Lela Aisha Jones

30 Nov 2016


Lela Aisha Jones, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Lela Aisha Jones, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Lela Aisha Jones in Native Portals: Release Mourning Clearing, 2016, presented by Intercultural Journeys. Photo by Aidan Un.

"I am interested in contemporarily archiving culture in our bodies. I am also invested in the body as a place to excavate and conjure translations of lived experience over time."

Lela Aisha Jones (b.1978) is a choreographer and movement performance artist who intertwines personal history, diasporic movement, social commentary, and interdisciplinary methods, drawing from, in her words, "the individual and collective lived experiences of blackness." Jones cites opportunities to work with nationally and internationally renowned artists—including Moustapha Bangoura (Guinea), Sulley Imoro (Ghana), Nia Love (US), Anssumane Silla (Guinea Bissau), and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women (US)—as some of her most influential experiences in the field of dance. Her most recent work is Native Portals: Release Mourning Clearing (2016). Through vignette style presentation, Jones says this work "unravels and reinterprets black diasporic experiences of activism, witnessing, testifying, and restoration to investigate processing continual cycles of trauma." She is a 2015 Leeway Foundation Transformation awardee, an artist in residence at the Community Education Center, an incubated artist at Headlong, and a recipient of a 2013 Dance/USA Philadelphia Rocky Award. Jones is receiving her doctorate in dance from Texas Women's University, and received her MFA in dance from Florida State University.