Free Virtual Film Screening and Conversation
Thaddeus Davis, Codirector Wideman Davis Dance; Associate Professor, Departments of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies, University of South Carolina
Tanya Wideman-Davis, Codirector Wideman Davis Dance; Associate Professor, Departments of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies, University of South Carolina
In conversation with Sarah Clunis, Director of Academic Partnerships and Curator of African Collections, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
From the world-renowned Wideman Davis Dance Company and award-winning filmmakers Ethan Payne and Brian Foster, We Dance is a love story, deconstructed and distilled into its most elemental ingredients. Dreams. Memories. Family. Environments. In this 12-minute film, Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis take us from Chicago, Montgomery, and New York to the point where their lives meet and become one. Along the way, they honor and signify on Black American art, poetry, and literature. In this conversation with Sarah Clunis, they will discuss the film and delve into the importance of movement and migration to Black American identity, lived experience, and consciousness. And show how all of our stories are kept—in the places we’ve been, in the food we eat, and in the dreams that we so steadfastly chase.
Presented in collaboration with the Theater, Dance & Media Program, Harvard University
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About the Speakers
Tanya Wideman-Davis is the codirector of Wideman Davis Dance and is on faculty as an associate professor at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies. With an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she completed her Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF (2012). Tanya has danced with many world-renowned companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Joffrey Ballet, Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Ballet NY, and as guest artist with Ballet Memphis, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and Quorum Ballet Amadora, Portugal. Wideman-Davis has received multiple honors and grants for her work including: 2021 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellow, 2021 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant, 2019 South Arts Momentum Grant, 2019 Alternate Roots Artistic Assistance: Project Development Grant, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Grant, 2017 University of South Carolina Provost Grant, 2013 Map Fund Grant, and Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2011). She has received international acclaim as Best Female Dancer of 2001-2002 by Dance Europe magazine. Tanya’s academic, choreographic research and lectures examine race, gender, femininity, identity, and location. She has recently contributed a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet titled “Dance Theatre of Harlem: Radical Black Female Bodies in Ballet.”
Thaddeus Davis is the coartistic director of Wideman/Davis Dance and associate professor in the Departments of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. Through the lens of the African American Experience, he questions notions of spaces and environments that affect the interaction of gender, class, race, technology, and media’s ability to shape our perceptions. His research findings are exhibited in the creation of original dance works, films and essays. Davis has received multiple honors and grants for his work including: 2018 National Dance Project Grant, 2017 Provost Grant to support the creations of a research team for the development of Migratuse Ataraxia, 2013 Map Fund Grant to support the research and development of Ruptured Silence: Racist Signs and Symbol, Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2011), University of South Carolina Arts Institute, Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Reading/Dance Collaboration. Balance: Homelessness Project (2009), Canvas: The Master Class (2010), Cultural Envoy to Portugal, U.S. Department of State.
As a Fellow of the 2016 South Carolina Collaboration on Race and Reconciliation, Davis is committed to being an active participant in South Carolina’s efforts to improve community relations and support conversations on race and reconciliation.
Sarah Clunis is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and received her PhD in art history in 2006 from the University of Iowa. She is Director of Academic Partnerships and Curator of African Collections at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. Prior to this role, she was director of the Xavier University Art Gallery, where she supervised the Art Collection team, and was also assistant professor of art history. Dr. Clunis has taught art history for over twenty years at public universities and historically Black colleges and universities. Her research and classes have focused on the history of African art and the display of African objects in Western museum settings. She also studies the influence of African aesthetics and philosophy on the arts and religious rituals and cultural identities of the African diaspora. Her work examines gender, race, and migration in multiple contexts. She has published in both national and international magazines and journals.