Cultural Envoy’s – U.S. Dept. of State (Kenya, Africa)

Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
– U.S. Department of State Cultural Envoys (May/June 2008)
GoDown Center for the Arts
▪   Create Fare Well – Parched Earth; Remembrances from Tomorrow, 6 men and 3 Kenyan dancers
▪   Perform: Fare Well: Tipping Point; Thresholds Crossed (Gulag/Art Angar); US. This residency occurred following the Kenya 2008 insurrection (June 3)

Maida Withers, Steve Hilmy, and Wendell Cooper were in a three-week residency at the GoDown Center for the Arts in Nairobi, Kenya under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy, and the GoDown Center for the Arts (sponsorship by the U.S. Embassy in Russia).  Fare Well – Parched Earth (Remembrances from Tomorrow) was created then.  This residency closely followed the insurgency in Kenya where people fought with rocks, knives, crude weapons.  Maida Withers taped the visual exhibition of the display at the GoDown Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary and visual art center.

The residency, May 17 to June 4, featured workshops, master classes, seminars, lectures, dance film showings, choreographic projects, and performances.

The American artists created an original dance work, FareWell: Parched Earth, Remembrances from Tomorrow, with 9 Kenyan professional modern dancers/choreographers (six men and three women). This work is part of the Fare Well series. conceived and directed by Maida Withers.

An original work was created by Wendell Cooper, for an all-male community-based dance group, Kunja, that is based on Urban Dance styles. Original music was created by Steve Hilmy, electronic composer, for the choreography created in Kenya.

The American artists and Kenyan artists performed together in a concert at the GoDown Center for the Arts on June 3, 2008.  Located in an industrial area of the capital city of Nairobi, the GoDown has transformed over 30,000 square meters into a vibrant Kenyan cultural destination. The Center has been generously supported by the Ford Foundation’s offices in east Africa and Moscow. The Kenyan and American dancers will create and perform a site-specific event in Nairobi as well.

The Company continues a relationship with the dance artists in Kenya.