AS220 Theater/Dance residency: Hartford-based dance company TNMOT AZTRO
TNMOT AZTRO premiers EQUATORS on July 20 + 21, at AS220’s Black Box theater, 95 Empire Street., Providence, RI
Through movement, sound, diagrams and conversation, EQUATORS depicts how marginalized populations experience the adversity associated with climate change. The performance examines how our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well being is affected by our environment, the deaths that take place in those environments or climates and how we react to human made boundaries due to climate change and environmental unawareness.
Utilizing heavy, stark sculptural elements and complex lighting designs, the installation reflects on quality of life, territory, order, queerness and racial divides manifested in homes, neighborhoods and geography due to the impacts of zoning, segregation and gentrification. Audience members who attend this work may be provoked to rethink their expectations of climate, human-made boundaries, bodies, anthropomorphism, and environmental waste.
Founded in 2010, TNMOT AZTRO features seven dancers including the director (Arien Wilkerson), a movement artist, a two-person technology crew and a collaboration team that is made up of six to ten multidisciplinary artists at any given time (photography, sculpture, installation, poetry, DJ, and beyond). The dancers draw from distinct and diverse movement styles and traditions: modern, b boy / breakdancing, ballet, jazz, West African, and more.
Most recently, TNMOT AZTRO completed three sold-out shows at Real Art Ways with over three hundred viewers, and another sold out weekend in July with an audience of 125 folks each night. The company’s sold out performances have taken place at art galleries, institutions and incubator spaces such as The Historic Town and County Club of Hartford, The Wadsworth Atheneum, University of Saint Joseph, Scapegoat Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, Ted Hershey Dance Marathon, New Britain Museum of Art, Connecticut Dance Alliance, The CT Dance Awards, Hartbeat Ensemble, Housatonic Community College Theater Arts, Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Hartford Public Library, University of Hartford, Little Berlin Philadelphia PA, HighTide Gallery Philadelphia PA, Vox Populi Gallery Philadelphia PA, AS22O Providence RI, SPACE Gallery Portland Maine.
Arien Wilkerson, Artistic Director, TNMOT AZTRO
Wilkerson is a choreographer, movement, video, and installation artist. The Hartford, CT native began his dance training under the tutelage of Jolet Creary, and has been a student at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, The Artists Collective, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, and the Batsheva Dance Company’s “Gaga Intensive” in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2008, he was a scholarship recipient for travel to Cape Verde, Africa to participate in CulturArte, a youth arts residency program. There, he studied with Deborah Goffe (Artistic Director of Scapegoat Garden) and Mano Preto (Artistic Director of Raiz di Polon). As a high school senior in 2009, David Dorfman and Nicole Stanton selected Arien’s work for inclusion in Wesleyan University’s Dance Masters programming, recognizing his potential as a groundbreaking choreographer in New England.
In his role as founder and Artistic Director of TNMOT AZTRO, Arien has been commissioned by Hartford’s Town & County Club to develop his sold-out show BLACK BOY JUNGLE which went on to the Wadsworth Atheneum. As an Artist in Residence at The Garden Center for Contemporary Dance (2013-2014), Arien developed three iterations of “The Projector Series”, which went on to sell out RAW for 3 consecutive evenings. Arien served as co-facilitator for the Invisible City Project Cooperative, a space and program with the goal of supporting Greater Hartford dance artists in making their best work.
For 2018 Arien Wilkerson was selected to create a Performance Installation to the chosen book of Citizen An American Lyric by Poet and Author Claudia Rankine. What Wilkerson submitted as portion to the National Endowment for the Arts was a volunteer based and co developed dance installation performance entitled “Citizen” in which citizens of Hartford and it’s surrounding areas voluntarily commit to (4) two hour creation workshops, in which they use the book and the choreographic movement structures Arien wrote as a road map to creating a movement piece on racism in its current state.