The Cotton Series
As part of The New School’s centennial celebration, on Friday October 4th choreographer, visual artist, and The New School alum Havanna Fisher - in conjunction with 400 Years of Inequality - produced three of her works from The Cotton Series, a multimedia project and body of dance work that explores Black women’s relationship with food, Black men, family, community, love and contributions to the United States. Between the three pieces - 6_______ Bodies, Birth of a Workforce, and If We Ain’t Laughing With You - a film produced by the collective asked Black women about their experiences in the world, the answers related over scenes of the dancers performing in public spaces throughout New York City such as Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park.
The Cotton Series also functions as a collective of Black women who maintain friendship and build community outside of the art they produce. This performance featured dancers Mariama Noguera-Devers, Havanna Fisher, Jean Wakati, Isabella Jackson, Diana Uribe, and Na’ilah Harris, and videography/editing by Maria J. Hackett and Barbara E. Byrd.
The choreography is set in front of a row of cotton plants, and in addition to adorning the elegant costumes designed by Fisher, pieces of cotton are used throughout as artifacts of softness, pain, play, and defiance. In the very last piece, members of the audience are invited onstage to dance with the performers in a joyous affirmation of life, “electric sliding” into the future.
Photography by Maria J. Hackett.