Maya Stovall: Liquor Store Theatre, vol. 4, no. 7 (2017). Courtesy the artist and Todd Stovall. Pictured performers include Seycon-Nadia Chea and Mohamed Soumah with the artist.
Cranbrook Art Museum presents Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films by Detroit-based artist Maya Stovall, an innovator who works across the disciplines of dance, theory, anthropology, ethnography, and contemporary art. The museum will feature films from this series of site-specific dance interventions that began in 2014, as well as premiere a new film created in summer 2017 for the exhibition.
In Liquor Store Theatre, Stovall situates her stage in the public parking lots, sidewalks, and streets in front of liquor stores in her McDougall-Hunt neighborhood in Detroit. In an area with few operating storefronts, the liquor stores have become the de-facto centers of commerce, including groceries and electronics, and a place for residents to socialize. The unannounced performances include herself and several dancers that perform a meditative-style of ballet and jazz with the occasional bystander joining in the movement. Beyond the dancer’s bodies, the performance ruptures the stilted choreography of daily life for the people in the neighborhood—a moment of curiosity and spectacle just for them. After each performance, Stovall engages her audience in conversation and documents their personal experiences, musings, and predictions on Detroit’s socioeconomic condition and future. Dance is not the objective, but a conduit for communication and reflection.
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