(Princeton, NJ) The Lewis Center for the Arts Performance Central program will present the internationally renowned experimental dance company Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group on Saturday, April 4 at 8:00 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center.
Artistic Director and performer Reggie Wilson, hailed by New York Times dance critic Claudia LaRocco as "One of this country's most talented choreographers," founded his Brooklyn-based company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, in 1989. The company blends contemporary dance with African traditions creating brilliant new performances from the rich spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora. Wilson draws from the movement languages of the blues, slave and worship cultures to create what he calls “post-African/Neo HooDoo Modern dances.” His work has been presented nationally and internationally.
Accompanied by their own driving rhythms---body percussion, aspirated breath, singing and shouts – Fist & Heel blends deep ritual into potent, beautiful and energizing contemporary dance. "Fist and Heel is clapping and stomping, shouting and hollerin'-- and the manipulation of energies" explains Reggie Wilson. "Drums denied and confiscated, enslaved Africans reinvented their spiritual tradition in the Americas as a soulful art form white authorities dismissed as merely 'fist and heel worshipping.'"
Rebecca Lazier, Acting Head of Dance at Princeton, invited the acclaimed choreographer to Princeton as a means to bring a broader and more diverse experimental dance repertoire to the local stage. “Performances of this type are rarely seen in the Princeton area. Fist & Heel will be the first dance event in the Berlind as part of the Performance Central series. We hope to fill the gap in dance presentation between the studio showings in the Lewis Center’s Hagan Dance Studio and the excellent dance series at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. There are many important dance companies for our students and the community to see that would not be able to fill the Matthews Theatre but nonetheless deserve to be seen. The Berlind is the ideal place for the mid-size dance company to present fully produced performances." Lazier went on to say, “We continue to develop ways for our students to interact with the professional dance community and expand their understanding of and exposure to performance.” Reggie Wilson is currently on faculty at Princeton teaching dance composition.
Fist & Heel will perform “The Tale: Npinpee Nckutchie and the Tale of the Golden Dek,” which explores intimacy and devotion, libido and love in a seamless collage of music and dance. Eight performers explore the complicated rituals of coupling, the ancient sensual dances of lovers. Stepping, stomping, shouting and strutting --- embodying the elegant invitations and rejections of the sexes, Wilson and company draw on traditions that range from the earliest fist and heel styles developed during the slaving era to the step dances that gave rise to urban dance sensations like the Big Apple, Lindy Hop, Electric Slide and Chicago-Style Stepping.
Tickets for this one time performance of Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel at the Berlind Theatre are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for general admission. For advance tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220 or the Berlind Box Office at 609.258.2787.
The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.