Black Portraiture[s] VII: Play & Performance | The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research (

This panel is co organized by Zeus Sumra and Iliana Smith. Smith is a current first year English MA student focusing on Caribbean Literature and Visual Culture. Her research interests are centered on postwar Caribbean literary and arts movements, specifically the London Caribbean Artists Movement and the Windrush Generation movements. Zeus is a recent graduate of Rutgers Newark's MFA program. He currently teaches composition and creative writing and serves as Director of The Lit Lantern Reading Series, a program that features Black writers.
The panel will center performers who are also writers. They will discuss how Blackness and queer discursive methods appear in dramatic styles and in cultural expression. The merging of both mediums complicates the stories we tell by challenging ideas of play and performance. Panelists will share about their personal and creative experiences with dance: how and when they became involved with dance; other performative acts and experiences; major influences; the connection between dance and creative writing and other creative expressions; the relationship between performance and modern day activism. These panelists will be able to speak to the experience of choreographing Black dance and performance, how it relates to storytelling, and can challenge notions and limitations of Black performance. Lastly, panelists will share how art movements, migration, hyphenated identities, and technology continue to transform dance and Black performance.
Panelists are as follows : Jayson P. Smith (NOMAD,) Amir Denzel Hall (NYU MFA,) Quess Green (Rutgers MFA,) India Lena González, and Ananda Naima González (Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey).