April 6, 2016
Dorchester spoken-word artist U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is just one of more than a dozen Massachusetts female artists and ensembles who will gather at Hibernian Hall this Friday and Saturday evening for the Third Annual “We Create! Celebrating Women in the Arts.”
This multicultural showcase, featuring music, dance, mixed media, and spoken word, was originated, produced, and curated by Puerto Rican dance artist Marsha Parrilla whose teaching resume includes an adjunct professorship teaching Modern Dance at Roxbury Community College.
In 2007 she founded Danza Orgánica as a Boston-based Contemporary Dance Theater, which is currently in residence at the Tony Williams Dance Center in Jamaica Plain.
While Parrilla concedes that there are many local events that feature women as performers, she feels there are very few opportunities for women to be highlighted as creators. Furthermore, she conceived of this movement-oriented gathering as a container in which women artists could network, collaborate, support one another, and be featured in a high visibility space.
She explains: “ ‘We Create!’ is a community-based and process-oriented festival in Boston that features the works of a selected group of the most talented women artists in Massachusetts. I am very interested in people recognizing the amazing work that women artists in Boston do. There is so much talent in every field: dance, film, media arts, visual arts, puppetry, and music. This annual showcase is my way of bringing local women of different disciplines together.”
The pieces developed for each edition of “We Create!” share a common theme. The 2016 theme is “Acculturation,” the process of change that results when different cultures interact. Along these lines, Danza Orgánica will do a dance theater piece on the impact of incarceration on women and children.
U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, who has appeared in previous years at “We Create!” has also performed at Dorchester Open Studios and Dot 2 Dot Café Book Club readings. In her recitations she typically alternates between speaking in English and in her native Shona, the most widely spoken of the 16 official languages of Zimbabwe.
This weekend she will perform “African Made, American Grown,” which she describes as “a choreopoem that explores the dance between being African and American, the push and pull of duality/ tri-lingualism and culture.” (By the way, on April 19th, this poet’s debut print collection. “Soul Psalms,” will be published by She Writes Press.)
Other performers will include Karen Klein, rendering her multi-media piece, “Hello Babies,” which depicts “the plight of homelessness in migratory birds and in Latin American children, including unaccompanied minors, migrating to the US from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.” And Sarah Mae Gibbons and Caitlin Gianniny will present “Without,” a performance piece that depicts the falling away of cultural identity through generations/time.
Each of the two performances has special features. The Friday show will welcome as an opening act “Hidden Beauty,” featuring students from Boston Arts Academy. Before the Saturday show there will be morning master dance class. After the show, cast and audience will get a chance to mingle during a Q&A and reception with the artists
Check website for details: danzaorganica.org. Brown Paper Tickets has all the admission information.