"Art and activism merged to resounding effect in “Action Songs/Protest Dances” a powerful celebration of music and movement grounded in collaboration, community, and social justice." - Dance Enthusiast, Sarah Cecilia Bukowski
Action Songs/Protest Dances is a live music and dance performance conceived, directed, and choreographed by Edisa Weeks. The work features original songs commissioned by composers/musicians Taina Asili, Spirit Paris McIntyre, and Martha Redbone. Three of the songs are inspired by the life, speeches, and writings of civil rights activist James Forman (1928-2005), whose personal archives are housed at the Queens College Rosenthal Library; and two are about social justice issues in America today. Together, the songs and dances serve as a call to action, a protest against injustice, and a demand that America become a more just, equitable, inclusive and truly great nation.
DELIRIOUS is continuing to develop the project. Three more songs are being added (statehood for DC, decriminalizing sex work, the need for universal health CARE - not insurance), with the goal of performing the work with a full choir and dancers in 2026. We are looking for residency partners and presenters for the project, contact us if you are interested!
Action Songs/Protest Dances is the inaugural project by the innovative Kupferberg Arts Incubator, and had its initial performance on November 12 & 13, 2022 at Le Frak Concert Hall. Access program information here.
Launched in 2020, the Kupferberg Arts Incubator is an artist residency initiative that supports the work by artists of color who are active contributors to the cultural landscape of New York City and the nation. The Kupferberg Arts Incubator consists of two-year collaborative residencies by two artists—one from the Queens College community and one external—which result in the creation of new original works that will involve Queens College students and faculty. Queens College professor and choreographer Edisa Weeks has led the inaugural project, and Queens College professor and multiform conceptual artist, Chloë Bass is developing the Kupferberg Arts Incubator’s second project, scheduled for completion in 2024.
Body On The Line Composer: Martha Redbone Associate Composer/Programming/Instrumentation: Aaron Whitby Additional vocals: Martha Redbone, Lisa Fischer Dancer: Noni Byrd-Gibbs & Cast Link to Music Lyrics
Manifest & Demand Composer: Spirit Paris McIntyre Dancers: Noni Byrd-Gibbs, Kailani Sahirah Estrada, Daniella Alexis Hernandez, Steven Jeltsch, Johnnie Mercer, Teneil Meyer, Devin Oshiro, Brittany Stewart Link to Music Lyrics
I Got Gold Composer: Martha Redbone Associate Composer/Programming/Instrumentation: Aaron Whitby Additional vocals: Martha Redbone, Lisa Fischer Dancer: Devin Oshiro Link to Music Lyrics