A Wicked Silence
by Alexandra Joye warren & Joyemovement dance company
2021 Artist in Residence
On September 17, 2021, inaugural Artist in Residence, Alexandra Joye Warren, premiered A Wicked Silence, a site-specific choreoplay exploring the history and consequences of the Eugenics program in North Carolina.
Drawing on historical research and personal narratives of those victimized by forced sterilization, A Wicked Silence utilizes site-specific choreography inspired by moving through and interacting with various park spaces and features to ground the telling of the story of this work. Presented as a 'choreoplay', A Wicked Silence conveys its narrative through a series of scenes in two acts that move locations throughout LeBauer and Center City Parks. Employing multiple art forms, including choreographed movement, spoken word, dramaturgy, music and song, immersive audience participation, and visual art/design, this multimodal piece brings together artists from across the community to tell a story as layered as the history on which it is based.
About the Artist
Alexandra Joye Warren is the Founding Artistic Director of JOYEMOVEMENT. Launched in 2014, JOYEMOVEMENT is a contemporary dance company that has performed regionally and toured nationally at many colleges, universities, festivals and conferences, including Opening Night of American Dance Festival in 2017 and at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in collaboration with activist Bree Newsome.
A native of the Washington, D.C. Metro area, Alexandra received her BA from Spelman College and MFA from UNC Greensboro. She performed, choreographed and taught in New York, finding a company home with Christal Brown's INSPIRIT. Alexandra has been fortunate to study at Germaine Acogny’s Jant-Bi at L'Ecole Des Sables in Senegal, performed with Bill T. Jones in development of FELA! the Musical, Paloma and Patricia McGregor’s Angela’s Pulse, Maxine Montilus, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Van Dyke Dance Group, and Amy Love Beasley.
Alexandra has presented her choreography as scholarly research at the Collegium of African Diaspora Dance Conference at Duke University in 2020 and at the National Women's Studies Association Conference in San Francisco, CA in 2021. She is a recipient of the 2019 Arts Greensboro, Regional Arts Grant. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Elon University.
Artistic Project Narrative
A Wicked Silence is a dance exploration of the consequences of the Eugenics program in North Carolina. From 1919-1977, the state enacted a program of forced sterilization of patients of public-funded institutions that were judged to be 'mentally defective or feeble-minded' by authorities, which later evolved into impoverished populations. This dance performance project brings these stories to light in context to new policies that are being proposed which greatly affect the life and liberty of the marginalized in the 21st century.
This project is choreographed, written, and directed by Alexandra Joye Warren and performed by JOYEMOVEMENT dance company. A Wicked Silence is a three part work. Each part is estimated to be 55-60 min in duration, to be developed and fully realized between 2021 & 2023. During this residency Warren developed and presented Part I which explores the subject matter in a choreoplay format.
The concept of the work overall is broken down in three parts which follow the experiential learning cycle, a well-known reflection model developed by Rolfe et al (2001) and is based upon three simple questions: What? So what? Now what?
Each part of this work in three parts is a stand alone evening-length work. Part I explores the “What?” of the Eugenics program in North Carolina, using dance and poetry. Part II explores the “So What?” through the abstract processing of trauma using Afro-Futurism, and Part III explores the Now What? which will incorporate multigenerational members of the community in process and performance with an artistic action plan for justice.
As a dance artist, Warren's goal is to create, perform and produce work that inspires audience members and participants to reexamine embedded societal ideas. By rearranging context, her hope is to ignite reconsideration and propose alternative understandings. Warren's aim as a choreographer and performer is to push towards the future grounded with historical context.
This project was created as a site-specific work to the Greensboro Downtown Parks between January and September 2021.
Learn more about the history, development, and performance details that went into the creation of this original work by visiting the Digital Program for A Wicked Silence.
photos by Park Photographer, Jennifer Scheib of Happy Labs Photography