Centering on micro-aggression and intergenerational trauma in refugee experience, “OtherWise” is a deep embodied exploration of how movement and sound provide tools for investigating the embodiment of ethical questions relating to social responsibility, cultural competence, and ethics of care. This project is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council 2020 Choreographic Fellowship.

This work is a collaboration between first-generation artists singer/song-writer Alec Hutson, violinist Daniel Kurganov, and myself; inspired by our shared experiences growing up as bilingual artists in refugee families in the United States. Drawing on themes of relating and othering, the work investigates and responds to Soviet-era bard songs of oppression and hope, including the poetry of Bulat Okudzhava and Vladimir Vysotsky.

Through our work together, we have found that the process of collaborating across the genres of music and dance enables critical investigation of ethics such as trust, empathy, and care through physical embodiment. We see this project as more than simply “translating” our experience through performing arts -- it is an opportunity to process, reflect, and share together within and beyond our community.

Our process invites the voices of community members to share their experience living within oppressive regimes. With the support of community partners, including the Jewish Arts Collaborative, Boston's Temple Israel, and Boston's Russian-Jewish Moishe House, we will offer opportunities for the public to engage through open rehearsals, immersive workshops, and informal showings. We acknowledge the risks in taking on this subject matter, in the ways it can be triggering and exclusionary. By making our creative process open to the public, we hope to encourage vulnerability, courage, and community healing.

© 2020 Ilya Vidrin