Lela Aisha Jones

2016 Pew Fellow

1/5: Lela Aisha Jones, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/5: Lela Aisha Jones, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
3/5: Lela Aisha Jones in Native Portals: Release Mourning Clearing, 2016, presented by Intercultural Journeys. Photo by Aidan Un.
4/5: Lela Aisha Jones in Native Portals: Release Mourning Clearing, 2016, presented by Intercultural Journeys. Photo by Aidan Un.
5/5: 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.


References

Collaborators & Colleagues

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist, and professor Shulamit Ran is the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in the department of music at the University of Chicago.

Through the ongoing Center-funded project re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia, Painted Bride Art Center presents a new work by choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow Reggie Wilson.

Susan Lankin-Watts talks about her family’s rich musical legacy, the importance of her audience’s support, and more.

Grants & Grantees

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble presented a home season program featuring Ukrainian costumes and live music by violinist Vasyl Popadiuk.

Grants & Grantees

Performance art, pop-up storybook design techniques, and a cinematic score will combine in a visual theater work for children and adults devised and performed by Phillips, in collaboration with visual artist Steven Dufala and composer Juan Gabriel Turbay.

Grants & Grantees

From its beginning in 1815 as the nation’s first major urban water supply system to its role today as an environmental education and outreach center, the Fund for the Water Works has been an innovator in clean water and environmental health.

A multidisciplinary theater artist whose practice is rooted in set design, Matt Saunders answers our questions on inspiration, artistic legacy, and more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Linda Shearer has been the Executive Director of Houston’s Project Row Houses since 2009.

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012 by collaborating with contemporary choreographer Mark Morris on an original Center-funded dance piece.

Grants & Grantees

Toshi Makihara is a 2013 Pew Fellow whose performance work effortlessly blends percussion with dance-like body movement.

Bryn Mawr College presents a retrospective of selected dances by Trisha Brown, an internationally known leader of post-modernism and an enduring renegade whose work has rarely been seen in Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

Established in 1963, Pennsylvania Ballet has extended its important Balanchine-based repertoire by presenting new works by a variety of contemporary choreographers.