2023 Artist in Residence:
NOVA CYPRESS BLACK
Photo by Maiya Ellick
NOVA CYPRESS BLACK (dey/dem/deirs/NOVA) is a kinetic quilt of deir ancestors. A 3D collage of Midwest tranquility, Southern hospitality, & East Coast grit. NOVA writes deir name in all caps as a reminder to take up space as an unmistakably Black trans gender-expansive lighthouse. This choreopoet's investment in the dynamic relationship between movement & verse propels deir kinetic experimentation of a poem’s mobility on the page, in the mouth & throughout the body. NOVA utilizes over 15 years of dance training & teaching to compose frameworks of choreography obsessed with blurring genre, full body listening, honoring gestures of the working class & manifesting liberation. Deir full-length choreopoems include “another goddamn lesbian movie / a chorepoem.” (summer 2017, NYC) and “somewheres: a world-in-progress” (spring 2020, NYC).
NOVA’s commitment to movement education is illustrated through deir freelance teaching artist work with the following organizations: for our sibs (Atlanta, GA); Ballet After Dark (Virtual); The Shed (NYC); Urban Arts Partnership (NYC); Sadie Nash Leadership Project (NYC); Dancewave (NYC); New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, NJ); & Big Brothers Big Sisters (NYC); etc. This genre-defying writer, intuitive mover & fire dancer pledges allegiance to freedom & pleasure. www.novacypressblack.com
POST-OP: A CHOREO-DOC is a personal video diary that holds space for NOVA CYPRESS BLACK's journey of returning to deir movement practice after getting top surgery on April 27, 2023. This project includes recorded improv sessions, community cameos, & original poetry compositions.
POST Artist Residency:
This residency was incredibly pivotal to my recovery after getting top surgery. I was able to return to my movement practice & relearn how to dance with my new body. As I’m currently unemployed & don’t have a car, the fact the application & program was free, in addition to being a short walking distance from MARTA made this residency all the more accessible. The Fly Team was super supportive & responsive to my needs. I would recommend this residency ten times over.
2022 Artist in Residence:
Asia Meana is an artist, writer, and educator. She has many (too many?) passions and hobbies, including but not limited to dollmaking, cooking, designing and building costumes, yoga, distance running, backpacking, singing, dancing, poetry and – most importantly – theater. In her creative work, she tries to combine as many of these passions as possible (though some are definitely easier to incorporate than others).
She has been involved with theater for nearly two decades. She has worked on many and varied aspects – performing (in both musicals and straight plays), costume and set design / construction, lighting and sound design, stage management, playwriting, and directing. Her favorite directorial work includes Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days and Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced. She has also been writing for as long as she can remember. Her most recent poem, “liminal,” can be found in the Spring 2021 edition of Barzakh Magazine.
Her current project, Scape, which she will develop and direct during her residency with Fly on a Wall, is a mixed-media theatrical work in which a pair of lovers flee a crumbling external world by escaping into their shared internal world—a blue city and a red forest, which are simultaneously knit together and sundered by an ever-expanding, white liminal space. She is overjoyed to have snagged two phenomenal actors – Jessica Craig and Daniel Cutts – to play the two aforementioned lovers. She is also thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with her brother, Elias Meana, who will be composing and recording the score.
Hailing from a long line of educators, Asia got her Masters in Secondary English Education at Georgia State University in 2020, and has since been teaching High School Literature. Her students are a constant source of inspiration, motivation, and joy for her.
Asia is the daughter of an Iranian-American mother and a Spanish father, and she bears all three of her cultures with pride. She believes fiercely that the human family thrives when given access to a steady diet of diverse stories from myriad perspectives. She lives in Atlanta with Pepper the dog, Gix the gecko, Zoe the iguana, and her partner, Eli.
Asia's Residency culminated with a sold-out show of her work SCAPE on July 8th, 2022 at Windmill Arts.
2021 Artist in Residence:
Photos by Harrison Glazier
AUSTYN RICH was raised in Smyrna, GA. His performance works include, BL**DY SPAGHETTI, TECHNICAL FOUL and many others premiered in Los Angeles, CA at REDCAT, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Human Resources LA and site-specific locations around the city. He has also performed in choreographed works of d. Sabela grimes, Lula Washington, Ligia Lewis, William Forsythe and Bill T. Jones and filmed works of Solange Knowles and Julien Christian Lutz.
When we asked AUSTYN RICH about his artist statement, he replied, "As an artist and a human, I have a complicated relationship with care. What I care about is tested by the limits of free will. Since nature is so full of impermanence, the world changes every day without my active involvement. This could be dispiriting but it is also comforting, because it makes living an exercise in trust. I just exist and allow nature to take care. You never know what “take care” means when someone says it to you, but you can trust you are taken care of somehow. That is what care often looks like to me—the trust and the possibility of surrendering to whatever the outcome may be.
On the other hand, I see care as a space of responsibility. I do care for future generations that may have trouble seeing the world the way I do or may struggle to communicate and relate with others. I actively use my art practice, which I see as an act of care, as the starting place for the next generation. This is where I reclaim my free will and its power to resist entropy.
What moves me as an artist is the bravery to talk to every person in the world. My medium is dance, which defies language and ideology barriers. It also often defies my own verbal understanding, channeling the confusion, randomness, disassociation, and inspiration of my daily existence. These tentative and often contradictory aspects take shape in motion and through movement. Dance can be a form of feedback, but it can also be a form of neglect and refusal. It is sometimes a “physical rant” against an abyss of disembodied chatter. My current professional journey is a manifestation of trust, practice, curiosity, commitment and risk-taking. I have come to the realization that talent is just a fraction of the alchemy of dance. Only after I write my ideas down multiple times, repeat them out loud, and physicalize them with confidence does my artistic vision begin to emerge. I treat my practice like the mad scientist spending hours in the lab staring at the beaker from every angle in the room. I listen to my intuition because it is my honest and innermost voice. This is why I am most comfortable with improvisation. It is the best representation of my artistic and human self."
Austyn's Residency culminated in a one evening performance of his work: NURSERY on Friday, November 19th, 2021 at Windmill Arts.
2020 Artist in Residence:
Photos by James Jin // @jamesjinimages
Gabrielle worked at The Windmill Arts Center during her Summer Residency 2020 creating a full-length dance work, "Entertain The Sky" Due to Covid-19, the decision was made to turn her live performance into a dance film. This film is free to watch March 12 - March 14, 2021 only.
This film was made possible by Fly on a Wall and The Windmill Arts Center with support from Fulton County Arts Council.
Gabrielle Duncan is currently a senior at Kennesaw State University (KSU) who has earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance and is currently pursuing her Business Management Degree. She has been a Kennesaw State University Dance Company member for five semesters. In 2018, she performed Lisa Lock's "Suspended Vision" at the Kennedy Center for the American College Dance Association's national conference. One of her choreographic works "We to I" has been showcased at the KSU Spring Dance Concert and The Fulton County Arts Festival in 2019. She has attended the Dance Sessions summer intensive in 2016 and Staib Dance summer intensive in 2017. Gabrielle Duncan has been teaching dance for five years to beginner and advanced leveled dancers at Dance Arts Centre and N-Step Dance Academy. She teaches jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, lyrical, ballet and contemporary dance.
When we asked Gabby about her artist statement, she responded, “To take pride in the art that I create and to treat everything and everyone involved with great care and love.”
Photos + Video by Christina Massad
2019 Artist in Residence:
Porter Grubbs // The Mediums Collective
Photo by Daley Kappenman of DayLilies Photography
Video by Christina Massad from "Are We There Yet?" by Mediums Collective (2019)
Porter Grubbs and The Mediums Collective held a creative residency at The Windmill Arts Center for the month of June 2019. During this time, he held open classes, rehearsals and presented, "Are We There Yet?" in the black box.
When we asked Porter about his residency, he said, "I'm eternally grateful to Fly and The Windmill for opening their space to me and my collective at the time, Mediums. That month of focused creative effort was invaluable for our process and it helped us to grow closer in our practice. I learned a lot about my responsibilities as a choreographer and director while taking space to experiment, make mistakes, and expand my creative vocabulary. Performance is a practice in and of itself, and the opportunity we were given to produce a show at the culmination of our residency was essential to our development as artists and as voices in the community."