PODCAST 148: Davalois Fearon
Release Date: 1.9.23
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Stepping Out into the World with Davalois Fearon
Today we bring you a beautiful and inspiring conversation with Davalois Fearon, whose work as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer brings together her family history, early years in Jamaica, and a dedication to moving the art form and community forward. Davalois takes us through some of the most important moments of her journey and how these influenced her evolving approach to her craft. We also get to hear about her current work in choreography, her commitment to grassroots building, and why her performances include such a strong theme of reciprocity with the audience. Listeners can expect to come away with some fascinating insight into her process of connecting the different parts of her life and experience into a unified artistic voice, so make sure to join us for this great episode, with the one and only Davalois Fearon!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Davalois’ early years in Jamaica and initial attraction to dance and performance.
- Moving to the Bronx and the playground training that started Davalois’ learning.
- Ballet, gymnastics, and attending art school.
- The culture of involvement and participation in the African diaspora.
- Davalois reflects on her experiences in high school and working to fund her dance ambitions.
- The dreams that Davalois had coming out of high school and her thoughts on work and college.
- Joining a company, touring, parties, and the excitement of the early years.
- Davalois’ internship at Pentacle and the entrepreneurial lessons she learned.
- New choreography projects and pushing against limiting beliefs and fears.
- The period of research that enabled Davalois to truly realize her artistic identity.
- Why the grassroots approach that Davalois employed served her so well in the long run.
- The inclusion of the audience; Davalois explains her philosophy around performance.
- Davalois’ current projects and a look at her upcoming performances.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
BIO: Critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, and scholar Davalois Fearon is a 2017 Bessie Award for her performance in “the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds” ensemble. Her dancing, praised by colleagues as “unapologetic” and by critics as “electrifying,” was honed over 12 years with the Stephen Petronio Company (2005–2017), where she was an audience favorite for her bold performances. Born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, Fearon’s choreography is said to embody a “tenacious virtuosity” that is now reflected in her work as founder and director of Davalois Fearon Dance (DFD). Established in 2016, DFD pushes artistic and social boundaries to highlight injustice and inequality and spark vital conversations about change. Fearon’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, including at New York City venues such as the Joyce Theatre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New Victory Theater. Among many others, she has completed commissions for the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Princeton University. Her abundant honors and awards include two-time DanceNYC’s Dance Advancement Fund Award and grants from the MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Her company has enjoyed continuous support from the Bronx Council of the Arts. Fearon has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, in poet Ntozake Shange’s book, Dance We Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance, and in the 2019 documentary film, If the Dancer Dances. Fearon holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BFA from the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. Fearon holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BFA from the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance.
Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton