A 2018 Union Street Dance Mertz-Gilmore Late Stage Creative Stipend Recipient
Photo: Rakia Seaborn & Sean Billy Kizy
“The moon is in the wrong place....I’ve never seen so many stars.”
Slated for a 2022 (delayed due to COVID-19) run at JACK in Brooklyn, NY, A RUIN, chronicles the saga of the last Americans. Following a catastrophic climate disaster, three black women are tasked with rewriting America. From the moment the Earth slipped off its axis, the survivors are reborn as The Fates. The destiny of the country lies in their hands. Inspired by Giselle's madness, classical mythology & breakup albums, performers craft a surrealist, wasteland by inverting & decaying 1970’s Eastern European ballet mined from Youtube, ancient relics & personal travel diaries. If language is world-shaping, A RUIN asks “What’s on the other side of emojis, 280-character Tweets?” Through embodying, writing and speaking incantations for survival, what emerges is an entirely new way of speaking/feeling/dancing American. With eyes simultaneously fixed on American history, the present desolation & a potentially utopian future, wrapped in softness & safety, will this triumvirate rebuild....or nah?
With Stacy Lynn Smith and Pia Monique Murray
Austin Guerrazzi (Composer)
Sean Billy Kizy (Visual Artist)
Ethan Baldwin (Art Director)
Stacy Lynn Smith (Performer) is a neurodivergent, biracial/Black dancer/performance artist with specialized experience in butoh, contemporary dance and experimental theater, creating work through a unique lens of “other”. Smith enjoys collaborating as performer/improviser, director and choreographer across disciplines and genres with an array of talented artists including: rhythmanalyst, DeForrest Brown Jr., vocal/performance artist, Anna Homler, choreographer/founder of New Dance Alliance, Karen Bernard, experimental theater company, Saints of an Unnamed Country, surfer/fashion designer, Thaddeus O’Neil and director/filmmaker, Josephine Decker. Member of Jill Sigman’s artist/activist cohort, Body Politic. Recently, Smith has danced for Kathy Westwater, collaborated on “Revision Suite”, in response to the hidden “Slave Galleries” of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church and developed first iterations of solo series, “Crybaby”. Principal butoh dancer/company teacher with Vangeline Theater from 2008-2017. Main muse/collaborator of writer/director Michael Freeman from 2010-2016. Venues: MoMA PS1, 92StY, Princeton University, New York Live Arts, Danspace, Gibney, Art Basel Miami, Brooklyn Museum, Milk Studios, Dance Mission Theater (CA), Centre Culturel Bertin Poiree (FR) and more. Selected by Eva Yaa Asantewaa as part of curatorial board producing Black Womxn Summit at Gibney in Spring 2020.
Pia Monique Murray (Performer) is known as a jack of all trades in the dance industry, having been a choreographer, performer, teacher, arts administrator, stage, tour and company manager, and rehearsal assistant. She hasworked with nora chipaumire, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Paloma McGregor, Dianne McIntyre, Blondell Cummings, and Pedro Ruiz in various capacities, and performed with Vado Diomande’s Kotchegna Dance Company for ten years. Pia has been a teaching artist for Urban Arts Partnership, Dreamyard Project, Brooklyn Arts Council, Dancewave, and Mark DeGarmo & Dancers. As a Lincoln Center Scholar she attained a master’s degree in dance education from Hunter College and graduated with high honors as a member of the National Honors Society for Dance. Pia currently teaches elementary school dance with the New York City Department of Education, performs with RAKIA! and leads Pia Monique Murray
Dance Collective (PMMDC).
Austin Guerrazzi (Composer) is a New York based multi-instrumentalist and composer. Receiving a Bachelor of Music from New York University, Austin began scoring dance through the Tisch School of the Arts, and has continued to collaborate on projects with film, dance, and interactive media for the past 4 years.
Sean Billy Kizy (Visual Artist) is an architect, installation artist, and toy designer. Originally from outside Detroit, MI he now resides in Brooklyn, NY. He has established Billy's Action Figures as a studio that designs and fabricates projects of all scales with the overlying ambition to create forms that engage motion and inspire action by others. He is a registered architect in New York City with LEED credentials, holds a B.S in Architecture with Distinction from the University of Michigan and an M.Arch from Rice University. Sean Billy Kizy has taught at Rice University, has been on architectural studio juries at CUNY NY and has lectured at NJIT on the topic of 'Explosive Organism and Sustainable Regrowth'. His experience includes work at several architectural firms including OMA and SHoP Architects.
Ethan Baldwin (Art Director) is a DC-born and Brooklyn-based Art Director, Graphic Designer and Photographer. Having always been drawn to artistic movement, his work often incorporates themes from dance, athleticism, and high-energy, on stage and off. He has also danced and choreographed with Danceworks NY, and is almost always moving and shaking while pushing pixels. He is excited for another performance with RAKIA! and truly buys into the life of incorporating glitter in all we do.