Current Project: Guide To Kinship and Maybe Magic

by sarritalewis

I am a member of LEWIS FOREVER a performance collective of four siblings: three sisters and a brother, a director, two dancers and a musician. LF is a family living partially in New York and in Berlin, half Dominican and half Jewish American, a performance collective and a bloodline.

LEWIS FOREVER’s: Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic is a multi-tier work which began when LF was awarded the MAP fund through Dance New Amsterdam in NYC in 2010. The project is intended as a new cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary work investigating the role of community, family, collectivity, collaboration and performance in our present-day culture.

All members of LEWIS FOREVER were born in the Dominican Republic, they have been working in NYC and the group was founded in 2006 in Berlin, Germany.  LF is currently devising Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic with partners in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Berlin, Germany and New York, U.S.A, focusing their research on their performance and cultural roots.

I will be responsible for the project in Santo Domingo which will take the form of a performance workshop. This part of the project began after I had posted some thoughts on the LF website talking about my desire in working in Santo Domingo. Fatefully a woman by the name of  Yohanna Baez from L.A. wrote me an encouraging  letter about the difficulties of trying to do something in the DR (she had been there the year before filming a documentary about the environmental and social impact tourism was having in the country) and a few helpful hints including links to young contemporary artists working in Santo Domingo. Through this email I was able to contact Johan Mijail Castillo Guillen a local artist. We met in December of 2010 and he has been a big asset in informing me of the different institutions and the emerging contemporary art a scene in the city. He has also be an essential part of this collaboration. During that time I also made contact with the Instituto Cultural Domínico Americano (ICDA) which will host this workshop. The ICDA has had a working theater company for over 20 years and is an ideal institution to partner up with as they are also interested in promoting inter cultural exchange.

At the heart of the workshop is site specificity. The site provides a platform for discourse surrounding art production and the role of the “collective” (or collection of bodies) and their function in contemporary society. The workshop is a place of play and exploration, deconstruction and reconstruction.  Collectively we will engage in community type activities within a very stylized environment, a set, a fictional environment that will include projections of different places in Santo Domingo as well as projected depictions of Dominican culture as we explore fictional and nonfictional constructions of place, community and self.