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Skidmore College

Hip hop to HaMapah

October 7, 2012

Hip hop to HaMapah

October 7, 2012

DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization in residence on campus this month, will present two public events:  

  • Hip Hop: Theatre of Now, an interactive lecture-demo,  at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall.

  • HaMapah/The Map, a multimedia dance journey tracing the intersections of African, American, and Jewish heritages, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, in the Skidmore Dance Theater.

Admission to both is free and open to the public.

Founded in 2006 by Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks, DNAWORKS promotes artistic expression and dialogue, focusing on issues of identity, culture, class and heritage.

In Hip Hop Theatre, Daniel Banks discusses the origins, politics, and aesthetics of the recent wave of hip hop theater in the U.S. and globally, addressing hip hop's origins, its connections to other Afrocentric modes of cultural production, and its future.

HaMapah is encore performance, following its crowd-pleasing presentation at last June's SaratogaArtsFest. In Hebrew, "HaMapah" means the tablecloth or the map. In this exploration of Adam McKinney's heritage, contemporary dance is interwoven with archival material, interviews, Yiddish and American songs, and video set to traditional, contemporary, and classical music. In the piece, directed by Daniel Banks, McKinney addresses issues of identity, ancestry, and family. The program includes a community dialogue with the audience about the core ideas of the piece.

In addition to the public performances, the residency will include visits to theater and dance classes, and a workshop involving theater students. 

The DNAWORKS residency is jointly sponsored by Skidmore's Jacob Perlow Fund, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of the President, the Dance and Theater departments, and the Arts Administration Program.


Adam McKinney, M.A., and Daniel Banks, Ph. D., co-founded DNAWORKS in 2006.

McKinney is a classically trained dancer and former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. He has taught master dance classes in the U.S., Hungary, Indonesia, England, Ghana, South Africa, and Israel, and has organized programs on social justice and the arts with a long list of organizational partners. His recognitions include a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant and a Gallatin School (New York University) Jewish Arts grant for work with Ethiopian communities in Israel, the Bronfman Jewish Artist Fellowship for his genealogical dance work for HaMapah/The Map, and a Career Transition for Dancers grant. He currently chairs the dance department at the New Mexico School for the Arts, Santa Fe.

Banks is a theater director, choreographer, educator, and dialogue facilitator. He has worked throughout the U.S. and abroad, directing at the National Theatre of Uganda, the Belarusian National Drama Theatre, the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Hip Hop Theatre Festival in New York City and Washington, D.C. He is founder and director of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative (a project of DNAWorks) that uses hip hop theatre as a vehicle for youth empowerment and leadership training. An Ariane de Rothschild Fellow, Banks also is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group career development grant for directors.  He has been a frequent guest lecturer and has published on a number of theater-related topics, including cultural diplomacy.

Posted On: 10/7/2012

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