diaspora Dub: ahdri zhina mandiela on Home, Belonging & Creativity

b current’s new series, diaspora Dub, is happening in Toronto throughout the first week of October. You may have caught the performance at Nuit Blanche, but if not, you can check it on October 7 at #FNLROM: Thanks Canada and at RUTAS Panamericas Festival.

diaspora Dub is a reimagining of the performance event that launched b current as a company twenty-fuve years ago. It’s a mixture of movement and poetry, a beautiful and reflective of the black diaspora and black women’s history. It’s also an interactive and travelling performance experience – site specific in that it molds itself to adapt to each environment it’s performed in.

We chatted with the show’s creator – ahdri zhina mandiela – to get the scoop.

SDTC: diaspora Dub is described as site-specific and interactive. Can you talk a little bit about how this piece continues to evolve?

azm: The site-specific nature of the piece has to do with meeting audiences and participants in whatever space they occupy: a park, a street corner, a theatre, a community centre, a building lobby, a parking lot, outside a restaurant…any of these sites, no matter how casual or formal they may be.

The interactive part is to have people feel like they can join moving with the piece as it attempts to travel, as it gathers mass, like in a parade. I tried to revision the celebratory, reveling core of the piece as a kind of glue that may attract and galvanize folks into that fleeting space where they want to just go with the flow/listen/react/be part of the solution rather than bemoan what’s wrong or things over which they seem to have no control.

How do you define ‘home’?

Home is that place where I feel a sense of belonging; where I feel that my growing will be nurtured and not alienated; where the people around me feel that they are content and even excited with us growing and building together.

What was going on in your life that led you to create diaspora Dub?

I needed to gather a better sense of ‘home’ and belonging in Canada during the late 80s into the 90s. I had just returned from a few years living and working in the Caribbean and firmly decided that Canada is where I am, where I grew up, where I’m going to continue growing, and it is the place in the world I was most comfortable laying my head and planting seeds for the future.

What do you want audiences to take away from these performances?

I want audiences to leave with a desire to bring a new look at interacting with the concept of race and blackness; to feel less distanced (regardless of their background) and maybe committed to having a more intimate relationship to the otherness around them.

CONTEST!

We have two tickets to give away to diaspora Dub, happening this Sunday, October 9 at 4:00 PM (part of the RUTAS Panamericas Festival @ Daniels Spectrum)!

To enter, tweet: “Hey @shedoesthecity, I’d love to see @bcurrentLIVE‘s #diasporaDub this Sunday, please choose me!”

Winner will be announced on Thursday October 6th. Good luck!

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