“I write to create myself.” —Octavia E. Butler

Culture codes 

After the creative process for "BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play," I held a desire to dig even deeper and tell more stories of ritual, gestural vocabulary, and traditions of the African Diaspora.

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Gwendolyn Baum
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play celebrates the unspoken rhythm and language that Black girls have through Double Dutch, social dances, and hand-clapping games that are contemporary and ancestral. As I began to create the work, I realized that I was exhausted by stereotypes and tropes because, as a Black female director, I battle with them daily. Kyra Gaunt’s book, The Games Black Girls Play, inspired the concept for the work. The word “play” immediately shot out.

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Gwendolyn Baum

What it is…

The piece started from a personal feeling of restriction. As an artist I was starting to see the fabric of this social game that I didn’t want to play – attending parties, “being in the right place at the right time” – all suggestions given to me about how to move up the choreographic ladder. I didn’t understand why I just couldn’t be supported as an artist without doing superficial things.

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Gwendolyn Baum