Nana's Casa Dance

Pale yellow butter. Sliding. Slowly. Warming. Down a wall. Down a stair. Leaning in and on. A pillow of place only she can see.

A dance is a message. In its most raw, spare form it is a cave painting, a mark on the earth. It is a communication, delivered from a deep place. A place where words do not exist and knowing is something the Dancer pulls into being, and places it before us. It is a holy ceremony at it’s most organic, and if we are lucky we get to bare witness to the experience and receive the chemical change that happens when great art is before us. Even in that world of elite messengers—the exceptional dancers capable of opening that sacred door and bringing us there—Nana yaa Poku Asare-Boadu is rare.

She is a performance artist that uses movement in her work more than she is technically a dancer. She controls and crafts each piece herself, planning, researching, preparing. But when she releases herself to the movement, she dances—gut and heart open—reacting in the moment to the place and the garment she has chosen to perform in. Ambient sound, architecture, nature, mood, all become part of her performance. It is a beautiful seesaw of the intuitive and the intellectual. There are droplets of references from the iconic reservoirs of modern dance. The stylistic grander of Graham, the humor and narrative movement cues of Bausch, the delicacy of sound and measure of Cunningham, the site specificity of Tharp.

That she uses the elegant semiotic power of dance to carry her message and mark her emotional territory is a great part of what draws us to Nana’s work. But she is also an every woman—essentially alone, existing, reacting, managing, and transforming the gestalt of everyday with as much beauty and grace as can be mustered in a defined time and space. 

Here she dances in Marshmallow's pale yellow bodysuit and skirt at the Tiny Casa in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. You can seen Nana perform regularly on her Instagram feed as @lalanana7 as well as in her various live performances at museums and galleries. - SW