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Tania Isaac: Open Notebook

October 24, 2016

National Endowment for the Art’s Big Read Festival and Drexel’s Writers Room are paying tribute to one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature, Zora Neale Hurston and her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching Gods”. Included in the events is a presentation of the creative outcomes developed during Dance Professor Tania Issac’s four-week long workshop re-interpreting Hurston’s text which will be presented on Saturday, October 29 at 7:00pm in Van Rensselaer Hall. Her exploration of creative method, “Open Notebook”, turns a room into a laboratory of performance investigation. In late September she began a workshop offering the opportunity to look at “Their Eyes Were Watching God” as source material and model for creating performance. Participants met once a week, interweaving their narratives with Hurston’s to create small performances of movement, theatre and voice. Their installation was open each day to the public and their comments and responses are reflected in the performance.

Dance Professor Tania Isaac created a new work with Meredith Rainey, a Philadelphia-based choreographer and former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist, on the Annenberg stage in (In)Visible this past April. (In)Visible is a new work that combines playful satire and flowing movement, examining individual and collective ideas of identity as they pertain to culture, sexuality and race and taking inspiration from life of paradoxes. Professor Isaac is a former member of David Dorfman Dance, Urban Bush Women and Rennie Harris Puremovement. She has received grants from the Independence Foundation, Dance Advance, National Performance Network, Leeway Foundation, Harlem Stage Fund for New Work and The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, in addition to receiving a 2011 Pew Charitable Trusts Artists Fellowship. Tania Isaac, named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, is a Caribbean-American dancer and choreographer who fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary to grapple with identity, post-colonial issues, feminism and juxtapositions of European and African influences.