Saturday, September 28, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Sweet water Foundation

Photos by Jovan Landry.

Photos by Jovan Landry.

PROJECT TOOL is a dance and movement performance choreographed to enable the dancers to explore the relationship between mind, body, and tool—in part through the process of building their own dance floor as part of the performance. As the dancers investigate and engage to build a wood, sprung dance floor, they collaborate with tools as partners to the body. The actual, real-time making of the floor through sawing, hammering, sanding, and nailing has the effect of unearthing an improvisational landscape in which tasks, tools, and body all work together to form and inform the dance itself. As in jazz, the performance and the sound, in both composed and improvised scores, respond to one another in real time. The sound, designed by Damon Locks, likewise engages tools—drum machines, sampler, synths, and effects—to bend sound, form sculpture, and effect time through the air.

Artistic Director ONYE OZUZU is a performing artist, choreographer, administrator, educator, and researcher currently serving as the Dean of the College of the Arts at the University of Florida. Since 1997, Ozuzu has been presenting choreographic work nationally and internationally at venues such as Seattle Festival of Improvisational Dance (WA), Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, D.C.), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), and danceGATHERING (Lagos, Nigeria). Other recent work includes Touch My Beloved’s Thought, a collaboration with composer Greg Ward. Ozuzu also facilitates work in a group improvisational score, The Technology of the Circle. For the past three years, she has been developing significant collaborations with African diasporic artists meeting in Lagos, Nigeria at danceGATHERING, a festival that she co-curates with Nigerian artist Qudus Onikeku. She continues to serve the field of dance as a thought leader, speaker, and curator.  

Sound Designer DAMON LOCKS is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator, vocalist, soundmaker, and musician. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. Since 2014, he has been working with Prisons and Neighborhood Arts Project, teaching art at Stateville Correctional Center. A recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and the 2016 MAKER Grant, Locks has also operated as an Artist Mentor in the Chicago Artist Coalition program FIELD/WORK, and recently became a Soros Justice Media Fellow. He is currently an artist in residence in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s SPACE Program, introducing civically engaged art into the curriculum at the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy.

The ensemble:

Artistic Director
Onye Ozuzu

Aaliyah Christina, Keyierra Collins, Keisha Bennett, Jessica Marasa, Onye Ozuzu

Floor Designer
Steve Silber

Sound Designer
Damon Locks

Jovan Landry

Projection Designer
Simon Rouby

Brianna Alexis Heath

Visual Designer
Petra Probstner

Wood and Fabrication Consultant
Bryan Saner

Keisha Bennett, Keyierra Collins, Jessica Marasa, Onye Ozuzu, Sweet Water Foundation, Anna Martine Whitehead

Project Tool is supported by the Joyce Award (2018) and Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab (2016) as well as a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Links Hall in partnership with Dancing Grounds and NPN. Development of Project Tool was supported by a Rebuild Foundation residency at Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative. Completion of the floors was made possible by Sweet Water Foundation. This project was also partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Finally, this project was made possible through a grant from 3Arts that matched funds by 67 donors to 3AP (3Arts Projects).