Zavé dances dressed in neon yellow and pinks reaching an arm up towards a white winter sky with their head tilted back looking up

Commissioned by ATM Magazine to consider the theme of observance — in many manifestations from ritual to surveillance — I made a short dance film, ay.eye.ay, for ATM Issue 2: Observance with the collaboration of filmmaker Tatyana Tenenbaum. Enter through the portal of ATM Issue 2: Observance, which is presented as a virtual altar, and find my film among the many objects under the editor’s note. 

This film reflects how for me dance in 2020 became a solitary ritual, so private I finally felt comfortable dancing in the open air for no one. These dances for no one happened spontaneously, impulsively on my roof or in the park by the river during night walks. They enabled communication with my ancestors and moved me through grief, confusion, and rage about the times we are surviving. The improvised dance and poetry in this film, captured on camera by Tatyana, blends with footage of my altar and phone camera videos of wide skies I’ve watched from park benches in Munsee Lenape/Canarsie aka Brooklyn and snowy creeks I’ve walked along in Munsee Lenape land hours north of the city during the pandemic. Landscapes that facilitated reflection and reckoning.

I’m grateful that this dance film gets to live on the same altar with art works, fiction, and essays by Mariana Pealoza Morales, Daonne Huff, James Anderson, Aliya Bhatia, Ceyenne Doroshow, Greer Gibney, Amalle Dublon & Sandra Wazaz. The issue ends with a collective altar created by a public chorus.

• April 30, 2021

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