Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Experimental Contemporary Dance and Mixed-media Exhibit by Native Choreographer Rosy Simas

Rosy Simas Danse presents “We Wait In The Darkness”, a story of one Native American family’s struggles through generations of displacement and search for identity, and is a multimedia event that documents the history of a Native American family through the generations that includes traumatic events of Simas’ mother, including the flooding of her ancestral home to make way for the Allegheny reservoir.  Rosy Simas Danse will present, “We Wait In The Darkness” on Saturday, April 9th at 7PM. Admission $10 adults and $5 children. Simas will also conduct residency activities in the area and in neighboring Native American communities associated with her visit.  Ms. Simas’ accompanying historical exhibition will be displayed in The Edge Center Gallery April 8 through April 30.

From the Rosy Simas website (www.rosysimas.com):  “Recent scientific study verifies what many Native people have always known, that traumatic events in our ancestors lives are in our bodies, blood and bones. These events leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Our grandmother’s tragic childhood can trigger depression or anxiety in us, but we have the ability to heal these DNA encodings and change that trait for future generations.”

"Rosy Simas, wearing an old-fashioned white dress, dances to the sounds of rushing water and whispering voices. Eyes closed, she steps carefully along an invisible path trod by many before her, including her grandmother Clarinda Jackson Waterman. Simas uses her slowly unraveling movement to reach back into time while still performing in the present..." From http://www.startribune.com/tragic-history-informs-dance-by-rosy-simas/265597851/  

Ms. Simas states: “If time travels in both directions, we can heal the scars of our grandparents’ DNA.”

“We Wait In The Darkness” is an art/dance work created to heal the DNA scars of Simas’ grandmother, her mother, and our ancestors.  It is a journey of displacement and homecoming fueled by the stories of the Seneca women of Simas’ family, particularly her grandmother Clarinda Waterman.”

Within an environment of images and sounds from Seneca lands this new dance work engages past and future, DNA memory, and invisible presences, to create a personal artwork about loss, family, perseverance and home.  This work is created in collaboration with French composer Francois Richomme.

Background of the Seneca People and the KinZua Dam                                  
The Seneca are a group of indigenous Iroquoian-speaking people native to North America who historically lived south of Lake Ontario.  They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. In the 21st century more than 10,000 Seneca live in the United States in three federally recognized Seneca tribes.  Two are in New York and one in Oklahoma, where their ancestors were relocated from Ohio during Indian Removal. Approximately 1,000 Seneca live in Canada, near Brantford, Ontario, at the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. They are descendants of Seneca who resettled there after the American Revolution, as they had been allies of the British and forced to cede much of their lands.

 “The federal government through the Corps of Engineers undertook a major project of a dam for flood control on the Allegheny River.  The proposed project was planned to affect a major portion of Seneca territory in New York.  Begun in 1960, construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River forced the relocation of approximately 600 Seneca from 10,000 acres of land which they had occupied under the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua….The Seneca had protested the plan for the project, filing suit in court and appealing to President John F. Kennedy to halt construction…The Seneca lost their court case, and in 1961, citing the immediate need for flood control, Kennedy denied their request.” Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_people 

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