Seed Language: The Embodiment Project
Photo: Andrew Weeks

Seed Language: The Embodiment Project

ODC Theater San Francisco Oct 28-30, 2016

“The Embodiment Project,” directed by Nicole Klaymoon, brings together dancers, singers, actors and lecturers to focus on the very contemporary subject that “Black Lives Matter.” They are all exuberant performers, skilled in their craft and devoted to their subject. For this reviewer, however serious and even desperate the subject, fewer lecturing words and more theater would make the message more effective.

“Seed Language,” the title of the current ODC work, defines itself as “using documentary theater to embody the voices and spirits of formidable racial justice visionaries Black Lives Matter’s Alicia Garza and Black Panther leader Erica Huggins. Valerie Troutt’s live vocal ensemble, MoonCandy and Embodiments Project’s Innovative Street dance combine to create a new form of political musical theater that expands the conversation on race, privilege, power and hearing and is also a call to action.”

As the event progresses we hear lectures from a variety of characters representing political leaders, psychologists, a police
officer, an 11-year-old girl, an Asian Pacific Islander and others.
The best message that emerges is that “everyone matters.”
We are called upon to pledge our efforts to change existing systems to stop the grotesque handling of victims of injustice.

This presentation would be effective if it came out of the theater and was produced before City Council members, the state and U.S. congress and every political body. The ODC audience was “with” the message and responded with positive enthusiasm
“Seed Language” needs be presented in a larger context.

Cast members, all of them superb performing artists, presenting all manner of hip-hop and contemporary dance styles include:
Mike Lemoine, Rama Mahesh Hall, Tristan Cunningham, Sheila Russell, Dante “Animal” Rose, Amber Nicole Julian, Jon Lee, and
George “WuKong” Cheng. MoodCandy’s wonderful musicians are: Valerie Troutt, Director, Solas Burke-Lagee, Shamont Hussey and Rashide Chase.

Joanna G. Harris

San Francisco ,

Joanna Gewertz Harris, Ph.D, is a dance teacher, historian, reviewer, and lecturer. She taught dance and theater at UCB, UCSC, Cal State Hayward and Sonoma, and is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and books, most recently to H’Doubler, and Legacy in Dance Education,
both from Cambria Press. Beyond Isadora, Bay Area Dancing 1915-1965 , her book documenting Bay Area history (Price $40. + 2.00 shipping) is available from her web site beyondsadora.com and her e mail, joannagharris@comcast.net.