Awardee: Makeda Thomas

Performing Arts, 2013

Makeda Thomas is an artistic director, dancer and choreographer who has emerged as a leading voice in dance performance, education and artistic curation on three continents. Her work has been presented throughout North America, Africa and South America. In 2005, Graca Machel, Former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique, was the Honorary Patron of her internationally acclaimed work, A Sense of Place, which was recognized by a commission from 651 ARTS. Her 2008 solo, evening-length work, FreshWater, was embedded in MIT's Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies and toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, Zimbabwe and Trinidad. Thomas has served as a cultural envoy for the U.S. Department of State and is the director of the Dance & Performance Institute. As a dancer, she has performed internationally in the companies of Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, Urban Bush Women and Rennie Harris’s Puremovement. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and continues to create and perform internationally, splitting her time between New York City and Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Project: Make. Believe.

Make. Believe. is an evening-length, multimedia movement that reunites poet/performance artist Queen GodIs and choreographer Makeda Thomas, retracing and recreating moments from the space/time lapse since their first encounter. Using science fiction as a storytelling tool, Make. Believe. will create a dream state of dance, poetry, visual art, music and food, engaging the audience in a journey through the untold histories of each collaborator. The project’s artistic team will include five dancers from Thomas’ international company of dancers, music composition by Grisha Coleman, visual media by David Tinapple, set design by Sean Naftel, costume design by Micah Blacklight, painting/makeup by Risha Rox, lighting design by Stephen Arnold and dramaturgy by Tamilla Woodard.