©2019 Sarah Ashkin

task, 2018
Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, CA 

task uses the platform of the proscenium dance performance as a public confrontation of white supremacy.  

Treating the theater as a site, GROUND SERIES co-directors continue their research and presentations of site-specific performance with the new challenge to re-map and re-frame the stage. The duet, choreographed and performed by Sarah Ashkin and Brittany Delany, reflects on the problematics of the white female body moving through the foreground and background. Balancing the absurdity, tenderness, violence, and honesty required to engage with racism, gender, and western concert dance, task is a collage of postmodern dance, performance art, satire, and political commentary.  

task germinates from Sarah and Brittany’s separate and shared research and backgrounds into race, gender, and dance studies. Sarah’s recently completed graduate research marks the legacy of racism within western concert dance. Her inquiries into the white dancing female body, dance training as a mechanism for white supremacy, and analysis of the theater as a white space inform her contributions to the making of task. Over the last two years Brittany has co-founded and co-lead the intersectional intergenerational feminist artist collective, Wyld Womxn, based in the Coachella Valley. Her work organizing womxn in communal discussions, artistic events, and political protest around issues of the gaze, consent, violence, race, and healing guide her need to address the historical and present day problematics of white feminists within the frame of task.

task is a response to the racist paradigm in which white choreographers can create work about poetic abstraction, formal concepts, or ‘universal narratives’, while the work of choreographers of color is often solely interpreted through the lens of race, racism, and the racialized dancing body. GROUND SERIES believes it is white artists’ responsibility to mark the white dancing body of the proscenium as racialized, and even as a historical and present day vessel of racist cultural practice. Entrenched in themes of failure, listening and accountability, this duet invites the audience to consider our work in the current political moment-- as artists, as cultural patrons, and as people.  White supremacy is a white problem.  

  • CHOREOGRAPHED & PERFORMED by Sarah Ashkin and Brittany Delany

  • MUSIC by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs

  • DRAMATURGY by Sue Roginski

  • DESIGN by Zoe Koke

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