Friday, November 21, 2014

Spotlight: Moses(es) Cast Teaches Master Classes to Local Students

Dwayne Brown of Fist and Heel Performance Group teaches an
eager group of middle school students at Collage dance Collective.
Reggie Wilson is an internationally acclaimed choreographer, performer and artistic director, and some lucky students in the Mid-South learned from him and his Fist and Heel Performance Group last week.

The Orpheum hosted Fist and Heel’s Moses(es), a unique dance and performance art production exploring our relationship with leadership and the effects of migration on beliefs and customs. Student audiences have enjoyed the show November 19-21, and the cast also kept themselves busy teaching dance classes at local schools.


The entire company of University of Memphis dance students was taught November 17 by Reggie Wilson himself, along with five members of Fist and Heel. The workshop began with a modern technique warm-up, and each Fist and Heel company member taught small groups of dancers a bit of choreography from Moses(es).


Holly Lau, the chair of the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, says her students “all felt engaged and enlightened by the experience.”  


Reggie Wilson
“Reggie Wilson is a gifted and thoughtful teacher who led the class through movement experiences that progressed from the simple to more complex,” she says. “Along the way, he helped students identify fundamental movement concepts which enhanced both performance and comprehension.” 

A second class took place November 18 at Overton High School, where dancers Anna Schon and Paul Hamilton spent two hours teaching warm-ups, floor exercises and Moses(es) steps to beginner and intermediate dance students. At the third and fourth classes on November 18 and 19, company members Dwayne Brown, Raja Kelly and Yeman Brown taught the younger dances at Collage dance Collective many of those same skills.


The generosity of Fist and Heel allowed us to share a one-of-a-kind experience with performers in our community, and nearly 2,000 students were also able to see these performers live on stage in Moses(es) as part of the Orpheum's Student Matinee Series.


Grounded in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel and Reggie Wilson’s travels to Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Mali, the work looks at diasporic movement out of Africa. The energetic fusion of modern and African dance is perfectly married to music by Louis Armstrong, The Klezmatics, Ngqoko Women's Ensemble, MaZarhar, Bi Kidude, Southern Sons, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and featuring songs including "Wade In the Water" and "Eli, Eli” sung live by the performers.


For more information on Reggie Wilson and Fist and Heel Performance Group, visit fistandheel.org.

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