Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Danielle Hall: when the poet, dancer, and historian are one

Danielle Hall reciting poetry in the Underground Reading Room on Oct. 14, 2010.

I first met Danielle Hall on October 14, 2010. I have that date marked in my calendar because one of my students and I coordinated an event that day. Danielle showed up to one of our public events, and someone informed me that Danielle was a poet.

I asked her to read some of her work. She did.

In some ways, she was a link to my own college days. Poetry was one the preferred modes of artistic and political expression among the conscious circles to which I belonged. You read Malcolm, bell hooks, and others. You talked about histories of struggle. And you wrote and read poems. So hearing Danielle read that day other and on other occasions took me back.

Cindy Reed and Danielle Hall preparing Black Studies exhibit in September 2012.

Over the years, Danielle became one of my most trusted, important collaborators and fellow travelers. She coordinated events. She read Malcolm, bell hooks, and others. She talked histories of struggle and dance. And she wrote and performed poems.

As I’m working on this Creativity @ SIUE project this semester focusing on current students, I’ll also take some time to reflect on past students like Danielle, Dometi Pongo, and others, who inspired me to think about originality, creative productivity, and other topics.

What does it mean for how we think about creativity, I sometimes wonder, that Danielle Hall is comfortable performing on a stage and working in special collections and museums? What are the relationships, her experiences prompt us to consider, between artistic and archival spaces? To what extent can the poet, dancer and dance scholar, and historian be one?

Creativity @ SIUE
Danielle Hall

No comments: