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FUNkyFRIdayz: time and space connected through dance

in Arts/FUNkyFRIdayz by

Usually I don’t write about my work here, but this time I’m doing a video installation for The Leipzig Glocal #FUNkyFRIdayz launch party tonight.

The installation is about everything tonight is about. It chronicles dance, as available on YouTube. It starts in black and white and moves on to colour. When newspapers started, no one could have imagined we could create a webzine that could be accessed on computers and phones at the touch of a finger.

The work starts with dance in the 20s and 30s in the States. This was a time of racial divide. Like with hip hop, the movements began in the black community. Performers, like the Nicholas Brothers (the first ones on MY list) and Sammy Davies Jr came from poverty and rose through performing. Sammy hit the stage at 3 and stayed “in his place” until his death….through hip replacements and a glass eye. He was “discovered” by Frank Sinatra and became part of the Rat Pack and even had a white wife. Others I featured have fallen into obscurity. Names, long forgotten, their moves can be found on the net, like an architectural dig.

The installation goes on to focus on other cultures. These dances will be taken out of context because you can’t hear the music they originated from. It’s amazing to see the similarities. In Polynesian, Iranian and Indian traditional dances, dancers tell stories with the hands. Syrian traditional dance spins and spins and spins. The fascinating aspect of watching these moves to hip hop is that they are often with the music. With all the turmoil in the world we are facing due to migration, it’s a testament that we can keep our identity and still come together to create something enriching and valuable.

Also included are cartoons, movie-dancing greats and modern choreographers. There are many layers of this work that is designed for 2 screens and to loop after 4 hours. I hope you come and find a few of your own.

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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