The Kween Company (TKC) is a female and Black-owned company, recognized as a brave space for members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community and used as a platform to support small businesses, provide mentorship and educate oneself to seek higher knowledge. TKC will be performing their new work The Blak/ˈByo͞odē (The Black Beauty) at the In the Park shows! Lucky for us, Kween, CEO and owner of TKC, shared some thoughts about the new work and it’s creation process:
GD: What about being a part of this community-based dance project are you most excited about?
Kween: For me – everything in the work I do has been very community driven and community based. I mean I have never even claimed to be self-made rather community made. The foundations of this project allow exploration of togetherness through healing and conversation while also providing story-telling through movement. I am so excited and truly honoured to get an opportunity to present this type of work within the region with local Black dancers. Dancers who I admired to their core and respect to their spirit. It not only shapes our community around diversity but it facilitates meaningful conversations around topics that aren’t typically discussed in white spaces. I am also excited to cross-collaborate with other creators for the festival just through energy and space. Being back in person allows the community to not only survive but thrive. I also honour the space to work on Indigenous lands as a Black settler – providing us space to be brave in art.
GD: What has been your biggest takeaway from the rehearsal process so far?
Kween: Rehearsal is not easy. So often audiences receive this amazing final result and I really want to allow folks on the outside to learn here. This is not an easy process, it’s not hard either. But it takes a lot of time. organization and work. And the process leading up is ever challenging. Creating schedules around people’s lives, snow storms and studios, finding enough space available for rehearsals without using up all the budget, creating an idea into a fully presented piece, creating work from your head into a journal into real life moving people. Knowing the sweat, blood and tears that each repetitive movement can take, each minute, each second, each beat all have design, creativity, process and work that goes into it. Each move has a different version of eb and flow – hard, fast, edgy, slow. soft or with breath. Are you hitting the major beat or the off beat, and where are you finding your music, sourcing your talent, booking your talent. What about costumes, what about location of pieces. Are dancers fully able, diverse, are you providing opportunity? This does always end with a happy ending. And the journey of rehearsal and spending time to create is worth every other tedious task. Rehearsal truly deserves just as much recognition as the final piece. So artists – film, capture, everything. Even if you don’t use it now, you might one day!
GD: What do you hope the audience will take away from your work?
Kween: I know, I know – my pieces are what they are. Blackity Black Black. And that is what I want folks to experience and be covered from head to toe in. Black stories, Black energy, Black spirit, Black joy, Black grief, Black softness, Black resilience, Black love. This work compared to other works I have done really is about Black beauty to its core. If I get asked – Describe Kween in three words. I always get strong, tough, powerful or something within these ideas. Never do I get soft, sweet, loved. I want that for us all. To learn compassion and bravery for one another. To open our hearts and our ears to experiencing more than just yourself. If anything – space to breathe and have fun!
Don’t miss this wonderful performance at Exhibition Park, June 2nd at 7PM, June 3rd and 4th at 12PM! Check out the rest of the festival programming and grab your tickets!