Reconstructions was a 2019 site specific, North Oakland-based, performance ritual in 4 parts: a 3 hour durational installation performance, a 45 minute staged performance, and a procession through the Idora Park and Temescal neighborhoods and a shared meal. Reconstructions was the culmination of three years of research, collaborative explorations, and six performance studies about the impact of the post Civil War Reconstruction period on the psyches of Black people in the US.
Reconstructions brought the historical legacy of slavery, the more recent history of freeway construction that physically restructured Oakland neighborhoods, and the current reality of gentrification in North Oakland into conversation through movement, live music, costume, and visual art installation.
In addition to David Boyce and Byb Chanel Bibene’s brilliance, we are honored to have the genius of Regina Evans, Ernest Jolly, Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen, and Latanya Tigner collaborating on the project. Regina Evans is bringing her fashion, design, visioning, deep knowledge and connection to Oakland to the costuming for the project. Installation artist, curator and set designer, Ernest Jolly is bringing his brilliance in creating powerful spaces to the gallery installation and stage set piece design. Rhiannon MacFadyen brings her ability to wear many hats so well – artist, curator, administrator, fundraiser – to the co-production of the project. Latanya Tigner brings her choreographic, dance, research on the connections between West and Central African Dance to African American Dance forms to build diasporic connections between past and present, between different geographies into the choreography.
Our collective work as artists and audience participants on Reconstructions joins the expanding pool of ritual transformation birthed in the work of Ellen Sebastian Chang and Amara Tabor-Smith, of Dohee Lee, of Regina Evans, of the House Full of Black Women collective, Eric Kupers and Kimiko Guthrie’s Dandelion Dance Theater and others.
All Reconstructions Performance Ritual photos by Sibila Savage
These stories and texts were used to open and close Reconstruction portion of the ritual. We asked that audience and artist listen to the language first spoken on the lands we now live on, to sit in the not knowing and still listen.
This is an Ohlone story told by Vincent Medina, a member of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco. For full presentation, and discussion visit
Ghost Dance, Lame Deer (1821-1877) was Miniconjou Lakota and vice chief of the Wakpokinyan band.
According to Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka, proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native American peoples throughout the region. (Wikipedia, 2019)
Reconstructions Performances and Events
Reconstructions Performance Ritual — March 23, 24, 30 and 31, Idora Park Project Space (5600 Shattuck Ave, Oakland). Gallery Installation Performance 3-5:30 pm, Performance 6:00 – 7:00, Procession 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Shared Meal 8:00 – 9:00 pm.
Ark of Bones (David Boyce, Chris Evans) Reconstructions CD Release Fundraiser, Feb 23 — 5-8 pm. Idora Park Project Space.
Latanya Tigner’s Here We Go Again Dance Workshop, Mar 9 — 2-4 pm. Idora Park Project Space. It’s true. Nothing is ever new, especially in dance. Dances/steps within forms re-emerge, re-visioned with new rhythmic structures, movement qualities, attitudes and intentions based on the lived experiences and needs of the generation responsible for their revival. In this workshop, participants will experience how different traditional African and African diasporic dances/steps show up again and again in African American dance (Hip Hop and House) as a means of rejuvenation, evidence of resilience, acts of resistance, and roads to revelation.
West and Central African dance techniques covered will a focus on footwork/patterns, articulation of spine/isolations, rhythmic structures, dynamic movement qualities, in addition to an explanation of the historical, political, spiritual, and social aspects of these forms.
The workshop will begin with a warm up designed to familiarize participants with Central and West African religious and social dances, particularly the movement origins of specific traditional Hip Hop steps and African American social dances that fall under the umbrella of Hip Hop and House.
Idora Park Project Space
The workshops, rehearsals, and first two parts of the ritual performance will take place in the Idora Project Space Gallery and Dance Studio on 56th St and Shattuck. This project will launch the Idora Project Space founded by Chris Evans and Ernest Jolly to support experimental artists of color.
Idora Park Neighborhood
Idora Park Project Space, formerly a French Laundry, was also at the entrance to the Idora Park Amusement Park. The site of Vicente Peralta’s home in the Rancho San Antonio is two blocks away at 55th and Telegraph. Before this Ohlone people moved through this land for thousands of years. This site the holds the story of the capitalist project along with its successive reconstructions of place and erasure of people, histories, and paving over of ecologies. I also lived in this neighborhood as a teenager, where waves of Italian and Portuguese immigrants came after the 1906 earthquake to take refuge, where in the 1940s waves of Black Southerners came in the Great Migration. Freeway construction in the 1960s remapped the community. Today, the Black working community I knew is slowly being erased.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Dancers’ Group’s CASH Grant Program and the Clorox Foundation for their generous support of the Reconstructions project.