Dancer Okwui Okpokwasili Premieres New Work Responding to Nick Cave’s ‘Until’ at MASS MoCA

Okwui Okpokwasili

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Dancer-choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili will premiere her new work, “Until… move,” a response to Nick Cave’s monumental exhibition, “Until,” taking place within Cave’s exhibition in Building 5 at MASS MoCA on Friday, April 7, at 8pm.

Actor, dancer, choreographer, and writer Okwui Okpokwasili is praised for her kinesthetically powerful and “ruthlessly clean and clever” work (Helen Shaw, TimeOut New York).

In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects that are raw, intimate experiences. As a performer, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with director and choreographer Ralph Lemon, including Come Home, Charley Patton (2006), for which she won a “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performer; How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? (2010), a duet performed at the Museum of Modern Art as part of On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century (2011); and Scaffold Room (2014). Okpokwasili has appeared as an actor in many productions including Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians (1999), Richard Foreman’s Maria del Bosco (2001), Kristin Marting’s Sounding (2009), Joan Dark (2009), Young Jean Lee’s Lear (2010), Nora Chipaumire’s Miriam (2012), and Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013). Film credits include The Interpreter (2005), The Hoax (2006), I Am Legend (2007), Knut Åsdam’s Abyss (2010), and Malorie’s Final Score (2013).

Okpokwasili’s “pent up: a revenge dance” (2008) premiered at Performance Space 122 and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production. An immersive installation version of the work was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Her FCA-supported Bronx Gothic received a 2014 “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production, and continues to tour nationally and internationally. An early iteration of FCA-supported Poor People’s TV Room was presented by the Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in 2014.

Okpokwasili has received awards from the French American Cultural Exchange, a Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Choreographic Fellowship (2012), a New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Choreography (2013), and was an artist-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

Okpokwasili received her B.A. from Yale University in 1996.
The event is a co-presentations by Jacob’s Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA.

In the sweeping exhibition Until — a play on the phrase “innocent until proven guilty,” or in this case “guilty until proven innocent” —  Nick Cave addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in today’s America. Sprawling throughout the massive Building 5 space, the exhibition is comprised of 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys. Noted as Cave’s largest, most political, and most personal work to date — and drawing record crowds since its October 16 opening — the exhibition is intended as both art and stage. Dancers, singer-songwriters, pop artists, poets, and composers of world renown have been invited to perform in the space, which has welcomed and continues to host community events, including panel discussions, forums, theater, music making, and other forms of creative public debate and engagement.

MASS MoCA is located at 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247.

Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under through May 21, 2017. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, spring – fall. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA. Hours: 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays

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