Moonshine 2022 will feature work from award-winning poet Danez Smith in collaboration with Professor Chris Walker, with performances from HitmakerChinx, Stacy Letrice, Amansu Eason and UW-Madison Students
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Dance Department and Professor Chris Walker are delighted to present “Moonshine” in person February 25, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall. This free event is a celebration of Black History Month, with live music, contemporary theater and dance performances that include West African, Afro-Caribbean Dancehall, and Hip Hop dance forms.
This year’s Moonshine features excerpts from “Summer Somewhere” a new choreo poem collaboration between special guest Danez Smith, an award-winning poet and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s First Wave program and Professor Chris Walker, director of the UW-Madison Division of the Arts and faculty of the Dance Department. The work was first published in Smith’s book “Don’t Call Us Dead” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. The piece is currently being workshopped with students and professional artists in a collaborative process with Walker and will be shown at various stages of development throughout the year.
Moonshine continues to feature works by student artists from the dance department and the First Wave of Program. This year we also invite Los Angeles-via-Brooklyn producer/dancer HitmakerChinx, choreographer and dancer Stacy Letrice of Jukeboxx Dance, Chicago dance artist Amansu Eason who are working with Walker on a “Rent-a-Tile” section of his new project “Facing Home: The Climate Crisis.” The work explores the relationship between the warrior and the lover and features performances from Stacy Letrice, Amansu Eason and HitmakerChinx. Costumes for this work were designed and produced by Matters of the Heart, an art center and design house co-founded by Niko Tumamak and Aapple Yang, Chicago-based artists, both graduates of UW-Madison. Tumamak is a First Wave alumnus and currently the Creative Director for The Hidden Characters.
To expand opportunities for campus and community members to engage with Black art and recognize its contributions to American culture during Black History Month, the Dance Department has partnered with the Division of the Arts and the Wisconsin Union Global Connections to offer a free evening Moonshine Masterclass on Friday evening, February 25, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Madison Room at the Memorial Union. The class will be led by Stacy Letrice, Amansu Eason and HitmakerChinx and will feature West African, Afro-Caribbean Dancehall, and Hip Hop dance forms.
About Chris Walker
Chris Walker is a professor of dance, founding artistic director of the First Wave program in the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, and the director of the Division of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the co-artistic director for the #BARS Workshop at The Public Theatre in NYC, a lab series for artists to investigate the intersection between contemporary verse and theater, created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. He is also a senior choreographer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and program director for the New Waves Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad & Tobago. Walker creates contemporary dance, theater and performance artwork rooted in the visual and performance cultures of the African Diaspora. He works in the disciplines of dance, theater, film/video. He served as movement director for two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s “Mlima’s Tale,” which ran at the Public’s Martinson Hall and he is the recent choreographer for “The Secret Life of Bees, The Musical” produced by Atlantic Theatre in NYC. Walker has collaborated with Laura Anderson Barbata to develop “Jus Luv/Rolling Calf” a Jamaican ‘mas’ for her “Intervention: Indigo” project, a performance that was presented in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY.
About Danez Smith
Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of “Homie” (Graywolf Press, 2020), “Don’t Call Us Dead” (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award, and “[insert] boy” (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez’s work has been featured widely including on Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez has been featured as part of Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list and is the winner of a Pushcart Prize. They are a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. To learn more about Danez Smith visit www.danezsmithpoet.com.
Hitmakerchinx (Rafael Anthony Martin) is an American dancer, DJ, and record producer who emerged from Brooklyn’s Caribbean neighborhoods, as a breakout star of Flex Dance Music (FDM), the all-in-one dance and music movement championed by Nicki Minaj, Madonna and Omarion. Los Angeles-via-Brooklyn producer/dancer HitmakerChinx can count Rihanna, who had him on her Anti World Tour,to renowned interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome, who collaborated with him on the score for his critically acclaimed film “STOP PLAYING IN MY FACE!” as collaborators.
About Stacy Letrice
Stacy “Jukeboxx” Letrice is a dancer, choreographer, instructor, mas band leader, and dance/movement therapist with over 20-years of local and global experience. In 2017, she was crowned Minnesota’s official Dancehall Queen after competing among other contestants from NYC, Europe, and the Midwest. Her passion for Reggae, Dancehall, Afro-beat and traditional West African cultures has opened doors for her to perform with artists such as Cardi B, P-Square, Stone Boy, Afro B, Les Twins, Lady Patra, Tarrus Riley, Elephant Man, Serani, Mr. Vegas, Wayne Wonder, Tiwa Savage, Banky W, Praiz, Chaka Demus & Pliers and more. In 2015, Her work as a dancer and dance/movement therapist led her to create her own dance brand, “Jukeboxx Dance LLC”, dedicated to helping others pursue happiness through African and Caribbean dance forms. Her international travels include: South Africa, Nigeria, Barbados, Jamaica, Canada, London, Paris, Portugal. When asked why she dances, Stacy always replies, “I know there is a God because I feel him when I dance.”
About Amansu Eason
Amansu Eason began performing at age 4 with the Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse, and at age 10, began studying ballet, jazz, tap, and modern at the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. He also has extensive training with Alyo Children’s Dance Company in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout his career, he has performed with Ben Harper, opened for artists such as Omarion, Marcus Houston, Mary, Mary, Arrested Development, and presented a solo for the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Amansu is a certified instructor of the Katherine Dunham technique and assistant to the Director of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.
About Matters of the Heart, Aapple Yang & Niko Tumamak
Matters of the Heart (M.o.t.H) is an art center and design house located in Chicago. Founders Aapple Yang and Niko Tumamak have been collaborating since 2013 and founded M.o.t.H in 2021. Aapple Yang is a Taiwanese immigrant who studied textile design at UW-Madison. Aapple is currently an executive production coordinator for some of the biggest fashion brands in the Midwest. Niko is Filipino-American born and raised in Chicago. He is the proud product of Chicago community art centers similar to M.o.t.H. Niko studied painting and graphic design at UW-Madison under the First Wave scholarship. Niko is currently the Creative Director for The Hidden Characters, LLC.
Moonshine is produced by the UW-Madison Dance Department and made possible with support from the Division of the Arts, WUD Global Connections Committee, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, and the Black Cultural Center.
Friday, February 25, 2022 - 3:30 p.m.
H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall
1050 University Avenue, Madison, WI
FREE & open to the public
Friday, February 25, 2022 - 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Memorial Union, Old Madison Room
FREE & open to the public