How do we carve a space for joy in the midst of adversity? Jessica Marino, choreographer, teacher, and dancer with STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Sos Sos, has been mulling over this question for months. Then in October of 2018, she attended the exhibit of the installation piece “Flying Girls” by Nigerian artist Peju Alatise at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh. The sculpture depicts a circle of girls with wings and birds in flight overhead.
“I’d been thinking about how togetherness and ritual bring a sense of community and joy in the face of devastation,” says Marino. “I saw “Flying Girls,” and it brought me to tears. The eight life-size black statues spoke to innocence and the power of black girl joy despite the societal atrocities girls may be subjected to in Nigeria.”
That experience further inspired Marino’s work on the dance piece Wild Out, which will be performed by the Moravian College Dance Company on March 29 and 30.