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APSU Dance & Theatre professor awarded grant by Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Dance for inspiring choreography

By: Zoe Huffman September 22, 2023

 

Eboné Amos, an assistant professor for the Department of Theatre and Dance, recently won a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Choreography: Dance for her unique and inspirational choreography.

Eboné Amos
Amos

After applying for the fellowship three times, Amos was finally chosen thanks to her hard work and dedication to the project.

The Individual Artist Fellowship grant recognizes artists within several performing arts fields. Amos received a grant in the dance category for her outstanding choreography in a group piece inspired by the women in her family.

This grant has brought Amos closer to the financial assistance she needs to fully realize this important body of work.

“This fellowship is inspiring in the sense that I am able to pay other artists in the collaborative process,” she said. “It also brings me closer to being able to fully realize and execute the work. I am very, very excited because I think it is a work that is necessary and would be a great contribution to the field.”

The choreography in the piece (shown in this video) showcases Amos’s unique style of dance, which incorporates elements of non-linear narrative.

“In my work, I use live text, recorded music and sometimes recorded text to weave the elements together,” Amos said. “I believe that has become a signature of mine over the last few years.”

Throughout the choreography, Amos aims to share the love she feels toward the women who have impacted her life and to represent the freedom she has found within their love. Amos portrays the path these women have helped forge for her and how their legacy will allow her to construct her own.

“In a society that doesn’t always acknowledge, honor and appreciate the contributions of women and womanhood, especially Black womanhood, I found this piece to be a perfect opportunity to explore the women in my family who mean so much to me,” Amos said.

While choreographing the piece, Amos had those women in mind, something she hopes the community will be inspired to do upon seeing the dance.

“My mother, my grandmothers and both of my great-grandmothers who are no longer with us [inspired this piece],” she said. “I reflected on stories I was told about them and what they taught me while they were here. I hope it inspires the community to talk to their loved ones. As we live and breathe, we also archive. Our bodies hold onto the lessons, the dances, the rituals, the teachings, the recipes … that have been passed down to us from our families.”

Amos plans to use the grant to continue working on a solo piece titled “Girl, Gurrl, GWORL: iterations of freedom,” which premiered at the Oz Arts Brave New Works Lab.  

“I eventually want the piece to expand to an evening-length work,” Amos said. “With that said, I have to pay musicians and collaborators to make that happen, so I am very grateful for the fellowship.”

On Nov. 4, Amos will premiere a new dance piece in collaboration with the Frist Art Museum that coincides with their exhibit “Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary Collage.”

Opening Sept. 15, the “Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary Collage” exhibit aims to reflect the breadth and complexity of Black culture through artists who specialize in collage and collage-informed works.

Amos will use this opportunity to incorporate APSU students from the Department of Theatre and Dance. The piece will include jazz, soul and funk music from the 1960s and ’70s.

“This collaboration directly aligns with the way I approach teaching African American Studies: through the lens of visual and performing arts,” Amos said. “I am looking forward to giving my students the opportunity to work professionally in hopes of creating connections for future collaborations.”

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