T H E C O M P A N Y
Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group is a Brooklyn based dance company which blends contemporary dance with African traditions. The company makes brilliant new performance from the spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora. Wilson draws on the movement idioms of Blues, Slave and Worship cultures to create what he calls “Post-African Neo Hoodoo Modern dance”. Accompanied by their own driving rhythms — body percussion, aspirated breath, singing and shouts — Fist & Heel blends deep ritual into potent, beautiful and energizing contemporary dance.
The Story of “Fist and Heel”
“Fist and heel is clapping and stomping, shouting and hollerin’ – and the manipulation of energies” explains Reggie Wilson. “Drums denied and confiscated, enslaved Africans reinvented their spiritual tradition in the Americas as a soulful art form white authorities dismissed as merely “fist and heel worshipping.”
Reggie Wilson (Artistic Director, choreographer and performer) founded his company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, in 1989. Wilson draws from the movement languages of the blues, slave and spiritual cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.”
His work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), UCLA Live (Los Angeles), The Flynn (Burlington, VT), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX), Summerstage (NYC), Linkfest and Festival e’Nkundleni (Zimbabwe), Dance Factory (South Africa), Danças na Cidade (Portugal), and Festival Kaay Fecc (Senegal), The Politics of Ecstasy (Berlin, Germany).
Wilson has traveled extensively: to the Mississippi Delta to research secular and religious aspects of life there; to Trinidad and Tobago to research the Spiritual Baptists and the Shangoists; and also to North, Southern, Central, West and East of Africa to work with dance and performance groups as well as various religious communities.
Wilson is a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1988, Larry Rhodes, Chair) He has studied composition and been mentored by Phyllis Lamhut; Performed and toured with Ohad Naharin’s NY-based company before forming his own Fist and Heel Performance Group. He has lectured, taught and conducted extended workshops and community projects throughout the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. He has served as visiting faculty at several universities including Yale, Princeton and Wesleyan Universities and has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project and Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop. He is the recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance’s McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001), 2002 BESSIE and a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2009 he was the Herb Alpert Award recipient in Dance, and also a Prudential USA Fellow in recognition of his creative contributions to the field. Most recently, he was named a Joyce Foundation Award recipient and is a member of the inaugural class of Doris Duke Performing Artists.
In March 2012 an evening of works, theRevisitation, was presented at New York Live Arts. His newest work (project) Moseses Project will have its world premiere in the Fall of 2013 and be part of the BAM Next Wave Festival December 2013.