J. Bouey’s artistic practice addresses systems of oppression through a trauma-informed lens in which healing is located in the body and facilitated by movement. Their life and experiences, along with the history of systematic oppression of Black folks, are sites of research and their work threads personal narratives with systemic ones. Under immense dehumanizing
pressure, Black folks have survived and coped. Bouey’s creative practice investigates how ancestors did it and asks what one must do to continue the healing process. One of thier working theories is to show a distinction between the healthy and toxic inherited coping practices.
“Chiron in Leo” is a new dance performance project led and executed by choreographer and performer J. Bouey which will premiere at JACK in May 2020. This new evening-length work uses embodied practices of healing as choreographic devices and brings attention to the effects of white supremacy on the mental health of Black people. Connecting mass incarceration and the crack epidemic to the traumas that inform child-rearing since chattel slavery, “Chiron in Leo” will model healthy behaviors and processing tools for the audience. The collaborative team includes: Peter “TearDrop” Louis Mercedes-Phipps (Sound Designer and DJ), Stephanie George (Dramaturg and Performance Doula), Juan “Coel” Rodriguez (Technical Director), and Crew Members/Stage Manager and Costume Designer (TBD).
As conversations of mental health and generational trauma become more widely discussed within Black communities, “Chiron in Leo” enters those conversations by showing the effects that systemic oppression has had on the family dynamic and how the traumas experienced in childhood have a lasting impact on the adult life. “Chiron in Leo” dares to dive into the subject matters of sexual abuse, drug addiction, and domestic violence with the intention of showing how people can re-emerge having healed some of their scars. They hope by sharing “Chiron in Leo” they can aid in putting an end to the silence that surrounds the sexual abuse of boys and men, and dispel the stigma of living with addiction and other mental illnesses. It is vital for Black people to heal individually and to heal their communities.