The Interesting Narrative of Juan G. Knee-Heart, an Island Minstrel is a solo performance that incorporates tap dance, acting, voiceover, and projections. It tells the story of a native of South America in the early years of the Spanish conquest, forcibly removed to an island in the Caribbean and left to gather information about the island and its inhabitants. Using original texts, and borrowing from authors such as Cabeza de Vaca, Hernán Cortés, and Olaudah Equiano, I explore some foundational encounters, racial violences, and ongoing contradictions of our American cultures. I utilize tap dance, an African diasporic art form that developed during US slavery, as a point of reference and vehicle for making connections. Choreographically and musically these pieces develop through loops, suggestions of narrative, abrupt relocations, and structured improvisations. By juxtaposing image with sound, dance with speech, and live with recorded material, I hope to engage the audience in an unstable, pleasurable process of making and unsettling meaning.
Bio and additional press information:
Orlando Hernández is a tap dancer, actor, musician, and writer from Hoboken, New Jersey. He toured the US, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Germany, and appeared on the Jerry Lewis Telethon, as a soloist and with the companies Tap Kids (2002-2006) and Cats Paying Dues (2005-2008). He has performed with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Michelle Dorrance, Dianne Walker, Sean Jackson, and Jason Samuels-Smith. He was featured in Nueva York: ego fui, a multimedia anthology of Spanish and Latino art in New York by Sonia Ruiz Parra and Cristina Rodríguez Chacón.
He earned a B.A. from Yale University, where he studied literature and concentrated in poetry writing, and his poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in several journals. He lives in Providence, RI, working at schools, teaching tap dance, and performing. This summer he played Romeo in Trinity Repertory Company’s bilingual production of Romeo & Juliet (in partnership with RI Latino Arts).
Free for Brown and RISD Students with ID