TNMoT AZTRo Performance Art and Dance Installation, LLC

By Ashabi Rich for The Dance Journal

The Projector Series 1.5
Presented in collaboration with Vox Populi Gallery and Little Berlin Gallery
Installation Design: Arien Wilkerson and Joe McCarthy
Sound Designer/Composer: Wrex Mason

The organic VOX POPULI and Little Berlin galleries are collaborating to showcase TNMoT AZTRo Performance Art and Dance Installation, LLC from Hartford, Connecticut for a three day, six-performance run ending Saturday, June 24, 2017.  Two shows per evening, in the VOX Blackbox, at 7 and 9, are a testament to their stamina. The company was created in 2010 by then 18 year- old founder and director Arien Wilkerson. The Projector Series 1.5, is a cross gallery, multi-media “set of performance installation works blending dance, live digitally composed music and Film based visual media.”  Utilizing live video streaming,” light, sound, spatial manipulation, the human form, movement as modes of inquiry and engagement between audience and performer, as well as the lager community beyond” (web), there are video clips of James Baldwin and Sun Ra along with live rapping by DomsentfromMars.  Lots of tight choreography executed with strong technique and complete command of intent and expression illustrates attests to a thoughtful intellect intentionally applied to be relevant to positive change in our present society.

Co-curated by Vox Populi’s Jim Strong and Little Berlin’s Eric Preisendanz, the show is introduced as a work of sensory overload_ a ”Digital Purgatory”; but, I  call it a sensory feast!  “Fresh”, “Creative”,” Innovative”, “Exciting” and “Fascinating” are descriptive adjectives that come readily to mind while viewing  ”The Projector Series”.  Company members Henry Olivo, Joseph Heitman, Lauren Horn, Erica Nelson, Kailah King, Arien Wilkerson, and Greg Dearons II give us a serious range of technique and style so wonderfully utilised in this company.  Modern, Cake Walk, Ballet, B Boy, Hip Hop, West African, Crunk, Jazz, and Break Dance are interwoven in seamless, delightfully surprising solos, duets, and all- members- in offerings. Black Lives Matter and the victims of police shootings are memorialised. The politics of division and disengagement via economics, race, and gender are also addressed.  In interviews, Wilkerson states a mission to create “revolutionary ideas within performance” and to have “marginalised communities to be inclusive” within the patronage choices of the local elites. He seeks to have local talent, in any physical locale area, be recognised. This recognition should be manifested by choosing such talent for performance engagements on a regular basis.  He also seeks to have a permanent home performance base, in Hartford, where training and performance can happen, particularly in small, intimate settings of 75-100 people. His vision brings to mind the tablao style of Flamenco dance.

Wilkerson opens the performance through an interaction with the audience.  He instructs you to breathe fully, aligning your spine and planting the metatarsals firmly on the floor. Take that lead and allow your vessel to empty in order to refill with this young genius’ work. By so doing, you will leave full, fulfilled, inspired, and refreshed.


About Ashabi Rich

Ashabi Rich, a Norristown native, began dancing in A.D. Eisenhower High School's extra-curricular dance club studying Graham technique. While attending Swarthmore College, she continued in modern dance through elective dance classes under Patricia Boyer who eventually established the department for Swarthmore’s major in dance. Ashabi later went on to become a dance major at Temple University studying with Hellmut Gottschild, Eva Gholson, and Patricia Hobson among others. While at Temple she performed with the East Indian Dance club (Kathak). She became a company dancer with Philadelphia raised ballet dancer John Jones (United Souls of America), and later spent six years with Robert “Baba” Crowder's Kulu-Mele African Dance and Drum Company. She has also been a guest dancer with Alo!Brasil, and taught at the Stephen’s School of Dance in Germantown.

Ashabi has studied dance under dance and drum icon John Hines, Faye Snow, Gilset Mora, Carmen Butler, Ione Nash, Dottie Wilkie, Onyin Harris, Youssouf Koumbassa, and Cachet Ivey. As a student at the American Dance Festival/Connecticut College, Ashabi studied under Clay Taliaferro, Walter Nix, Gay Delange, and Thelma Hill. Ashabi is a Certified Reiki II practitioner in the Mikao Usui lineage through Reiki Master Helen Blue and Grandmaster Earlene Green. She is a martial arts aficionado having studied judo, Praying Mantis kung fu, Wing Chun kung fu with Sifu Mo Bah Wei (Frank Wyatt), Shotokan karate (Teruyuki Okazaki), Akido (Yukio Utada), and Jujitsu-Shotokan karate (Andrew Lyn. Sr.). She is SAG-AFTR membership eligible from the movie-In Her Shoes (screen credit Asabi Rich.) and is a graduate of Temple University with a BA in English. Currently Ashabi is a graduate student at Temple University's Klein College of Media and Communication studying for an MS in Globalization and Development Communication.

View All Posts