Choreographers Chris Walker and Kevin Ormsby will tour “FACING Home: Love & Redemption,” a contemporary dance concert that investigates the global impact of Bob Marley’s music—its expression of humanity’s struggle and inspiration toward love, redemption and hope—and the active, deep-rooted homophobia in Jamaican/West Indian Culture.
The tour opens in Wisconsin at the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, University of Wisconsin-Madison Dance Department, November 19-21, continues in Minneapolis at the Cowles Center November 22, and goes to Toronto where it will be performed at the Aki Studio Theatre November 26-29. In the spring, the concert will be performed at the Harquail Theatre in George Town, Cayman Islands and the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Arts in Kingston, Jamaica March 2016.
“This work faces the paradox that is the West Indian preaching of liberation we find in Marley’s music,” said Chris Walker, Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “while simultaneously oppressing the LGBTQ’s community ability to participate in family, community, and culture.” Through the work, which is constantly evolving, Walker explains, “we aim to engage communities in conversations around homophobia and look at its impact on how individuals engage with space—internal/external, new/old, there/here—and also with each other.”The concert, which is set to the Nyabinghi rhythms of Jamaica and covers of Bob Marley’s songs (by Matisyahou (NY) Luciano (Jamaica), Jonathon Butler (South Africa) and others), is a collaboration between Walker and Kevin Ormsby, Artistic Director of Toronto-based KASHEDANCE Company.
“We’re inviting audiences to ask themselves ‘When did you first fall in love? When did you hear Marley’s music?'” said Ormsby, “and we’re challenging them to think about this, talk about this in light of the real stigmas of homosexuality.”
This body of work evolved from Walker’s experimental contemporary work—“FACING Home: A Phobia” which premiered in New York City June 2013. That work explored the violent attitudes towards homosexuals in their home countries, which for many, resulted in a forced exodus from their country and the reconstruction of their identities as a means of survival.
“FACING HOME” is meant to impact migrant populations, generate change and ignite the LGBTQ community, it’s supporters, and service workers everywhere it’s performed and beyond. Walker and Ormsby hope, with this work, to initiate an ongoing conversation and provide spaces for the LGBTQ narratives of displacement from home.