In Spring of 2017, performers from Pones, visual artist Pam Kravetz, and documentarian, Ian Forsgren invited audiences to sit down, share a meal and discover stories of local immigrants around our table. This fast-paced piece changed from family dinner to art gallery, cooking show to dance. “Place/Setting” broke down barriers, diffused stereotypes, cultivated empathy and challenged patrons to explore ideas of belonging and home.
The original ceramic place settings that accompanied the performance were inspired by immigrants who live in Cincinnati, OH. Each of their unique stories influenced a local artist to create a handmade place setting. The designs and shapes of the plates, cups, and utensils reflect emotions and cultural influences from each individual narrative.
- February and March 2017:
Pones hosted four workshops with 14 immigrants from around the world, who now call Cincinnati home. Led by the artistic team and community organizer, Dan Joyner, these workshops involved story harvesting, deep learning, and, of course, the sharing of food.Ceramic pieces were created by 12 local ceramicists, including Didem Mert, Melissa Molasses, Carla Lamb, Linnea Gartin, Pam Kravetz and Katie Swartz. Each piece represents someone’s story.
- April and June 2017:
Playwright and co-director, Caitlin McWethy, transcribed these interviews into the show’s script, and actors Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Lormarev Jones, and Hannah Gregory brought new life to these stories on stage.Choreographer and co-director, Kim Popa, worked alongside guest choreographers Mandie Reiber, Courtney Paige, and Jameson Gastón to create a movement vocabulary that dives into the deeper emotions in the narrative that cannot be expressed in words alone.
Videographer Ian Forsgren captured images and stories which he shared in a mini documentary woven throughout the show.
In typical Pones fashion, we did not solely create a dance show. Audiences viewed this piece around a dinner table and ate off of these plates! Each course was another story that prompts conversation, leaving the audience with a call-to-action to start dialogue on social issues currently alive in the city.