Witches (3:47) United States
Choreographed by: Sylvia Schourek
Performers: Sylvia Schourek, Jeana Collins, Kayla Niva, Allison Mills, Cynthia Drake
Videographers: Kris Niva, Sylvia Schourek
Music: Fleassy Malay, Witches
What dance styles are being fused?
modern, ballet, raqs sharqi, DanceCraft and Datura styles
47 North is a performance group named for the far-north latitude that skims through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, nestled within Ojibwa homelands and ceded territory.
As a fusion dance troupe, we combine movements rooted in Middle Eastern dances that have evolved into forms like DanceCraft and Datura with modern, jazz, hip hop, and ballet. The troupe is co-led by Allison Mills, who stewards the land and mine ruins where we filmed Witches, and Sylvia Schourek, who is the owner and artistic director of the Superior School of Dance, the troupe’s home studio.
Witches is especially powerful to us because it was our first pandemic video project. We filmed in the freezing cold during the heat of the 2020 election, which coincided with Cynthia’s daughter’s cancer diagnosis and Allison’s back surgery. We modified the movement so everyone could participate and deliberately filmed group sections and short solos with each dancer. To us, the mine ruins represent a history that has left scars, yet nothing is static and natural processes continue to transform it. The setting, words, gestures, and gesture modifications are the embodiment of our commitment to make space for wise, compassionate fusion art that welcomes all bodies and honors our individual, group, and cultural lineages.