Set Free August 2017

Set Free is a residency program co-produced by the Watering Can and Links Hall and curated by Jessica Marasa and Roell Schmidt.

The “Set Free” residency includes five Monday evening showings shared amongst four artists each receiving 25 minutes per evening to repeat and revisit the development of their work. The series ends with one final weekend of performances in August. Participating artists in the 2018 series are Emma Draves, Keisha Janae, Julia Mayer & Tara Aisha Willis.

“Set Free” was created from a recognition that public performance delivers different discoveries than those found in the studio. “Set” represents artists who prefer to work in a composed, more structured manner and “free” represents those who thrive in an improvisational format.


What Follows


Choreographed by Emma Draves
Performed by Emma Draves and Andy Slavin

“What Follows” is a companion piece for “Listen”, the work Draves has been developing over the course of the past year in collaboration with Andy Slavin. The collaboration has been a new adventure and they have spent months developing a rehearsal processes and a working relationship that is honest, artistically challenging, and exciting. Their process immerses them within movement, a combination of kinesthetic narrative and task, and eschew impulses to achieve goals or create spectacle. Their goal is to create movement that manifests from the changeable self of each individual in a working environment where each dancer feels seen, respected, awakened, galvanized. During the course of Set Free, Draves will spend time working on a duet for Andy and herself, as well as bring in new dancers each month on which to set solo movement pieces. At each month’s performance they will offer up the working process of the Duet, as well as a new Solo.

I am digging I am haunting

I am digging I am haunting, Keisha Janae

Created and performed by Keisha Janae and Dedrick Gray

“I am digging I am haunting” is about a digging process. It is the exploration in finding peace with our shadow. Our body, Our mind, Our spirit, our being are unknown. We are made up of everything black. We are not the format of everything darkness. We are darkness. Keisha will also be working on a duet work with artist Dedrick Gray where the two co-create a work that allows the audience to be witnesses to the process of research between the identity of a black woman and black man and their experiences. Involved within this process is the investigation of the whole body of blackness (past, present, future). We will also rediscover our power by dissecting the body of blackness and placing futuristic elements on top of the past and present.

Julia Mayer, title TBD


Choreographed and Performed by Julia Mayer

Drawing on her embodied experiences as a practitioner of qi gong, a jazz lover, and a mother–and a strong desire to fly like a bird–Julia’s work glides seamlessly from improvised movement maps to composed sequences and back. In this new work, Mayer, as much cartographer as choreographer, attempts to navigate the treacherous waters of grief and loss, avoiding the sirens of melodrama, and, as always, relishing the serious pursuit of play.



Created by Tara Aisha Willis

Through tightly structured movement improvisation scores, “Bertha” builds a density of present-tense and strangely historical sensation across a memory-plagued, physically emotional landscape. Forming a tense sonic architecture of old school boomboxes around both dancers and audience, this choreography combatively layers familiar song structures and broken remnants that bubble up in our bodies, moving at the fissures between ourselves, each other, assumed personas, and recollected emotional states. A sensory search for the textures between beats and for what lays beyond the audible surface produces a terrain of movement and affects that allows us to distill emotional shifts as somatic tensions and releases.