This visionary, multidisciplinary performance group reinterprets and reworks rhythm and movement traditions of Africa and its diaspora with communities in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Panama.
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, founded in 1989, is a Brooklyn-based dance company that investigates the intersections of cultural anthropology and movement practices, and believes in the body as a valid means for knowing. Its performance work is a continuing manifestation of the rhythm languages of the body, provoked by the spiritual and mundane traditions of Africa and its diaspora including the blues, gospel, and slave idioms. The name Fist and Heel is derived from the history of enslaved Africans in the Americas who were denied their drums. They reinvented their spiritual traditions as a soulful art form, dismissed by white and black authorities as merely “fist and heel worshipping.”
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group creates dance and multidisciplinary performance work which articulates the relationships of individuals and communities to ritual, their bodies, and their cultures. The company’s programs and workshops—led by the artistic director and assisted by the company’s skilled performers—integrate and reflect these concerns. Workshops are customized for participants of all ages and levels of experience, open to diverse groups who are interested in performance, movement, and dance. Participants gain insightful information about Wilson’s movement technique, composition, and repertory, and engage in community shouts (sing-alongs) that stimulate the rhythmic interconnection between body and voice. The company’s outreach programs facilitate fresh perspectives, supporting ideas, and creative expression.
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Reggie Wilson (artistic director, choreographer, and performer), draws from the cultures of Africans in the Americas, combining them with postmodern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.” He has lectured, taught, conducted workshops and community projects, and has had his work presented nationally and internationally, most recently at BAM, New York Live Arts, the Dance Center at Columbia College (Chicago), ICA and Summer Stages (Boston), and Tanzkongress 2013 (Germany).
Wilson is the recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance’s McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001), a 2002 Bessie Award for his work The Tie-tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down, and a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project, a board member of Dance Theater Workshop, a recipient of the 2009 Herb Alpert Award in Dance and, in recognition of his creative contributions to the field, was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow. In 2012, New York Live Arts presented a concert of selected Wilson works, theRevisitation. That year, Wilson was also named Wesleyan University’s Creative Campus Fellow, received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and received the 2012 Joyce Foundation Award for his work Moses(es), which had its New York premiere in the 2013 BAM Next Wave Festival and is currently touring. Wilson’s newest work CITIZEN premieres in 2016.