Work and Engagements
For Wideman Davis Dance, movement means many things. As artists, we invite communities and audiences to connect with us and each other. They can be moved to think—or think differently—about an issue or the world around them. Working with us, civically minded presenters, colleges, and community partners can explore issues and reach their audiences in a range of ways, either in person or online.
Community building. Working with us in residence can move communities to build connections, understand each other better, and collaborate together in the future. From churches to senior centers to colleges to schools, we tailor residencies to proactively engage groups of people in community-based settings. Learn more about the ways we have collaborated.
Performance. We primarily move audiences through the dances we create. Our choreography draws from a rich lineage in contemporary dance and is created with collaborators in music, media, and visual arts. Often, choreography is influenced by issues in history and the humanities. At its core, our works explore human relationships. Sometimes it highlights love and connection, and the sheer beauty of human movement and interaction. As in life, sometimes our work reveals human conflict, rooted in the oppression and social structures that limit our country’s progress, both historically and today. Learn more.
Dialogue. When coupled with performance, conversations can move people—emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Crucial to engaging audiences are our facilitated dialogues after performances. In collective discussions, audiences are encouraged to explore, question, and sometimes confront the issues raised by performances. We hope that audiences leave feeling enlightened, educated, and inspired. Learn more.
Shared Movement Experiences. All people move. We set up environments that encourage people to draw from their own innate movement abilities and choices. As teachers and facilitators, we learn with our students, avoiding the traditional hierarchy, where the teacher is the authority and emulation is encouraged. Whether a pointe class or a choreography workshop or a session at a senior center, people make kinesthetic connections with those around them—including us—through both movement and dialogue.
Commissions. Commissions challenge dance companies and students to move in new ways. We have been commissioned by numerous professional companies, presenters, and educators to create works ranging in length, size, and format. Whether for a dance ensemble, humanities program, or dance department, we charge dancers to look with broader eyes at their own communities and daily surroundings, which in turn sharpens their own perspectives and builds their interpretive and performance skills. View our repertory and past commissions.
Wideman Davis Dance has worked with audiences of all ages, from children to older adults, in engagements with presenters, colleges, and community settings across the country. We bring experience with audiences in large urban centers and rural settings, in every region of the country. In designing residencies, we draw from our audiences’ own curiosity and interests in issues, as well as their movement and life experiences.
Much of our work centers Black audiences and communities. With a growing reputation for working with elders, students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), and community stakeholders, our interactions and events increasingly take place outside of the theater. Some projects have used historical content from the environments where we perform, creating deeper community engagement through ethnographic research and conversation.
We bring extensive experience in higher education.
Examples of Residencies
• In 2020 and 2021 Wideman Davis Dance implemented a two-month virtual residency at the University of Southern Mississippi that included artist talks, panel discussions, community conversations, and performances, as well as these courses:
– Dancing, Choreographing, and Filming Histories of Spaces: A Two-part Workshop
– Bodies Moving, Public Spaces, Architecture and Access
– Public Art and Dance as Radical Labor
– The 49th Vice President of the United States: Invisibilization, Performance, Gender, and Mediation
• With a university-based performing arts center in the West, we designed an extended residency around our work past-carry-forward, based on the Great Migration. Classes and lectures in dance and history, both on and off campus, built relationships with college students, community groups, and a Baptist congregation. Read about its lasting effects.
Above: Migratuse Ataraxia at Klein Arts and Culture, Harpersville, AL. Photo by Clark Scott. Artists: Thaddeus Davis and Michael Malique McManus. Migratuse 2021. Hampton Preston Mansion and Garden, Columbia, SC. Photo courtesy of Wideman Davis Dance. Migratuse 2021. Photo by Alvin Fersner. Artists: Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis. Past Works: credits here.