SET FREE: Emma Draves & Tara Aisha Willis (Th/Fr); Keisha Janae & Julia Mayer (Sa/Su)


Links Hall

3111 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618

Chicago, IL, US, 60618

August 9-12, as part of Links Hall’s 40th anniversary, The Watering Can presents the culminating showcase for the SET FREE Volume 3 series. SET FREE supports the progression of creative work through performance. It provides independent movement artists repeated access to space where their work can be shown, shared and revisited throughout its development. In recognizing that public performance can deliver different discoveries than those found in the studio, SET FREE creates the possibility for one’s studio and performance practices to be interwoven as the project progresses over time. This series is interested in increasing influence and overlapping appreciation among emerging and experienced artists working within the structures of SET composition and FREE improvisation. 

Program on August 9 & 10 at 7:00 PM
Emma Draves & Tara Aisha Willis

Emma Draves – “For Those who are Present” is built around a process of challenging myself to create movement on whomever was in the room and was/is performed for whomever attends the performances. It is full of texture and task, and flow and weight with phrase work built according to the timings of everyday activities and in reference to the architecture of everyday spaces.

Tara Aisha Willis – “Up from Under” – Through tightly structured movement improvisation scores unfolding alongside Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste’s live sound design, Up from under builds a density of present-tense and historical sensation that unravels familiar sounds from recorded music history around the changeable personas, bodies, and emotional states of a black femme figure on the verge. A sensory search for the textures between beats—what lays beyond the audible surface—distills emotional shifts into somatic tensions and releases, moving at the fissures between self and audience. This architecture of silence, sound, and memory scrapes around the edges of rhythm and song structure, finding the basement of the sound while pushing this body toward something like reverence.

Program on August 11 & 12 at 7:00 PM 
Keisha Janae & Julia Mayer

Keisha Janae“Keisha”This piece is the first score in Keisha’s ongoing project surrounding the creation of artistic movement as documentation in order to appreciate the diversity in the present black person. She seeks to unveil the stereotypes of identity in community by focusing on the individual’s memoir, their experiences, and contributions within the collective legacy of black culture. Through this project she hopes to design a permanent relic/ritual in order to develop a full awareness of our sense of self in community, bring light to a shared responsibility in carrying and knowing each other’s whole history for our future, and celebrating ourselves. In this score Keisha investigates unmasking what she felt she had to be and what was expected of her body in this land. She is going through her process of reclaiming ownership of herself uninfluenced, unbound, unmoved, unexpected, uninhibited, and freely through retracing and re-experiencing her lost history. She is a seed born in water that finds land and paints her growth. She is discovering what her real self-portrait constitutes and purpose in her experiences that will be carried on in her community.

Julia Mayer“Left Off” is an homage to my mother, Karen; a reflection on her life and her death; a reckoning with my grief; and a way for me to share the process. I interweave stories and images of my memories of her as a physical being, first while I was growing up, and later when she was dying. The stage is strewn with books as I attempt to abstract her very methodical process of randomly reading a new poem to start each day with attention and compassion. In movement, stories, and composition, I am relying on intuition and memory to guide me. I am drawing from a deeper emotional well than I am used to. It has been rich, unfamiliar soil. The piece is grounded by the presence of collaborating performers, JulieAnn Graham and Jules Hopkins.