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Works & Process presents Les Ballet Afrik and Princess Lockerooo as part of the Underground Uptown Dance Festival

January 15, 2023

Works & Process at the Guggenheim presents the Underground Uptown Dance Festival, a festival of commissioned street and social dances taking place in the subterranean Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater at the Guggenheim from January 12-17, 2023. Rare in the field of dance, let alone in the creators’ traditions, beyond presenting fee, all projects will have received longitudinal support. With some spanning four years, across multiple residencies Works & Process will have provided living wage fees, 24/7 devoted studio access, adjacent housing, access to health care insurance enrollment, performance fees, and iterative performance opportunities. Inspired by the circular architecture of the Guggenheim, the cyphers prevalent in street dance, and social environments where these performing art traditions were germinated, the works being presented weave audiences and artists together. These commissions endeavor to amplify the innate qualities of dance to physically connect and facilitate the embodiment of joy and community. General ticketing starts December 13 at worksandprocess.org.

Les Ballet Afrik: New York Is Burning by Omari Wiles
Waacking with Princess Lockerooo
Sunday, January 15, 7:30 pm
Underground, radical, Black and queer art rarely gets the recognition it deserves . . . until it’s appropriated and then popularized by mainstream culture. Vogue from the East Coast and waacking from the West Coast is no different. See today’s leading tradition bearers share the stage and honor their history.

“Long overdue but well worth the wait.” — New York Times

Ballroom community legend and House of Oricci founding father Omari Wiles brings ball culture to the Guggenheim with New York Is Burning, featuring Wiles’s AfrikFusion, fusing traditional African dances and Afrobeat with house dance and vogue. The 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning received critical acclaim for its depiction of the New York drag ball scene and of voguing as a powerful expression of personal pride in the face of racism, homophobia, and the stigma of the AIDS crisis. Just as Paris Is Burning did for New York in the 1980s, New York Is Burning reflects the aspirations, desires, and yearnings of a diverse group of dancers in a city beset by health, racial, and financial crises. Commissioned by Works & Process prior to the pandemic as an homage to Paris Is Burning on the documentary’s 30th anniversary, Wiles’s work centers on the artists for whom his dance company serves as a surrogate family.

“Princess Lockerooo is a whirling force with a singular focus: spreading the gospel of waacking.” — New York Times

Don’t miss a first look at this in-process Works & Process commission by Princess Lockerooo. In 1970s a dance form called waacking was born in the Black, gay underground clubs of Los Angeles. Tyrone Proctor, and friend, Billy Goodson risked their lives to perform such an effeminate, expressive dance, at a time when being openly gay subjected them to violence and prison. The dance was popularized on Soul Train and picked up by celebrities, then nearly became extinct with the AIDS crisis. Today, waacking has been re-born as a booming social media sensation and queer rights movement. In this new work, the “Queen of Waacking” honors her mentor, pioneering queer Black waacker and Soul Train legend, Tyrone Proctor who died in 2020, and carries on his legacy through the dance he championed his entire life.

Wiles developed the Works & Process commission, New York Is Burning for his company, Les Ballet Afrik, in a summer 2020 Works & Process bubble residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, a spring 2021 Works & Process bubble residency at Catskill Mountain Foundation, and a January 2022 Works & Process LaunchPAD “Process as Destination” residency at The Church, Sag Harbor in partnership with Guild Hall. Throughout this time, in some of New York State’s first permitted performances during the pandemic, Works & Process coproduced Les Ballet Afrik’s outdoor, filmed, and preview performances at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Guggenheim Museum rotunda and the world premiere in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. The company also performed previews at Jacob’s Pillow, New Victory Theater, and SummerStage.

Princess Lockerooo’s Works & Process commission is being developed in Works & Process LaunchPAD residencies at Bridge Street Theatre (2022), Watermill Center (2023), and The Pocantico Center (2023).

1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128

Championing the creative process from studio-to-stage, Works & Process, is an independent performing arts organization that supports artists from both the world’s largest organizations and from underrecognized performing arts cultures by providing rare, sequenced and fully-funded creative residency, commissioning, and iterative presenting support. Blending artist discussions and performance highlights, each program provides unprecedented behind the scenes access to support our goal of broadening representation and fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the performing arts. Works & Process celebrates New York artists and street and social dance with programs at the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. LaunchPAD “Process as Destination” partnerships with 12 residency centers across New York State amplify our support for artistic process. In the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater at the Guggenheim, see Works & Process street and social dance commissions supported with multi-year longitudinal residencies and iterative presentations.


January 15, 2023


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