2018-19 MIT Performing Series
“...a glamazon hip-hop icon
who exists, like Tinkerbell,
only to the extent that you
believe in her and
clap your hands”
— The New Yorker
Glamazon hip-hop icon
Ayesha Jordan is a New York City–based multidisciplinary performer and creator. During her week-long residency at MIT in February 2019, she developed a new work with her collaborator Justin Hicks, working with students and presenting a work-in-progress showing on February 15, 2019 of Line by Line.
In this residency, Jordan and Hicks explored themes related to the excavation of heritage and blended traditions specifically related to African-American and creole cultures of Louisiana. The work forms a backdrop to compose music, lyrics, and text incorporating the sounds of creole music culture, zydeco, and New Orleans bounce, as well as elements of second lines.
The research collected and material developed throughout the residency serves as the foundation for Jordan’s project Shasta Geaux Pop: The Return Remixed, premiering in The Shed’s inaugural season in 2020. Shasta is planning a vibrantly razor-sharp comeback that is audacious and full of surprises. Paying homage to her southern roots while acknowledging the contradictions they play in her present. This residency supplies the blueprint for this anticipated performance.
Ayesha Jordan comes to MIT as part of the 2018-19 MIT Performing Series, a prototyping and presenting series curated by Jay Scheib, professor for Music and Theater Arts, and presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology. MIT Performing promotes a research based artistic practice and serves as a new platform for contemporary performance. MIT Performing is supported in part by the Council for the Arts at MIT.
Line by Line
February 15, 2019 / 8:00pm
MIT Theater, W97
345 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA
Line by Line explores the excavation of heritage and blended traditions specifically related to African-American and creole cultures of Louisiana. Ayesha Jordan and collaborator Justin Hicks use their research as a backdrop to compose music, lyrics, and text incorporating the sounds of creole music culture, zydeco, and New Orleans bounce, as well as elements of second lines.
This Work-in-Progress Showing supplied the blueprint for Jordan’s project Shasta Geaux Pop: The Return Remixed premiering in The Shed’s inaugural season in 2020.
Ayesha Jordan is a New York City based multidisciplinary performer and creator.
She and her collaborator, Charlotte Brathwaite, recently presented Shasta Geaux Pop at The Highline, Under the Radar Festival 2018, Right About Now Festival in Amsterdam, NL, and in Orange County, CA for the Off Center Festival at the Segerstrom Arts Center. Shasta Geaux Pop was also at the La Jolla Playhouse’s 2017 Without Walls (WOW) Festival, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Under the Radar Festival (Jan 2017) and at The Bushwick Starr (Sept 2016).
Jordan was part of the Broadway production of Eclipsed at The John Golden Theatre and reprised her role of “The Girl” at The Curran in San Francisco, March 2017. She was also in the dance theater company Cakeface’s production of Stairway to Stardom.
In 2015, Jordan created Come See My Double D’s at JACK (NY). She has performed abroad in Amsterdam, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Japan. Other projects created and developed include Enter & Exit: Family Reunion; Enter & Exit: Playing House; Inter 1-to-1; the video project Living Room Dance Breaks; and a plethora of videos featuring Jordan’s “friends and family.”
More at the artist’s website: Ayesha Jordan
Justin Hicks is a multidisciplinary artist, collaborator, and performer who uses music and sound to investigate themes of identity, labor, American dream aesthetics, and instinctual value systems. His work has been featured at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Performance Space New York, The Public Theater, JACK, National Black Theatre, The Highline, MoMA, Dixon Place, festival Steirischer Herbst (Graz, Austria), Western Front Society (Vancouver, BC), MASS MoCA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham, UK), The Institute for Contemporary Art (Philadelphia) and The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, among others.
Hicks has collaborated with notable visual artists, musicians and theater makers including Abigail DeVille, Charlotte Brathwaite, Kaneza Schaal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Cauleen Smith, Helga Davis and Chris Myers. Hicks was the Drama Desk Award-nominated composer for Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage (The Public Theater 2018, dir. Jo Bonney). His practice with artist Steffani Jemison, Mikrokosmos, has deployed commissioned performances and exhibitions internationally. He was a member of Kara Walker’s 6-8 Months Space and holds a culinary diploma from ICE in New York City. Hicks was born in Cincinnati, OH, and is based in the Bronx, NY.
More at the artist’s website: Justin Hicks
“All pop stars are constructs, but that’s especially true of Shasta Geaux Pop, a glamazon hip-hop icon who exists, like Tinkerbell, only to the extent that you believe in her and clap your hands.”
— The New Yorker, January 2018
“Their [Ayesha Jordan and Justin Hicks’] work transcends genres, borrows from various performance styles and disciplines, and provides a uniquely shaped social commentary on the most relatable issues.”
— The Theatre Times, February 2019
Contemporary Performance: Immersive Theater: In Conversation With Shasta Geaux Pop