this dance is black.

a black man.
a disabled black man.
two recent killings
that we know of
with more to come…

& i
in the midst of this –
bridge bodies shoulders with another brotha
arms cross arms
bending necks
this dance emerges
dropping to knees
falling towards the ground
face down
shaken into
holds that rock us
onto our backs
thighs cradle head
side to side
side by side
to momentary stillness.

pressed against each other
we roll up
our breaths are deep
with hands extended
ready to carry ourselves.

black men
disabled black men
we be.
we keep movin.

#thisdanceisBlack  #theseFolkwecarry #whathebodyknows

what’s happened. what’s happening.

Barak in washed tones with crutches full body by Erika Dufour
image of Barak with crutches and hands gestured by Erika Dufour



WHAT’S happened:

June —
what the body knows
successfully campaigned in support of the world premiere fall production!

particular thanks  to: Carrie Sandahl, Anna Khimasia, Lisa Lee, LaKia Colquitt, Daniel Alexander Jones, Katherine Zien, Barbara Koenen, Sharon Bridgforth, Alice Kim, Keith Brown, Edisa Weeks, Caroline Palmer, Ananya Chatterjea, Kris Lenzo Suzanne Snider, Willa Taylor, Allie Stephens, Ben Foch, Anthony Romero and Felipe Gomes for their distinct contributions, and to 3Arts for providing the fundraising platform and administration!

July —
Barak traveled to Santiago, Chile to present an international premiere of the diptych turttle//ele’fant as part of the Hemispheric Institute’s 2016 Encuentro.

August —
Barak traveled to Pittsburgh to present diptych turttle//tablewerk at August Wilson Center for African American Culture as part of 2016 LEAD Conference.



Barak travels to Portland, Oregon to offer keynote for the Alliance of Artists Communities 2016 Conference.

World premiere of  what the body knows
Limited engagement and seating!
Friday, October 28th & Saturday, October 29th
performance begins 7:30pm
doors open at 6:30pm
at Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago!

what the body knows unfolds as a suite of intimate dances provocatively exploring the intersection of race AND disability.

With choreography and performance by Barak, additional performances by Jerron Herman and live sound score orchestrated by Sadie Woods.

admission is FREE with RSVP+

the event will be fully accessible. asking all to support a scent free environment. Wheelchair seating, CART services, ASL interpretation, Audio description and Individual assistance available.

+for inquiries:
phone 872.444.6817

these moments. in the act of art.

the art making doesn’t stop. in the midst of campaigning for what the body knows, an opportunity to collaborate is embraced.  basking from the beauty of the act of art, in the art of experimentation with brilliant artists Nikki Patin and Mikel Patrick Avery in politics  of space , curated by Demecina Beehn as the culmination to 2016 Chicago Home Theater Festival at Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative’s studio in the neighborhood of  Greater Grand Crossing.

truly thankful for these moments:

this moment in the act of art. we three be. within community. making the unknown known.



this moment in the act of art. we find each other. tenderly. “who’s the table”. revealing truths.



the moment post performing. still savoring the act of art. candidly, we three creative folk be.


from left to right: Nikki Patin, Mikel Patrick Avery and me.



sometimes we are offered support. many times we need it. no shame.

Barak supported by Jerron

thankful for the support of my dance partner  Jerron Herman – in this above moment photographed by Nikki Bruce – and the folk who have supported  what the body knows campaign thus far!

this choreographic project will premiere at Stony Island Arts Bank with FREE performances on October 28th and 29th.

the final phase needs more support. please join in the conversation surrounding the intersection of race and disability…embodied through what the body knows.

we keep movin.

May 3rd Performance-52

Black. and Disabled. and Dancing. We keep moving. together. through Art. in Community.

Nearly 1 in 5 folks in America have a disability. Intersect that recent statistic with  the racializing that impacts us all, and we are in for a profound convergence.  A powerful moment to recognize the strength within these communities through thoughtful discussions socially and creatively. 

Join us in the deepening of this conversation.  Please support this new work intersecting race and disability.  A suite of solos and a duet illuminating how we move and are moved by others.

what the body knows campaign is LIVE.   


*image of Jerron Herman and Barak by EyeAmNikkiB







the stories we’ll share…

the stories we’ll share…through the dances we’ll create.

FullSizeRender (14)

in this process of developing what the body knows, through the reflection of documenter Nikki Bruce’s photography, we found that each image offered compelling insight into this emerging  work; into how these two bodies (Jerron Herman and myself)  are discovering how to be in conversation with the two intersecting “bodies” the work seeks to explore -the body racialized and the body disabled.  through our coexistence and commitment to make visible these intersections, we are making movement that speaks to the beauty of these bodies coming together.

and through the support of this campaign…the story will deepen…

what the body campaign continues through June 9th.

*above image of  Barak  (on knees) and Jerron by EyeAmNikkiB


what the body knows…what unfolds

it’s been a couple of months since i’ve posted on here. most presently, i’ve been creating new dance…

FullSizeRender (13)

it’s been incredibly rewarding. and humbling..

recently  Jerron Herman, Francine Sheffield came from New York and Phanuel Antwi traveled from Canada, to join me in a 10 day intensive development process for the emerging choreographic project what the body knows a suite of solos and a duet focused on the complex intersection and intertwining legacies of disability and race.

within this creative period i was also joined by local artists Sadie Woods, Nikki Bruce to respectively document the process and collaborate on the sound design. the focus was on a duet to build with Jerron as my co-performer and Francine holding space for us to delve into the conversation between our bodies. both  black. both men. both disabled. self-identifying with those aspects of ourselves. shared experiences yet distinct ways of navigating the ways those identities impact our lives. we’ve never dance together before. this was our introduction to understanding how we might do that. and, from this exploration and rigorous process, carry emerges. and the process continued…

consultants in audio description and American Sign Language joined us, as a means to explore how these noted ways of offering access could be integrated within my evolving creative aesthetic. we grew to better understand how and why we would carry each other. the many forms of carry, carrying legacies we don’t want to hold onto. carrying memories we will keep close to us through the cycle of our lives. the passing of information between two men existing in the intergenerational continuum. the symbolism and metaphors of being carriers of the systemic perceptions and oppression of black men. and the power harnessed from the union of our disabled bodies in solidarity and thoughtful exchange. inside this deeply embodied exchange, being in conversation with Jerron opened up discoveries that could only be shared through the beauty of dancing together.

and then we shared this process with others. intimately drawing folks into the folds of what we discovered while in residence at Rebuild Foundation’s Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative studio…and they watched us in duet, carry each other and be carried. and they shared with us what that meant to them. and we listened….

i’m still taking in all that was shared, exchanged, discussed. and i’m learning more and more what it means to collaborate. to be open. to be vulnerable. to hold space for others. to allowing myself to be held…

this is what the body knows. this is an ongoing process of discovering what the body does know.

i learned  immediately that this project’s vision is larger than one person. it takes a community.

so thankful for what each one of these artists brought to the space, to the many folk who contributed to ensuring there was an opportunity to engage profoundly in the development phase of what the body knows…and to the folk who witnessed the intimate showing this past May 3rd at DAHC.

and it will take the larger community’s support in order to most deeply engage in the producing of this project’s culminating phase… which is why i’ve launched a campaign!

with this support –

soon will come the premiere of what the body knows  at Stony Island Arts Bank.  October 2016, with my collaborators and new additions to the project (costuming, lighting), the project will be shared with Chicagoans and those visiting the city; bearing  witness and engaging with us in this continuing and evolving conversation on race & disability, through dance.


what the body knows campaign is LIVE. $3000 to be raised by 11:59pm June 9th.


*above image of Jerron (left) and Barak by EyeAmNikkiB