Body as Truth Teller. Body as Freedom Holder. Body as Archive.

Workshop with Danielle Smith
Saturday, October 12th, 2019—12:15pm

An immersive performance-based workshop of inquiry, providing insight into body-based resilience practices, embodied ancestral research, indigo dyeing, and body print-making. The inquiry of this performance is one of gaining understanding of a possibility of transforming trauma and repurposing its energy into healing—possibly pleasure, possibly something ecstatic—through a body-based engagement with indigo, movement in relationship to gravity, and body print documentation.

This inquiry is inspired by gestures that have come from previous embodied ancestral explorations that revealed an experience of violence associated with the enslavement of African bodies/ancestors for indigo production. My interest lies not in the dyeing of textiles necessarily, but in the dye itself. The inky, oily, blue black aubergine green liquid is an alchemical substance that transforms whatever is submerged into it. I’m pulled to submerge parts of myself into a (non-toxic) indigo dye vat as a place of potent conjuring. From there, I will create body prints while practicing improvised floor work on paper/material laying on the ground, focusing on the relationship with gravity and the land. Finally, I would like the participants to be engaged in discussion afterwards as a means to help explore and resolve some of this inquiry.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please email to sign up for this workshop.

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Danielle Smith is a Toronto-based movement artist and RMT with a multi-disciplinary focus. The first half of her RMT career centered on Sports Massage Therapy, and the last decade has focused on bridge-building between Healing Arts and Performing Arts with a focus on ancestral reclamation, body memory, and movement. The deep listening skills refined in her massage practice directly transfer to her body-based improv movement arts practice.

As an artist focused on healing justice, Danielle’s practice spans from interventionist street performance addressing imperialist transnational violence in Toronto, Jamaica, and Colombia, to apprenticeship in the Arrival’s Personal Legacy Process, where she co-facilitated workshops throughout Canada, the Caribbean, and the UK. She worked with Chocolate Woman Collective as a Somatic Specialist facilitating trauma-informed body and movement work. She completed the Transdisciplinary Arts Program at Watah Theatre, producing performances based on d’bi anitafrika’s SORPLUSI methodology, alongside being the resident Health Care Practitioner and Anatomy Instructor. She completed the Luminous Bodies residency focusing on embodied ancestral research with continued work on indigo. She is now a Master of Environmental Studies Candidate examining the pathologization and resilience of the body in its relationship to indigo as a slave crop, through a framework of Black women’s geographies.