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Monday
Apr222013

Amuse Bouche: Fusing Arts and Activism

 

On International Women's Day, the entrepreneurs of Breaking Ground's Women's Entrepreneurial Program (WEP) marched proudly in Dschang. In Cameroon, this holiday is celebrated much more widely and publicaly than in the states and the women we spoke to this year emphasized the importance of solidarity. As articulated by Colette Tchagna, a tailor who received funding from Breaking Ground: "It is important to strengthen the relationships between women; this day creates the opportunity to make new friends and meet new colleagues."

"It is a day for trying to resolve the problems facing women, but also a day for displaying our know-how" said Vivienne Anezi, another recent WEP graduate. In line with this spirit of collaboration and celebration of skill, Breaking Ground celebrated International Women's Day in Brooklyn with Amuse Bouche a variety benefit show that showcased some of the hottest talent in New York's diverse performance communities and raised money for the WEP.

Summer Lacy performs In The Red

Like every Breaking Ground endeavour, this event succeeded thanks to the commitment and teamwork of many generous individuals: Angela Buccini of The Muse, Madeline Hoak of Upsidown Productions, Kiebpoli Calnek of Black*Acrobat and of course all of the talented performers.

Kiebpoli Calnek said this about the event:

Women throughout the world have been marginalized through economic, social, and political means to a detrimental effect on society as a whole. To unite over a common goal on International Women's Day with a non-profit organization that provides leadership and business skills to women is congruous to Black*Acrobat’s mission of fusing arts and activism. In Amuse Bouche, Black*Acrobat showcased black artists through hosting, spoken word, opera, beat rhyming, aerial, and production. 

The event prominently featured works by black, queer, and female artists. During the course of the evening I was captivated by the spoken word of Charan P. Morris, seduced by Sweet Lorraine, and awed by the aerial grace of Summer Lacy. I laughed at Hanna Mandelbaum's hilarious Worlds Weirdest Dog Food Commercial and was moved by Heather Hammond's beautiful tribute to her wife's triumphant battle with cancer. All of the performers impressed and amazed the packed house. To experience some of the evening for yourself, please visit Breaking Ground's  flickr page.

Amuse Bouche raised just under $1000 for our programs. I hope that this is the first of many events with these companies and similarly motivated arts organizations, celebrating our collective skills and collaborating to effect real change in Cameroon as well as provide a platform for progressive and exciting performance. 

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