Dance Professor Cynthia Oliver's Latest Work "Virago-Man Dem" Receives Great Reviews in NY and Chicago
Cynthia Oliver's new project, Virago-Man Dem, a group work examining the complexities and nuances of black masculinities in the diaspora, was originally commissioned in the summer of 2015 in a partnership between Paloma McGregor's Dancing While Black organization and Makeda Thomas's New Waves Institute in Trinidad and Tobago. Oliver began in Trinidad, exploring material with a workshop cast of local and nonlocal men. She continued this research in multiple residencies across the country at the Vermont Performance Lab (VPL), the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography in Tallahassee, Florida, the University of Illinois, New York's Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement, and Gibney Dance. Her cast includes Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, and Ni'Ja Whitson and collaborators Jason Finkelman (music), John Jennings and Stacey Robinson of Black Kirby (visuals), John Boesche (projections), Susan Becker (costumes), and Amanda Ringger (lighting). The rich and provocative work Virago-Man Dem premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival 2017 before moving to the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago and will go on to tour the country over the next two years.