Dancer, choreographer, and activist Antoine Hunter is collaborating with Epiphany Dance Theater to create new site-specific works at the sites of four sculptures by Douglas Tilden. The project explores the historic genocide, oppression, and racial injustice faced by Deaf communities of color. Lead artist Hunter is Deaf and of African American and Native American heritage. In addition to the collaboration with Kim Epifano of Epiphany Dance Theater, Native Land Native Hands will feature text by Deaf playwright Raymond Luczak.
Performances will include Deaf and hard of hearing dancers as well as one Deaf and one hearing actor. They will incorporate American and Native American Sign Language, text, hip hop music, and multidisciplinary dance. Hunter writes, “Douglas Tilden’s sculpture The Bear Hunt on the California School for the Deaf-Fremont campus includes hidden themes of oppression and Native American genocide that have eluded both Deaf and non-Deaf communities alike. This is an opportunity to explore intersectional Deaf history in the Bay Area.”
Bay Area native Antoine Hunter is an award-winning, internationally known Deaf choreographer, dancer, instructor, speaker, and Deaf advocate who has performed throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. He is artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance, formed in 2007, and has produced the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival since 2013.
The collaborating organization Epiphany Dance Theater was formed by choreographer Kim Epifano in 1997 and creates thought-provoking, accessible works – many of them, cross-cultural productions. Epiphany Dance Theater produces the annual outdoor San Francisco Trolley Dances, and it brings its experience with site-specific performance to this collaboration at the sites of four Douglas Tilden sculptures in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Fremont. Native Land, Native Hands will be presented over the course of three weekends with work to begin when social distancing restrictions are eased.
Photo of Antoine Hunter by R.J. Muna