Performance: Powdered Footwork: “D”-cyphering Detroit Jit

Tuesday, April 27 @ 6:00 pm CST 
Thursday, April 29 @ 5:00 pm CST

Director: Melanie Anastacia Van Allen
Performers: Michael Manson, Haleem “Stringz” Rasul, Mike Smith, Gabriel McLeod, Kenya “Standing Ovation” Sutton, Lilanie Karunanayake, Noah Goodman, Reggie “Munch” Turner, Willie “Sonic” Hull, James Broxton Jr., Larry Moore, Dominique Roper, Eric Harris, Melanie Anastacia Van Allen

Artist’s Statement: The film “Powdered Footwork: “D”-cyphering Detroit Jit” presents vibrant vignettes from my ethnographic engagement with Detroit’s little-known street dance form Jit, which emerged in the 1970s when Detroit’s automobile industry was beginning to decline. This film is situated at weekly cypher sessions in Detroit, most commonly known as “the spot.” As a researcher/participant/observer, the embodied knowledge gained from learning how to Jit at the cypher brought me closer to understanding the complexity of Jit: as a culture, as a history, as an identity, as geography, as a corporeal language, as a philosophy, as a way of life, and as a simulacrum of industrial Detroit’s preoccupation of efficient production, at lightning-fast speed. Jit culture is visual, performative, and dynamic. Presenting snapshots of the Jit on film provides a sensorial means to get closer to the essence of this underground—mechanized—abstruse—raw—Detroit—feeling: a corporeal embodiment of the streets.

Melanie Anastacia Van Allen (Ph.D. M.A. M.F.A.) is a New York City-based choreographer, dancer, teaching artist, and emerging scholar of dance. Melanie holds a Ph.D. in Dance Studies from Texas Woman’s University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography/Performance from the University of Michigan. Melanie’s scholarly and artistic work investigates the intersections between the practical and theoretical, with an interest in performance studies, dance ethnography, Detroit’s electronic music and dance culture, and interdisciplinary methodologies of research and performance. She has presented her research and choreography at various academic conferences and artistic events in New York City, Chicago, Hawaii, London, and Bolivia. Melanie is also a certified yoga instructor, completing her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Pure Yoga in New York City in 2018.

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