Kyle Marshall is a choreographer, performer and teaching artist. He recently received the 2020 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award and a NY “Bessie” Award nomination for the production “Colored”. His dance company, Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC) sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. Since inception in 2014, KMC has performed at venues including: BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joe’s Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, NYC Summerstage, and Roulette. He has also received commissions from “Dance on the Lawn” Montclair’s Dance Festival and Harlem Stage. Marshall has been in residence at the 92nd st Y, CPR, Jamaica Performing Arts Center and currently is a Resident Performance Artist at MANA Contemporary. As a teacher, Marshall conducts dance masterclasses and creative workshops at schools including; American Dance Festival, Montclair State University, Ailey/Fordham, County Prep High School and Bloomfield College. Kyle is a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company. He also danced with doug elkins choreography etc., and Tiffany Mills Company. Kyle graduated from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and resides in Jersey City.
In this solo dance work-in-progress, choreographer and dancer Kyle Marshall states “as a member of the diaspora, I have often felt distant from my maternal homeland, Jamaica. I and I is an exploration of my Jamaican body. This process has directed me towards my family’s migration story, Caribbean dance, and historical research, and uncovering the global cultural impact of this mighty Caribbean island.”
Born into a family of runners, motion is at the core of Marshall’s being. At times, this process is biographic and heartfelt as he works to undo shame he has felt about his sexuality, dance to music of his childhood, or ask his mother for traditional recipes to try. At other times, Marshall is embodying ideas rooted in collective memory and Jamaican pop culture which step beyond his personal narrative. Marshall shares, “as someone who grew up in a Jamaican-American household, and visited the island throughout my childhood, the distance and comfort I feel about cultural traditions makes me question what an authentic Jamaican experience is. I understand culture to be an embodied experience taught to us by our elders, shaped by our environment, and reinforced by our consumption of media. My bloodline is one of generational migration in search of opportunity and land of our own.” As a member of the diaspora, Marshall is a mix of cultural influences. Shaped by the country in which he resides, linked to his mother’s island and the wild dream of ancestors forced to arrive on the shores of Jamaica from Africa. I and I attempts to bridge these worlds, connecting his body to its origins and beyond.
The title I and I is a Rastafarian term for oneness with God. It is a concept that God is within each of us and therefore we are all connected to each other through this bond. In Jamaican Patois, “I and I” would replace “you and I” or “we”. Like much of the language, “I and I’’ derives from the Twi language of Ghana, translating to “Me ne me.” Bob Marley, a Rastafarian himself, expressed this in another way, “one love, one heart”. That in loving myself as I am, I uplift the spirit within me and am better able to celebrate the spirit within you.