[and then we must be] 

Inspired by ancestral, community-centered, and spiritual relationships to land and plants, [and then we must be] is a research and ritual project honoring Black American practices with land and plants through the modes of food, farming, rootwork, and magic. The work honors the practices that get passed down through recipe, spell, and story, as well as the memories active and activated in the body, plants, the land (soil, clay, mycelium, strata), and in spirit. The dancing is a movement offering, ritual, and prayer: in communion with spirit, plants, and land. [and then we must be] is the process of meeting and being met by plants and land, and of allowing oneself to be changed.

[and then we must be], premiered June 2-4, and 9-11 at Counterpulse in San Francisco. This performance is the first iteration of a larger project land|body|memory that will include performance, interviews, meals, storytelling, and medicine. 

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[and then we must be] Collaborators:

Vision and Choreography: Audrey Johnson

Movement and Choreographic Collaboration: Bay Laurel O’Connor, Laila Shabazz, Clarissa Dyas

Soundscore: Rhae-Dawn Royal

Projections and Film: Ariel Appel

Lighting Design: Stephanie Johnson

This work is made in gratitude to Black storytellers, medicine makers, culture keepers, hoodoos, rootworkers, conjurers, grannies, cooks, and farmers. This work lives in gratitude to the earth, plants, mountains and waters, here in Huchiun, and with gratitude to the Ohlone people who have stewarded this blessed land. The work is made in gratitude to our ancestors, past and future.

Photos by Robbie Sweeney

Photos - 2022

[and then we must be] is supported through Counterpulse's ARC Edge residency: an incubation residency and commissioning program for contemporary choreographers whose work is deeply curious about the intersection of art practice and social change. CounterPulse’s Artist Residency Commissioning Program is made possible by support from the Ken Hempel Fund for the Arts, Facebook, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Emmet R. Quady Foundation, and CounterPulse members.