2008 – A dance project that took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the GoDown Center for the Arts. The dance work, Parched Earth, was created in collaboration with nine Kenyan dancers (six men and three women) during a three-week residency at the GoDown Center for the Arts when Maida Withers, Wendell Cooper and Steve Hilmy, USA artists, were in Nairobi as Cultural Envoys for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy.
Concepts and movements for Parched Earth were influenced by the photographic exhibit at the GoDown Center for the Arts – an exhibit of photo images documenting the civil disturbance in Kenya that occurred the month prior to our residency as U.S. Cultural Enjoys in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenyan dancers had experienced intense personal trauma through the recent upheaval in Nairobi. Together, through rehearsals to create Parched Earth we collaborated to reveal the deep understanding of the Earth and nature by the African people and to further understand violence through the current human disruption of cherished values.
Working together creatively lead to deeper understanding, trust, and acceptance among the artists and the audience.
Steve Hilmy. Composer/Musician in the Nairobi Residency for US Department of State
Wendell Cooper was teaching acrobatic/aerial tactics to youth at the GoDown Center:
Artists and Collaborators
- (map) on January 1, 1970