May 19 - May 20, 2018


Part of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

The Downstairs | 66 E 4th Street

Saturday at 7PM; Sunday at 2PM

Concept and Design by Jonathan González
Performed by Katrina Reid
Sound Design by Rena Anakwe

Obeah initiates from the residue of a work by a similar title, A Black Ritual (Obeah), conceived in 1940 by Agnes De Mille. In this capstone work to González’s research on grief, sound artist Rena Anakwe and performer Katrina Reid facilitate an unfolding speculative fiction set within a cosmic body of water. The duet forms as an allegiance, a sisterhood, and cypher between sound and body conjuring transformations in associations to one another and the audience.
Elaborating on the mythologies of Obeah women – sorceresses residing at the depths of the ocean found in the spiritual folklore of the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora – the phenomenological workings of the feminine element of water becomes a site for contemplation on death. Obeah reifies ritual as that which is mystic and superstitious to illuminate the Piscean capacities of grief and the rigor in mourning collectively.

About the Artists

Jonathan González is a choreographer initiating questions of/from the body alongside composing sound and design for performance. They work have been shown at MINKA (BAX/Submerge), Danspace Project (Zero), NYLA (Fresh Tracks), The Current Sessions (wild project), Center for Performance Research (NViLP), JACK, The Loisaida Center, Project Reach, MakeTheRoadNY and El Museo Del Barrio (The Possibility Project). They are currently an adjunct faculty member teaching Dance History at Queensborough College, and performer with Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana, 2000) at MoMA. They have been a Diebold Award Recipient for Distinction in Choreography & Performance, Dancing While Black Fellow (BAX/Angela’s Pulse) guest-artist curator for Knockdown Center’s Sunday Service, and co-curator for Movement Research’s Fall Festival invisible material Trinity College (POSSE Scholar); Trinity Laban; Sarah Lawrence College (MFA). They are based in their hometown of Queens, New York.
Rena Anakwe, is an interdisciplinary artist and performer, working primarily with sound, visuals, and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality and performance she creates works focused on sensory-based, experiential interactions using technology. A member of the artistic collective NON Worldwide, she is based in Brooklyn, New York by way of Nigeria and Canada. Rena is a graduate of: the Interactive Telecommunications Program (iTP) at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (MPS), The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University (MFA) and New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business (BS.) She has collaborated, produced and shown audio/visual work at: MAD Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), TCC Chicago (CHI), Knockdown Center (NYC), NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1(NYC), Les Nubians ‘Up Close & Personal’ Tour (VARIOUS), The Tank (NYC), CTM Festival (GER), the Museum of the Moving Image (NYC), Europe’s Capital of Culture in Turku (FI.)
Katrina Reid is a performing artist and writer. She collaborates with a range of artists who are exploring performance at the center and edges of dance, theater, and ritual. Her own work has been presented as part of the 2016/2017 Dancing While Black/BAX Fellowship, the Current Sessions, Gibney Dance’s Double Plus series, Cocoon Theatre, Studio 26 Gallery, and BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.