Fana Fraser, a T&T-born dancer currently residing in New York is the New Waves! 2016 artist-in-residence. As part of the festival, she will be performing the T&T debut of her first original composition, “Rosie” on July 28 and 29 at the NALIS Amphitheatre.
Originally published in the T&T Guardian on July 24, 2016.
Fraser said she’s excited to be performing her own work in Trinidad for the first time and she’s grateful for the opportunity. While here, she will also be giving an artists’ talk with New Waves! Director, Makeda Thomas, titled “Fantastic Fantasies,” and teaching a class at her alma mater, Metamorphosis Dance Company. She is also looking forward to working with former classmate Shivanee Ramlochan and dancer Sonja Dumas, who will be offering feedback and support on her piece.
Fraser said she was inspired to create her own work following the birth of her nephew last year. Fraser said she grew up with a huge extended family and she wanted to be part of that for her nephew. “So I asked how can I be home? And you know, sometimes we have this idea of once you leave, you leave and you can’t come back or if you come back, where do you fit in? And I said I have to be making my own things.”
Fraser said in developing the character of Rosie, she asked a lot of questions. “What are the different things that she’s pulling from to be born or to be made? How does this relate to my life and where is it coming from for me? What is the connection with society, especially Caribbean society and Trinidadian society? Who is this person, what does it mean and what does she want?”
“Rosie” is a dance theatre piece, and Fraser said people can except to follow this character as she navigates a series of unexpected and bizarre events. “It’s a specific story, but hopefully will be accessible to as wide a cross-section of people as possible. I’ve performed the piece a few times and it’s very fantastical in the sense that it’s almost a dream, a daydream. I’m interested in things that might seem a little absurd, that at first glance you might ask what’s actually happening, that the viewer then is wanting to really look in and see what is happening, how does this relate to my life? It’s like a scene from someone’s everyday life, expanded and made even more fantastical or more absurd than everyday life.”
Fraser said storytelling is in her blood, as her father and brother are both journalists and her mother was a language teacher and singer. “Dance and performance continues to be my primary method for sharing stories. I love using my body’s instinct and sensitivity to create movement.”
Fraser began her dance training at Caribbean School of Dancing and is an Honors graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Dance program. She currently lives and works in New York, and has worked with many organizations and companies following her training.
“I think what I have tried to always bring to any project or company or choreographer that I’m working with, is that natural sense of storytelling and of theatre that we have in T&T, the way we tell stories and the voices and the hand movements, just our natural storytelling abilities.”