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6-5-1: Gesel Mason

By 651 ARTS on March 02, 2018

Inspired by our 6-5-1 Interview series—six questions, five minutes, one artist—this conversation features Gesel Mason, Artistic Director of Gesel Mason Performance Projects, and visionary/choreographer of No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers.

  1. What’s your morning routine?
    • On a good day it would be to write in my journal, or meditate, or do a 15-minute yoga routine, have some tea, make breakfast and head to work. But usually it’s push snooze when the cell phone alarm goes off, check out news, weather, or social media on my phone for 10 minutes while I “wake up”, curl into child’s pose for 5 minutes, slide out of bed, and grab a banana on the way out the door.
  2. What’s your fondest memory of Brooklyn?
    • I know fondest replies “one” but… 1) Singing “Purple Rain” with complete strangers outside the office of Spike Lee’s production company the evening after Prince’s death. 2) Walking into the backstage of BAM Harvey Theater to perform Ralph Lemon’s “How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?”  3) Staying with friends over the years who have lived in all areas of Brooklyn. They have shown me some great spots. I wish I could remember the names of places. Now I just remember the vibe: a sense of community and camaraderie.
  3. If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?
    • I’m drawn to places and spaces where I can experience the natural beauty of the earth and/or the rich cultural traditions the people. I’m fascinated by stories and histories of indigenous populations and how that is reflected in ancient structures, land, dances, and traditional dress and attire. I also like to be warm. On the bucket list: Bali, Indonesia; Bahia, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Egypt, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana and just about any place on the African continent.
  4. How would you describe your dream/best/ideal collaboration?
    • I love to work with people who can offer different perspectives and expertise around a similar idea. People with whom you can generate and hone ideas, experiment, listen, push, and discard. The dream/best/ideal collaboration is one where there is enough time to focus and play, space to build, imagine and move, and funding and resources to support the artists and/or communities involved.
  5. Can you share a few contemporary Black artists that you’d like to collaborate or partner with?
    • Musicians: Esperanza Spalding, FKA twigs, Pamela Z, Ibeyi, Ledisi, Lisa Harris
      Visual Artists: Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Nick Cave
      Directors/Screenwriters: Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Dee Rees
      Thinkers: Christina Sharpe, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  6. How do you love?
    • I’ll let Rumi speak to this: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Gesel Mason - Photo by Enoch Chan

651 ARTS would like to thank Gesel Mason for answering our questions that give a better glimpse of the artists we present. Check out https://www.geselmason.com/ to keep up with the happenings of Gesel and her company! Stay tuned for more artist interviews. Stay connected with 651 ARTS by following us on Facebook and Twitter or by clicking on the links to the right.

Photo by Enoch Chan

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651 ARTS and MoCADA join forces and announce Depelsha McGruder as new CEO

651 ARTS and MoCADA (the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) announce that the two organizations are joining forces to create a new contemporary arts institution.

6-5-1: Gesel Mason

6-5-1: An interview with Gesel Mason, visionary/choreographer of No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers.

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