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Black History Month Artist Spotlight: Renegade Performance Group

Black History Month Artist Spotlight: Renegade Performance Group

Pentacle celebrates our artists this Black History Month with an interview with Renegade Performance Group! André Zachery (Artistic Director, Renegade Performance Group) is currently an Administrative Support Program artist and was previously part of our ART research project.

Pentacle Administrative Support Artist Andre Zachery's headshot. Andre is in profile wearing a black shirt.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

“As a dancer and choreographer in New York City, Black History Month is a reminder that this land has been and will continue to be a “kafou” or “crossroads”. New York City, more than any other city on this planet is a ground-zero of the global African Diaspora. The circumstances that have brought us as Black people together range from a mix of realities. Yet what continues to be created from these exchanges or even collisions at this intersection called New York City is always inspiring. To walk these streets and create following in the legacies of unknown Africans dancing in bondage, the movement in liberated spaces like Weeksville, jazz-joints in Harlem, mambo-clubs in Spanish Harlem, the playgrounds where breakers hit the vinyl in the Bronx, where dancers swerved in discos and loft to mixes on electronic systems of soul music, in dance studios where Black ballerinas in Afros danced a Creole Giselle, to every Labour Day on Eastern Parkway – Black people dancing seems to be a continual and powerful regenerator of the magic found in New York City. At times I am awed to be a part of this magnificent quilt that has been pieced together by so many peoples, communities, and families.”

 

How do you celebrate your heritage through your work as a dancer/choreographer?
“Black history lives through our cultural expressions of music, dance, visual arts, fashion, use of language and even everyday gestures. Celebrating Black heritage through my work as a choreographer is an act of using, honoring and expanding on practices rooted in remembrance, joy, healing, and celebration within our families and communities. More than any other form, dance is for and from the body. In our Black bodies, stories of triumph and tragedy and transcendence run through veins. As a choreographer, I use these “Blood memories” (as Alvin Ailey called them) to guide me in finding the courage to share these narratives through dancing bodies and discover the better version of ourselves through the power of Black history.”