2020 GPAF Artists’ Award in Dance
Rachel Boggia photo
“Blurring the Surface”
Blurring the Surface, a dance duet, is among Saaka’s contributions to the ongoing dialogue about race and racism in American society. Featuring the nuanced interaction of a White female and a Black male, it questions and challenges the superficial and often stereotypical separation of the races. The dance draws on West African dance aesthetics, contemporary dance, improvisation, spoken word and personal stories to offer a complex interrogation of racism and its impact on society. The dance will be performed by Iddi Saaka and Shirley Sullivan, based on choreography by Saaka, Sullivan and John Dankwa. Dankwa composed the piece’s original music.
About Iddi Saaka
Iddrisu Saaka, of Middletown, an assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University, is a versatile and award-winning West African dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and music performance artist. He is trained in Ghanaian dance and has conducted field research in dance forms from Burkino Faso, Mali and Guinea, all of which he blends with Western modern and contemporary dance in creating his choreographies. An important part of his work involves engaging with communities, using West African music, stories and dance and cross-cultural collaborations to educate audiences about Africa and its traditions, and to help foster an appreciation for cultural pluralism, diversity and difference.