"Rhythmning" & Improvising History

Germaine Ingram



Artists improvise to a Wesley Hymn performed by Ellen Gerdes and Dave Burrell during Germaine Ingram's Where Heaven’s Dew Divides, a project that grew out of her Discovery Grant. Photo Nathea Lee.

Germaine Ingram, a tap dancer, choreographer, and a 2010 Pew Fellow in the Arts, collaborated with improvisational dancer and choreographer Leah Stein in a year-long laboratory to examine how dance can explore rhythm and improvisation practices as it also addresses historical, social, and political themes. Previously, Ingram developed The Spirits Break to Freedom, a performance that explored the history of slavery at Philadelphia's President's House. That project pushed her to look beyond tap for new tools of expression. Ingram and Stein worked with other artists and dance professionals interested in researching and experimenting with new methods for conveying history and social issues through movement, including Ananya Chatterjea, executive director of Ananya Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, and Peter DiMuro, former producing artistic director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.