FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCT. 16, 2023
THE ROTUNDA CELEBRATES AUTUMN WITH 2 FREE COMMUNITY ARTS EVENTS
Aztec Nonprofit Organization Commemorates Day of the Dead Nov. 1
Poet-Tree En Motion Hosts Community Arts Showcase Nov. 8
WEST PHILADELPHIA – Poet-tree En Motion’s free seasonal arts showcase returns with “Honoring the Ancestors: the Fall Harvest Rhythm and Flow Festivities” from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at The Rotunda. It will celebrate the season and honor those who have passed on.
The event is open to the public and attendees can enjoy an array of multidisciplinary artists from around the region who will perform live music, spoken-word poetry, hip-hop, ritual dance theater, mindful moving meditations, fire and flow arts, reiki sound healing, and more.
Highlighting the event will be a traditional dance performance by Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac (OYC). Based out of South Philly, the group considers itself to be “modern keepers of the culture investigating indigenous history and the retention of cultural heritage in the context of modern immigration.” OYC was the first Danza Azteca troupe in Philadelphia, and over the past 20 years, it has sponsored master dancers, musicians, and instrument/regalia makers, bringing them to Philadelphia for events and workshops as well as humanities talks.
OYC is also hosting an event at The Rotunda to celebrate its 20-year anniversary and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 6-9 p.m. In addition to a dance performance, there will be a showing of the video documentary “¿Y Nosotr@s que? What about us?” that deals with how the pandemic hit Philadelphia’s thousands of undocumented immigrants -- mostly descendants from the Indigenous people of the American continent.
There will also be a the theatrical piece titled “Camine, camine, camine pero nunca llege… (Walk, walk, walk but never arrive…),” which explores the immigration experience of crossing the border as well as cultural identity and traditions.
During the Nov. 1 event, the group will erect an altar to honor the ancestors and those who have passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic. The altar will be located in front of The Rotunda and will stay up until after the Poet-tree En Motion event completes on Nov. 8. In effect, it will be a weeklong Day of the Dead celebration from Nov. 1-8 when anyone may stop by the altar at any time to pay homage to their ancestors. People may reflect on their loved ones, light a candle or leave a trinket or offering to the dead.
The Rotunda events are supported by grants from the University of Pennsylvania. Admission is free. Tips for the artists are welcome and encouraged. Masks must be worn when inside the venue.
For information about Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac, log on to https://ollinyoliztlicalmecac.org/.
ABOUT POET-TREE EN MOTION:
Poet-tree En Motion works to inspire both artist and audience to connect and work together toward cultivating the arts community in Philadelphia, welcoming artists of all kinds to experience performances local to the neighborhood, and offering the opportunity at each show for community participation to sign up in the all-genre open mike/stage and jam session component of the events.
Gabrielle de Burke (artist Plum Dragoness)
Founder/Event Organizer Poet-tree En Motion
Director of The Rotunda
Brujo de la Mancha
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac representative
FOR EVENT LISTINGS:
Poet-tree En Motion’s Free Seasonal Arts Showcase “Honoring the Ancestors: the Fall Harvest Rhythm and Flow Festivities” is from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at The Rotunda located at 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104. The event will feature live music, spoken-word poetry, hip-hop, ritual theater, mindful moving meditations, fire and flow arts, reiki sound healing, Aztec dance, and more. Masks must be worn when inside the venue. Check in is required for contact tracing. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.facebook.com/groups/116980678334215 and www.therotunda.org, or call The Rotunda at 267-934-3705.
Aztec nonprofit organization Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac Hosts a Free 20-Year Anniversary Celebration and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Event from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at The Rotunda. There will be live Aztec dancing; a showing of the documentary “¿Y Nosotr@s que? What about us?”; a theatrical performance titled “Camine, camine, camine pero nunca llege… (Walk, walk, walk but never arrive…)” ; and the erection of a Day of the Dead altar honoring those who have passed from the COVID-19 pandemic. The altar will stay up and be open to the public from Nov. 1-8. The Rotunda located at 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104. For information, log on to https://ollinyoliztlicalmecac.org/ or email email@example.com.
OLLIN YOLIZTLI CALMECAC
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac (OYC) is an educational organization whose mission is to raise awareness about the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of this continent, and in particular the Mexicayotl tradition and teachings, which flourished in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Meaning “School of Blood Moving in the Heart” in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac is a dance and cultural troupe based in the heart of South Philadelphia.
A visually captivating portrait of the group told through their own voices, the documentary “Aztec Dance in Philadelphia” raises questions about indigenous history and the retention of cultural heritage in the context of modern immigration.
“We consider it a school because we are learning about the culture we have lost,” says one of the group’s members. The dancers of Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac bring their audiences a pre-Columbian heritage with roots in central Mexico. Kept alive by modern keepers of the culture like those in this trilingual Spanish/English/Nahuatl documentary, Aztec dance has followed the paths of contemporary Mexican immigrants into the United States. That migration has brought Aztec culture to Philadelphia. Aztec Dance in Philadelphia is an engaging resource for educators teaching modern immigration and a colorful testament to the resilience of indigenous cultures.
Native to West Philadelphia, Plum Dragoness (a.k.a. Gabrielle de Burke) is a multitalented thespian, dancer, martial artist, instructor, poetess, and writer who has been involved with performing arts since childhood. She is known for her poetic style, vocal performance, fire dance, flow arts, and choreographic flair throughout Philadelphia and abroad.
Over the past 17 years, she has toured as a solo artist, founding member/core performer/assistant artistic director of Archedream for HumanKind among many others. She has independently released two albums of original work with the project Plum Dragoness & the Elements, known for its fusion of multimedia, live world-beat musical infusions, spoken-word vocals, and lyrical poetry. She has also helped bring together the all-female performance group trio The Femme-Mynistiques, who released their debut EP “Here She Comes…” in the summer of 2016.
Since 2007, Plum Dragoness has been a resident performance artist, as well as host and organizer for the successful performing arts series Poet-tree En Motion. This has allowed her the opportunity to share her own creative performances (including collaborative projects she initiated) and work created by many unique artists within the West Philadelphia community and beyond.
Her work as a healing arts practitioner and instructor continues to intersect with her work as an interdisciplinary performance artist through the incorporation of internal and martial arts forms in combination with dance, poetry, and theater presentation. She has been teaching in the Philadelphia area and abroad since 2000.
KillerWhale, standing at an impressive 6-foot 4-inches and weighing in at 280 pounds, is not only a commanding presence but also a musical force to be reckoned with. Notably, he's the brother of Grammy-winning recording artist Macy Gray, and his music is a futuristic fusion that defies easy categorization. Describing his sound as if Rick James had time-traveled into the future aboard a pimped-out Millennium Falcon on a mission to spread electro-funk throughout the galaxy, KillerWhale's music is a high-energy journey through uncharted musical territories.
With production by hip-hop producer J.Fish, known for his work with artists like Mac Miller and Tayyib Ali, KillerWhale has coined his style as "Ghetto-electro-pop." This genre-blending sound draws inspiration from a diverse array of musical influences, including indie-pop electro, synth-pop, funk, new wave, and punk. KillerWhale's music palette is as diverse as his influences. From hip-hop to soul, heavy metal to mainstream pop, he incorporates elements from across the musical spectrum into his work. This unique fusion not only makes his music accessible to mainstream listeners but also provides an exciting and eclectic experience for those with discerning ears.
In a music landscape where genre boundaries are constantly shifting, KillerWhale's innovative approach and family ties to musical greatness set him on a trajectory to make waves in the industry. Keep an ear out for this boundary-pushing artist as he continues to evolve and redefine the sound of tomorrow.
CLOUD / RICH DONAHUE
Cloud is a pagan rapper and spoken-word poet from the Southern New Jersey/ Philadelphia Area. He has been a practicing witch for over 20 years, He is head of The Circle of the Nine Muses coven located in South Jersey. His music was designed to push boundaries within the pagan music genre by bringing a mainstream feel, his love for hip-hop and love of his craft have combined to create a unique brand of pagan hip-hop with lessons about witchcraft, combatting misconceptions, and raising awareness taking the forefront. He loves music of all different forms, plays multiple instruments and sings.... a little bit.
His first album “Misconceptions” released in March 2020, has been nominated for a 2020 Witchie Award by The Witches Sabbat for Most Outstanding Album of the Year, and was awarded the 2020 Order of the Silver Chalice award from the Correllian Tradition of Wicca.
His second album, “Modern Bard,” is a conceptual mix of hip-hop and spoken-word poetry that tells the tale of struggles with ego, depression, and addiction.
A member of the International Pagan Music Awards Association he has been nominated for male artist of the year for the last three years running.
Philly-based percussionist extraordinaire and drummer brings the soul-full ancestral beatz and rhythms. She also spearheads M.O.M. (Music Over Matter).
STOOP KID STUDIOS FIRE PERFORMERS: REESE CRAWLEY, KATERINA AND ALICIA TALIA
REESE CRAWLEY / TREBLEMAKUR
Reese Crawley is a fire and flow arts performer and founder of Stoop Kid Studios. He will lead the trio presenting for this event, bringing passion through the talent that he has been honing over years as a multidisciplinary artist. Behold their stunning visual display and showmanship when they present “the Fire that Feeds My Soul” in service of the healing power of fire and self-expression.
Reese has been manipulating fire for over a decade now. The flames whisper to him as he embellishes them in order to make each performance unique. Whether it be flaming balls, sticks, swords or others, each prop takes on the patience and passion that is his craft. Reese looks forward to bringing the same skills that have brought shock and awe to the faces of thousands back to the steps of The Rotunda.
Stoop Kid Studios LLC is available for services ranging from photography and videography to fire and flow arts performances for special events and more.
Katerina is a fire and LED performer based out of the Philadelphia area. She is coming up on a decade’s worth of participating in this wonderful craft and loves that it still ignites a passion for the community surrounding it. She has gotten to gain many friends and unique experiences from this art, and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
ALICIA TALIA / NINJA WITCH
Introducing Ninja Witch, a captivating fire dancer with a remarkable skill set that includes katanas, rope darts, sickles and folding fans. She brings her enchanting performing to The Rotunda fire circle for Poet-tree En Motion, where her confidence and fearlessness shine through. Ninja Witch is known for igniting inspiration and captivating audiences with her thrilling shows. Be sure not to miss the chance to witness her fiery magic at our event!