Art & Culture, Lifestyle, Featured

Locals Reflect on Virgin Island Artist Paloma McGregor

by J’nise Gifft

Dancing While Black is just that, all that, up in that (what of that?), a fracture, an intersection, a mending, a void stolen and borrowed and originated and born again and again and again; resurrected, laughing at its own coincidence; ugly and profound, everyday and magicelectric; Dancing While Black is… has been… and always will.– Paloma McGregor (May 2012)

Born in Saint Croix, USVI, New York-based choreographer Paloma McGregor is known for her award-winning performances. Paloma McGregor’s artistic pieces center around black voices through project collaborations. 

Besides her choreographic work, Paloma houses several creative and engaging community workshops around the world. McGregor toured with the elite Urban Bush Women for six years and then the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange for two years. A former journalist, Paloma McGregor is the co-founder/artistic director of Angela’s Pulse and founder of Dancing While Black.

In collaboration with her sister Patricia McGregor, also cofounder, Angela’s Pulse is named after their mother who continuously inspires their creative work. Her projects look creative and well-balanced” said Jean F.

Paloma McGregor performs an iteration of Building A Better Fishtrap as part of Dancing While Black . (Photo by Shani Jamila).

For the past decade Paloma has been working on an iterative performance project, Building a Better Fishtrap.

She said,”The project is rooted in my reclamation of my 93-year-old father’s vanishing fishing tradition.”

She further explains, that the art movement  explores “questions that emerged for me more than two decades after leaving St. Croix, my ancestral home: What do you take with you? Leave behind? Return to reclaim? The project is rooted in my reclamation of my 93-year-old father’s vanishing fishing tradition.”

“…through collaborative process and performance-making, I have been working to figure out the connections between my father’s practice of building fish traps – so rooted in culture and function – and my art, my organizing, my being.”

I have been working to figure out the connections between my father’s practice of building fish traps – so rooted in culture and function – and my art, my organizing, my being.”

After asking locals in the United States Virgin Islands to watch clips of Paloma’s pieces on YouTube, they all agreed that her choreographic work is captivating and passionate.

85 percent of the locals that watched clips of McGregor’s work believed the over messages reflected positivity and helped to begin dialogue. One person interviewed felt that Paloma’s work art is perhaps aimed for those who have greater appreciation of artistic techniques.  Danise C. said, “McGregor’s choreography is moving and truly inspiring.” 

Paloma McGregor creates unique art for people any age, race, and ethnicity to experience. Although 60 percent of the locals UVI VOICE 2.0 interviewed indicated that they had little interest in performing arts, they understood and were inspired by the story line behind Paloma’s projects.

To fully support our fellow Virgin Islander, attend upcoming events and view Paloma McGregor’s work, you can visit http://angelaspulse.org/

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1 Comment

  1. Sonita Willioms says:

    Nice overview. Good work J’Nise.

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