Inside the Pillow Lab: Monique Martin and Minty Fresh Circus


For this Pillow Lab, creator of Minty Fresh Circus Monique Martin investigates the power of Black music created by enslaved Africans as a healing alchemical force. In her first Pillow Lab Residency she and her artistic collaborators Traci Bartlow and Adesola Osakalumi, along with invited circus and dance artists, continue world building Minty Fresh Circus through a devised process. The creative team, composers ChenLo and Asante Amin explore the sonic bed which aligns movement and music with African performance rituals, cultural traditions and ceremonies, within a contemporary circus framework. About Minty Fresh Circus and Monique Martin The name of this contemporary circus, Minty Fresh Circus, is inspired by the artists’ Afrofuturistic Muse, Harriet Araminta Tubman (nicknamed Minty), abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad. Africans who were stolen, transported to the U.S., and forced into chattel slavery have shapeshifted and recreated themselves over and over as a survival technique, thus becoming perpetually Fresh. As a propagator of art, culture and ideas, Monique Martin brings her passion and experience in community building through the arts to elevate and instigate. An independent creative producer, artist, curator, and marketing consultant, she has partnered with and produced for Joe’s Pub, Disney Theatricals, Apollo Theater, New Victory Theater, Southbank Centre/UK, The MET Museum, The Shed, Park Avenue Armory, NJPAC, Queens Theater in the Park, and HBO. As Programming Director for the River To River Festival, SummerStage, and Harlem Stage, she commissioned artists to create new work while expanding the programming by including international artists, immersive work and contemporary circus. She is an artist and cultural worker creating projects at the intersection of imagination, sovereignty and joy. Her play Cracked was produced by Brava Theater’s new playwright series in San Francisco during the height of the crack epidemic. She has created two highly successful series for Joe’s Pub: Urban Griots and Soul Erotica, where she collaborated with some of New York City’s disruptive artists in spoken word, music, and dance. Her Soul Erotica series has toured nationally and is currently being developed for TV. INSIDE THE PILLOW LAB Monique Martin Minty Fresh Circus RESIDENCY DATES: November 29-December 10 APPEARING IN FILM: Creator and Director Monique Martin Co-Choreographer Adesola Osakalumi Co-Choreographer Traci Bartlow Cirque Kalabanté Artists Yamoussa Bangoura, Yamoussa Soumah, and Alya Ottawa Dance Artists Kashif 'Kash' Gaines, Seana 'Sunami' Howard, Alora Martinez, and Glendale Jones MUSIC: Soul Science Lab; Oscar Brown Jr.; Nina Simone; traditional music from Guinea, West Africa sung and Kora played by Yamoussa Bangoura FILMING Erica Spizz NEL SHELBY PRODUCTIONS Nel Shelby, Producer Loren Robertson, Editor Benjamin Richards, Graphic Animation Sonia Bartolomeo, Project Manager THE 2023-2024 PILLOW LAB RECEIVES LEADERSHIP SUPPORT FROM: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation © 2023 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.

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