DNAWORKS, Artists – Pittsburgh

(photo: Olaf Growald)

Adam W. McKinney is a dancer, choreographer, and activist. He is the new Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Daniel Banks is a director, deviser, dance dramaturg, and dialogue facilitator. In 2006, Banks and McKinney founded DNAWORKS, an arts non-profit that centers Global Majority and LGBTQQ2SPIAA+ voices to create more complex representations of identity, culture, class, and heritage in dance, theatre, film, writing, and art installation. DNAWORKS has led its award-winning programming and performances, promoting dialogue-based social justice action and community building, with arts, educational, and community organizations in thirty-eight states and seventeen countries. HAMAPAH, their site-specific installation for the FENTSTER window gallery is currently on view through June 2023. They will be in Toronto on May 23 and 24 for an artist residency including an art party at FENTSTER featuring pop up installations from the Dabke Collective and Naomi Daryn Boyd, and the Canadian premiere screening of their film, HaMapah / The Map: Dance-on-Film. To learn more, go to: http://fentster.org/events/dnaworks

  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(photo: Yuhan Du)

We are in the process of relocating to Pittsburgh, where Adam has been appointed Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. It is a beautiful city with both modern and old architecture, and a plurality of cultures represented in all the areas of the city, which we deeply appreciate. It also has a vibrant arts scene, which we are already enjoying. We are excited to discover more.

  1. Feldenkrais Method

(© International Feldenkrais® Federation & Robert Golden. All rights reserved.)

This beautiful practice encourages one to go deeply into “sensing” oneself while examining how we move and use ourselves in the world. When exploring an Awareness through Movement exercise, the instruction is often, “Do less. Go slower.” And one is encouraged to isolate the initiation point of the movement. All of this has practical applications in all aspects of life. This work has contributed to DNAWORKS adopting the motto, “Slow life, slow art.”

  1. Printing on cloth

(photo: Morris Lum)

We were introduced to this technique by the curatorial team at FENTSTER for our new installation work HAMAPAH. We love the vivid and delicate quality of image that this produces, and how, even though the image is static, it still has a sense of movement.

  1. Infrared sauna

145 degrees Fahrenheit, sweating, drinking water, meditating, detoxing. Enough said!

  1. Break My Soul” by Beyoncé

Can’t stop listening to it. An anthem for artists, LGBTQQ2SPIAA+ folks, People of the Global Majority, and anyone being legislated against in these frightening times in the US. It’s on daily heavy-rotation in our house. Thank you, Queen B, for the inspiration!