AfroSocialiteLifeDiva integrates movement, story, and sound to reveal portraits of women in transformation. Through autobiographical and mythic stories, Oliver’s work follows the emotional and spiritual changes that take place from one generation to the next, from Harlem to the American South, to the Caribbean. AfroSocialiteLifeDiva includes sweeping large-group choreographic sequences and individual anecdotes. The work tells the story of a heroic woman, a composite of generations of women whose body expresses the physical poetry of her heritage, culture, and emotions.
Cynthia Oliver has created a dozen original dance and performance works since 1993, including because she was, Shemad, Unremoveable Jacket, and Wake, and the Bessie Award-winning performance work Death’s Door. Her works have also been presented in New York at PS 122, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, and St. Mark’s Church, and several regional venues. Her work has been supported by the National Performance Network, the Jerome Foundation, The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund, and other foundations. Oliver has performed with numerous companies and independent choreographers including fellow grantee Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE and the David Gordon Pick Up Company. She teaches at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and has a doctorate in performance studies from New York University.