Sidra Bell Dance New York & Immanuel Wilkins Collaboration
Sidra Bell is the founder of Sidra Bell Dance New York and a dancer, choreographer, and educator who is currently a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts, an Adjunct Professor LINES Ballet/Dominican University and an Adjunct Professor at Ball State University.Artist Bio
Immanuel Wilkins is a saxophonist, composer, aArranger, and bandleader from the greater Philadelphia area. He has two albums out on Blue Note Records—Omega and his most recent release, The 7th Hand.Artist Bio
Sidra Bell Dance New York and acclaimed saxophonist, composer, and arranger Immanuel Wilkins began work on waiting in November 2020 at the height of the pandemic as a work-in-progress at a residency at the 92nd Street Y. The work was scheduled for a performance at National Sawdust in June 2020 but was canceled due to the global crisis. Work on the project continued through the 92nd Street Y in the fall with Bell and the company collaborating on Zoom with Wilkins. It had an online/low-tech showing. The work is a pure dance display of the joy and ecstatic spontaneity through improvisational modalities that Wilkins’s contemplative and rich composition evokes. Bell looks at identity through the lenses of surveillance, performance, voyeurism, and expectation in contemporary culture. A critical inquiry of this work is to look at the current trajectory of despair and dystopia that permeates the way that we connect with other bodies. The research is prompted by Bell’s personal navigation of disconnection, loneliness, and aimlessness through traveling. The work will have a poetic structure based in imagery and sensation. Bell will research through the specificity of formal dance vocabulary and action as it relates to body codes and social structures. The work navigates themes of resistance and counterculture. Our artistic team will develop a work that plays against hierarchical notions in performance and the engagement of audiences. The work places hybrid forms of movement against a wild mixture of textures and sound in the environment of the space.
White Plains, NY
Sidra Bell is the founder of Sidra Bell Dance New York and a dancer, choreographer, and educator who is currently a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts, an Adjunct Professor LINES Ballet/Dominican University and an Adjunct Professor at Ball State University. She has been an artist in residence at University of Oklahoma (Brackett Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair), Harvard University, and an Adjunct Professor at Georgian Court University, Marymount Manhattan College and Barnard College. Bell received a BA in History from Yale and an MFA in Choreography from Purchase College. She is the founder and creative director of the award winning MODULE Laboratory, an immersive platform for movement and theater artists. Bell has won several awards, notably a First Prize for Choreography at the Solo Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany and a National Dance Project Production Award from the NEFA. In 2017 Mayor Thomas Roach named February 3 “Sidra Bell Day” in White Plains, NY. Her work has been seen throughout the United States and in Denmark, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovenia, Sweden, Germany, China, Canada, Aruba, Korea, Brazil, and Greece. Bell has created over 100 works notably for Nevada Ballet Theater, BODYTRAFFIC, Ailey II, The Juilliard School, Whim W’Him, Boston Conservatory, River North Dance Chicago, NYU Tisch, Sacramento Ballet, Boulder Ballet, Ballet Austin, Boulder Ballet and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet School, among many others. She was the first Black female choreographer commissioned to create work for New York City Ballet where she created two works for film and the Lincoln Center stage (Fall Fashion Gala 2021 and Innovators & Icons Program). She was nominated for a 2022 Bessie NY Dance & Performance Dance.
Photo by Umi Akiyoshi Photography.
New York, NY
Immanuel Wilkins is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader from the greater Philadelphia area. Moving to New York in 2015, Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree in music at the Juilliard School, studying with the saxophonists Bruce Williams and the late Joe Temperley while simultaneously establishing himself as an in-demand sideman working and/or recording with artists like Jason Moran, Kenny Barron, Bill Frisell, Joel Ross, Aaron Parks, Gerald Clayton, Wynton Marsalis, and Solange Knowles, to name just a few. It was also during this same period that he formed his quartet featuring his long-time bandmates: Micah Thomas (piano), Daryl Johns (bass), and Kweku Sumbry (drums).
Being a bandleader and having a working group for over four years has allowed Wilkins to grow both as a composer and arranger—and has led to him receiving a number of commissions including, most recently, from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and the Jazz Gallery Artist Residency Commission program. He was also the Kimmel Cultural Campus Center artist-in-residence for 2020. He has collaborated with visual artists Cauleen Smith, Kennedy Yanko, Rog Walker, David Dempewolf, and Leslie Hewitt. In addition to teaching at NYU and the New School, Wilkins has taught and given master classes and clinics at schools/venues like Oberlin College, Yale University, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Ultimately, Wilkins’s mission is to create a sound that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact that will allow him to become a great leader in the long lineage of jazz musicians. Through studying the human pathos of the music and the culture of jazz, Wilkins aspires to bring people together through the commonality of love and belief in this music. He has two albums out on Blue Note Records—Omega and his most recent release, The 7th Hand.