Jennifer Harge

Winter 2023 Hawkins Chair

Jennifer Harge

WACD welcomes Jennifer Harge as the 2023 Hawkins Chair. Jennifer will be teaching Dance 117C: Locations as well as Dance C174B/C274B: Projects in Dance.

Jennifer Harge is a Detroit based artist engaging performance, installation, and language through the lens of Black feminist thought and Black spiritual subjectivity. Harge is developing a multiform project, FLY | DROWN, as a collection of movement based fables that honor the self-sovereignty of Black women. Intimately situated within the context of Black femme imaginations, dreamscapes, prayers, and homes, the fables are a collection of stories centering Black flight: the process of Black flesh stealing away from constraint and declaring itself sovereign through spatial, corporeal, and spiritual agency. FLY | DROWN currently operates as solo performance practice, installation, and film.

Students in Dance 117C will consider site-specific performance through the lens of embodied archives, natural environments (the ocean, specifically), and installation making. We will look to myth-mak­ing and myth-correcting to activate the histories and possibilities of sites through practices of listening, futuring, and repair.

Students in 174/274 will be immersed in Harge's creative practice through the use of movement, voice, language, and collaborative process. Guided by Black feminist thought, Black spirit work, embodied citation, and materiality, the course will culminate in an ensemble practice positioning performance as fable and collective ritual. The course will include engagement with the FLY | DROWN archive (including past performances, texts, and films) and in-person and virtual visits from Harge's collaborators. All are welcome; no dance experience required.


FLY | DROWN is a book of movement-based fables told in 5 chapters directed by Jennifer Harge. Set in a post-great migration home in Detroit, Chapter 1 tells the main story of FLY | DROWN, an interwoven tale of 2 characters: nyeusi and elder. nyeusi, a Sankofa bird from The River, is elder's child from another lifetime. Through an act of spiritual conjuring (presumably through Elder's prayers), nyeusi comes back to elder in her home and teaches elder how to release the shame from her body in order to fly. Chapter I premiered at Detroit Artist's Market in 2019 as a solo performance exhibi­ tion and social sculpture, including performances, salon talks, meals, and movement workshops.

Subsequent chapters, told in the form of a film installation, performance lecture, and durational performance, have premiered as part of exhibitions, festivals, and residencies at Wexner Center for Arts, Sidewalk Detroit, The Philadelphia Thing Trade School Festival, and University of Iowa. The final chapter of FLY | DROWN will take place in 2025 in Detroit and include a closing movement ceremony and book-length publication archiving the 6-year process.

Read more about Jennifer at