Cynthia Oliver

Cynthia Oliver and Leslie CuyjetRecently returned from sabbatical in the fall of 2014, Cynthia Oliver worked on projects that included a combination of activities: two essays for publication—one for the visual artist Kehinde Wiley's Los Angeles exhibition on Haiti and the other for a forthcoming book on dance and politics—and continued appearances with Tere O'Connor Dance in two pieces she performed with his company, BLEED and Sister, a duet with David Thomson.

In addition, Cynthia's 2014 New York Live Arts commissioned work, BOOM! (a duet Oliver performs with U of I alumna Leslie Cuyjet), premiered in New York in October 2014 and continues to tour nationally. This season, BOOM! will tour to Portland, Oregon, and Chicago, Illinois, and will conclude its performances in Dallas, Texas. In addition to the ongoing success of BOOM!, Oliver has begun a new project, Virago-Man Dem, a group work examining the complexities and nuances of black masculinities in the diaspora. Commissioned in the summer of 2015 in a partnership between Paloma McGregor's Dancing While Black organization and Makeda Thomas's New Waves Institute in Trinidad and Tobago, Oliver began exploring material with a workshop cast of local and nonlocal men. She continued this research in a residency at the Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) in Guilford, Vermont, with U of I alum Niall Noel Jones and local black Vermonters and will continue to explore this material with residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography in Tallahassee, Florida, and a return to VPL in 2016. Virago-Man Dem will premiere at Gibney Dance in New York in the spring of 2017.