYISM! connecting and sharing movement exchanges with communities around the globe.

While in Trinidad I will be developing new work for "The Mother Project", a choreobiography of the mothers in my lineage, and a comparative study of the transference of identities as experienced by women and girls in the same family. The residency will also consist of a series of community dance projects, including sharing and facilitating dance with communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago. I will also be documenting and writing extensively about my dance journeys, through film, essay and blog.

The themes explored in The Mother Project dance journey affect all of us. Questions, stories, and experiences of the Mother connect all of us as human beings. The dance work that I have been developing for the past 4 years around themes of Mother continues to open up more and more opportunities for humanity to dialogue about issues critical to who we are and what we dream our world to be.

The Mother Project allows me a space to dig deep into my own family history, while also activating a global space for the world to discuss the realities, roles, experiences, and influences of mothers in all of our lives. Even more, as an in-depth exploration of the cultures of womanhood/motherhood/girlhood/sisterhood, The Mother Project engages women and girls in movement and dialogue around matters central to the growth of our self-actualized and self-asserted identities.

The Mother Project began as series of movements I created to paint pictures and tell stories about my mother, Debra, my grandmothers Gloria and Mary Malissa, and my great-grandmothers Mable and Mary. The more I explored the lives of one mother, the more I was moved to create movement for other aunts and grandmothers in my family, thus exploring different sides of mothering, womanhood, and choices. The choices each woman made directly and indirectly contribute to my existence and who I understand myself to be--and this phenomenon fascinates me and fuels my work. I often wonder what the world would be like if everyone was exploring the people and experiences that shaped them and birthed them.

In addition to the research and dance exchanges explored in Trinidad, the artisitic fruits of this residency will be an integral part of "The Mother Dance-Dialogue Workshop & Performance Series" that I will host as a community dance residency program in Washington, DC during Spring and Summer 2011.

Read more about The Mother Project and watch a video excerpt here. Also, read the post "Spinning Mary" to read about earlier developments of The Mother Project.

Photo by Elen Awalom

Thursday, September 23, 2010

excerpt | artist statement 2010

I am a dance in progress at all times. My life exists as a dynamic dialogue between the simultaneous happenings of things past and present, of spaces here and there. I use all forms of art, but primarily movement and the written word to navigate the intricate realities and dreams that blossom throughout my cosmic earthly ride.

I embrace the duality of my life. The complimentary and paradoxical nature of my converging identities undoubtedly lives within my one body, and often inspires questions about who I think I am. The raw source material of accepting all sides of me gives texture, substance, and infinite variation to my dance, my writing, my fashion designs, everything! My joy is stimulated by vast, wide, open spaces, both literally and figuratively. I inevitably create art that dissolves barriers, labels, and boundaries. My art stems from an underlying truth that everyone’s story/dance/voice/body/emotion is valid and essential to a whole and prosperous world.

I am a highly sensitive emotional being. The process of discovering my feelings and my relationships to space, time, people, nature, and opportunities is my spirit’s dance journey. My keen emotional awareness enables me to critically and compassionately create art that resonates deeply with humanity’s most intimate and sacred issues. I reflect the artistic and kinesthetic potentials of the human experience by allowing my art to document my own journeys towards freedom and love. Being deliberately transparent about my art-making processes nurtures a very tangible quality of my art and communicates its relevancy to diverse communities.

At my core, I am a giddy scientist and every space that I encounter is a viable laboratory for my wildest dreams. I love to experiment, and all of the art that I create is born of this zest for surprises that experimentation always delivers. I boldly dig deeper into unknowns and find myself stronger, wiser, and more powerful because of the journey. I do not believe that there is a “wrong” way to explore my art. Be it a dance, a character, an opportunity—everything in my process is worthy of my own investigation. The present moment gives me the best indication of who I am choosing to be right now, and my art courageously reflects those choices at every stage.

Photos: Colin Danville, July 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

free Liberated Booty dance workshop in DC Saturday 8.21

Binahkaye will be facilitating a LIBERATED BOOTY dance workshop for the Dance DC Festival Saturday, August 21 @ 2:30pm. All booties are welcome to dance. Remember: "A liberated booty is a liberated being!" Liberated booty is all about embracing the infinite wonders of your own, personal asset, pun intended! No experience necessary. Read more about the liberated booty workshop here!

Time: Saturday, August 21, 2010 @ 2:30-3:30pm
Location: Atlas Performing Art Center, 1333 H St, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Metro to Red line to Union Station (then walk, taxi or take X8) or go to Gallery Place (then free H Street Shuttle of X2 bus)

This Festival is FREE and open to the public and runs from August 20th-22nd at the location above. A variety of dance forms and performances will be shared...fun for the whole family! The festival is sponsored by the DC Commission for the Arts & Humanities.

full Dance DC Festival program here!


call 202.6JOYISM for more info!

www.dancejoyism.com

Watch this video for more history on Binahkaye's Liberated Booty movement!

Monday, July 26, 2010

sunset prayers | a short film



I made this movie by myself just before the close of perfectly sunny day. I wanted to capture a bit of my process in it's true form, even though I rarely dance in public spaces with a camera in tow. I tried to let the camera be non-imposing and just move, so that it feels like it's just "binah in her zone". Most times when I am dancing, I am sending a prayer to someone, or somewhere. When the earthquake hit in Haiti, I went to the roof of the Kennedy Center to vibrate some love with my booty rolls and swinging arms. There is so much power in our bodies to heal ourselves, but to also transmit LOVE to the whole globe, the whole universe. This dance that I do with my body has infinite and inevitable effects on the world around me. All of our dancing bodies has this power.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am | Visionary Space Activator

I am a visionary space activator. I translate and activate the energy of any space with my moving body. I paint the picture of the moment with dance; I interpret the vibrational frequencies of the moment and express it through movement. I am a barometer of the cosmic mood of the people. I can express all realities with my body if i so choose.

I self identify as a visionary space activator. i invented this terminology to articulate my truth. I fully own this identity and am happy to educate others about who I say I am. It is critical to me, my movement process, my life that I identify only with realities that are 100% aligned with who I feel I am. It took me several years before I found a title that felt right for me. "Choreographer" and "Artistic Director" never fully resonated with me. I had to keep digging through my genius, keep dancing through lots of life's experiences, keep trusting my evolving process to get to the gem of my truth: Visionary Space Activator.

The journey into my truth has been every emotion possible. Sometimes I'm scared, other times I feel like I'm on top of the world. But most of all, through everything, I feel grateful that it's ALL ME. That at the start and finish of everyday, I lived and danced on my own terms, with my own language, and have planted or watered more seeds of my own understanding.

This journey into knowing is ongoing. I am constantly growing and evolving. Such is the nature of this dance that is me!

Photos by Colin Danville 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

new youth love

This is the title of a playlist on my ipod for a new group of young people that I just began dancing with. They are fierce, brilliant, beautiful, and full of fears all at the same time. In bits and pieces they are coming into their own powers, recognizing their awesomeness one celebratory sway at a time. I was so overwhelmed after leaving their space that I had to go dance. Dance off the rage and absurdity of some of their energy, decompress from the profanity, the violence, the constant cries for attention with which some sought to disrupt our class. And at the same time marvel in the majesty of the movement that, in spite of everything, the youth lovingly birthed in our tiny dance laboratory.

I ventured off into the chaotic frenzy of recess time downtown. The lunchtime crowds of the 9-5 tribe and the enthusiastic first-time-in-DC tourists all clamoring for tables to slurp their caffeine shots and down their microwavable nutrition provided the backdrop for this day's space activation. I felt like air conditioning for a change and went to the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard inside the center of the National Portrait Gallery.

What awaited my dancing body was a surge of new movement material. I found a wide stretch of space to insert my dancing body and had a creative blast. The floor in the courtyard is also very smooth and soft to the soles of my feet, always a plus! I found myself soaring, mentally, emotionally, physically. I felt my body opening up into new rhythms and shapes. I was grateful to my youth muses for activating a new dance within me as I sought to process all that had happened in our workshop. In one class, we used nature themes as the motivation for our movement. I taught them the sign for "river" in sign language. Once they were comfortable with that, I asked them to "put the river in your legs, in your spine, in your neck...".

WOW! was all I could say after watching their movements transform their whole bodies. The textures and intricacies of their dance greatly contrasted the immature insults they were hurling just a few minutes before. They even began to celebrate each others creativity when they saw new movement coming from their peers. After the wind and the river, we became ice, and then we melted. The melting was a lot of fun. At first they thought I was weird of course for being so uncool as to actually melt into a puddle on the floor, but they had to admit it was a really fly transition. Soon after, a few of them began trying it out on their own, risking dust on namebrand jeans and possible scuffs on fresh kicks!

The result was a beautiful, organic dance sequence. One of my boys who had been mostly non-participatory jumped up and asked, "can we do a hurricane?". Sure, I said, and the group broke out into whirlwinds of arms and tilting torsos. They created the soundscore of storm, wind, rains with their voices and bodies. As I reflected later, I thought, hmmm, dancing out the storm is so healing. A constructive way to scream, shout, and release, and yet still be peaceful, (non-violent), and creative...

I love my new young people so much. They are inspiring a lot of growth and enthusiasm in me as a dancer but also as a movement educator. I look forward to the rest of the summer with them. Stay tuned for updates, I'm sure they'll keep me on my toes!

Photo by Caroline Angelo 2009

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rain Dance

Sometimes the rain comes just in time to take your dance activation to the next dimension. I am reminded of a sacred dance explosion that I surrendered to in a small village in Eastern Ghana seven years ago. Adalku, the place was called. And on a small patch of dirt in front of our humble quarters, the community made music with recycled metal parts. Old pieces of discarded technology made ancient rhythms that miraculously never grow out of style. The dance started in the sun but ended under shattered clouds and mud-soaked feet. One of the best dances of my life...so far.

There is something liberating about letting your clothes get mushed into the rain. Letting the water penetrate your skin and be the dance on top of your already gyrating body. Can you feel it? Have you known such joy? Dancing in the rain is a sweet treasure of this human experience. We usually hide and protect ourselves from nature's wet escapade. We roll up the windows, prop up the umbrellas, cover our soles with boots and wait with a pout for the sun to come out and dry our world off again. Perhaps dancing in the rain is so fun because it's a chance to "break the rules." An opportunity to satiate that playful spirit within that loves being messy, that loves being on a first-name basis with mother nature.

So too is our free, unfettered dance. Our dance loves to be submerged in nature. Barefoot, comfortable clothing, or naked if you please. The dance just wants you to be you in your most unadulterated sense. Without the trappings of material dramas or societal rules, or ego-trips. Your dance is like a flower that longs to be watered with the freshest, purest spring water. Ask yourself: "Am I feeding my dance the good stuff? Or am I clogging the roots of my flowers with the junk of status quos, fears, and insecurities about my body? Your dance knows that you are the only source of its life. Your body has to be the moving force that creates its reality.

I digress. I admit, I am rambling, hoping my words spark the creativity needed to finish some work that's due tomorrow. The tasks at hand: plan two hours of dance and play for a teenage youth camp, address the editor's notes on my children's book, figure out photoshop... But I was inspired by my photo shoot that took a joyous and unexpected turn for the best when a rain storm came to add to our creative mix. It was so fun dancing in the rain, barefoot and not a care in the world. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing your dance in the rain, be sure to run out in the thick of it and shake your booty the next time it pours in front of a window near you. Go ahead and get wet. The dance belongs to all of us, all the time.