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  danceGATHERING 2020 | 18/19 APRIL. 2020


DG2020 Theme \ 




Disclaimer: The future is BLACK, it has always been; we are simply at the wake of the vulgarity that began with the transatlantic slave trade. Our curiosity for endings and end times dissociate itself from any apocalyptic predictions, end time however, is always a violent event, whatever the latest expression is, for it is the substitution of one world order by another, a kind of order that is experienced as disorder and a terrifying future in the consciousness of the dominant power. The future has always been BLACK, for black peoples and Africans who’ve had to imagine themselves out of slavery, colonialism, apartheid and other postcolonial abysses. The emotional intelligence and self-preserving mechanisms that Africans have created overtime, shall be approached as a vernacular form of technology for knowledge production, an asset in the face of a blackening world. 


Our theme for danceGATHERING2020 indicates an awareness, that the Earth and its earthlings are experiencing physical and spiritual transformation, and dG2020 identifies as one of such events, which unflinchingly situate queer black imaginations as a counterpoint, an alternative way to think and imagine ourselves into a new ‘new’. This is the end, which offers an incredible opportunity for a new creation, the machinery that white supremacy created over centuries, now implicates us all in its hangover, the silent roles we all played as organs within the machineries of capitalism, patriarchy and western education and its hegemony, had overtime created habits that must be transcended, we all therefore, have a role to play in the maintenance or the collapse of its legacy.


Beyond the question of race, our theme; THIS IS THE END: THE FUTURE IS BLACK places before us, a blank page through which we may rewrite the past and the future of humanity altogether.Which therefore, offers a conceptual framework that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, cultures or ideas to gain complementary insights. The keynote of dG2020 is the widening of our experiences and the enrichment of our practices in a stimulating antidisciplinary environment, where we practice the future together, where we allow ourselves to be displaced and jostled, to develop new pathways, to be open to others and challenge ourselves again, to give up monolithic identities and recognizable methods.


The challenge therefore, is for the various personalities who shall gather at danceGATHERING2020, to understand one another in the context of multiple universalisms, one that has the merit of confronting the reality of what defines new societies; heterogeneity will be the vehicle for an awakening in the face of the evolution of our civilizations, for it obliges each individual to abandon his/her/their certainties and recompose new frameworks. Thus the distances perceptible between the different disciplines, the different genders, ages, the different races, nationalities and the diverse approaches we will bring together, shall be understood as an invitation to collective future making.


In 2017 we initiated danceGATHERING, as an annual gathering for creatives coming from diverse backgrounds, a performance lab and anti-disciplinary convention, which takes place in Lagos. It was co-founded in 2017 by Hajarat Alli and Qudus Onikeku, and co-curated in 2018 and 2019 by Qudus Onikeku, dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the QDance Center Lagos, and Onye Ozuzu, the Dean of the School of Arts, University of Florida USA. Operating as a horizontal, co-creation and co-learning space where everyone is an expert in something, where there is freedom of experiment. Here we invite artistes, thinkers, dreamers, healers and other inclassable mutants, who are all radically shifting the boundaries of knowledge in their various fields and localities, to connect by philosophies and practically collaborate together, on ideas that doesn’t necessarily fit into one discipline. 

danceGATHERING isn't a festival, it isn't a retreat, a conference nor a workshop or seminar. It is a free space devoid of academic rules or marketplace expectations, devoid of professional hustle or cleverness. It is a space of love and laughter, of encounters and imperfections, a space of strength, vulnerability and inter-communal cooperation. A space of free spirit, free sharing and immense generosity, it is an untamed and uncultivated space, which invites us all to shed the layers of inhibition that flaws our capacity for human connectedness in our daily lives. An attempt to strengthen ties across borderlines, across race, across place, across time, across disciplines, across age, across gender and goes straight to the core of our being. A gathering of bodies happy to be together and touch one another, and desire one another, and care for one another, and carry, push, pull and groove with one another regardless of all the differences they emit unto one another.

A body mind spirit workspace, where we collectively experience the bliss of total surrender to the creative process, where we inquire into what it means to elevate our thinking and culture as creatives, as thinkers and doers, as dreamers and catalysts, by simply being open to others and learning from all kinds of inspiring people from around the globe. It is a gathering where we are invited to plan together for a paradigm shift, where people are curated and not the things they make; here nothing is laid out but deeply felt. On the final weekend, danceGATHERING transforms Broad Street (Lagos historic Business District), into an arena for an elaborate performance, where all the collaborations, the findings and outcomes are shared in open air, with a larger Lagos and international audience. It is an attempt to bring back a religious order to public life.


For the first week of danceGATHERING, the morning session offers participants an opportunity to take a variety of master classes from what’s available, ranging from traditional dances and drumming, body mind centering, contemporary practice and improvisation, writing and composition, philosophy and history etc., while the afternoon session affords each participant an opportunity to work individually or in small groups.


The second week offers a laboratory, where all the participants get an opportunity of collaborating with other collaborators, which further expands the scope of their materials, they experiment together, exchange creative processes and patterns, with the constraint at hand they dive deeper into pertinent questions of innovation, as it pertains to their practices and the current realities, while they develop new collaborative works that engage the creative energy of Lagos and the times.

On the final weekend, danceGATHERING transforms Broad Street, Lagos busiest street into an arena for an antidisciplinary performance weekend, where all the collaborations, the findings and outcomes will be shared in open air with thousands of Lagos and international audience. 

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