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Voices of Women

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Clarice Assad Headshot.jpg
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Preeti Vasudevan, Clarice Assad, and Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke)

Voices of Women is a multimedia immersive theater project envisioned by two cultural storytellers: choreographer and producer Preeti Vasudevan and composer Clarice Assad, in close collaboration with Nina Sanders, Apsáalooke (Crow) curator and storyteller. The project is curated and created by Vasudevan, Assad, and Sanders to bring together the collective voices and experiences of women who identify themselves as Americans, casting a fresh light on the definition of this country through the lens of female experience. Voices of Women brings personal female stories to life affirming individual and collective identity by forming a synthesis between their ancestral roots and their contemporary voices as creative women in today's America.

Voices of Women reflects the connection of women with their land through the unexpected journeys taken either by choice or force, changing their narratives through adversity and sharing expressions of resilience and hope. The process and final production will reflect the experiences of women as ever-evolving to allow for present and future realities. Women’s stories reflect a universal quality while also bringing unique and unheard female experiences to light through movement, music, performance, art, and digital media.​

 

By weaving a tapestry of women’s stories on the foundation of one of the most powerful Indigenous (women’s) stories, Voices of Women transcends time and space integrating truths through history, mythology, environment, and human relations between women who represent a multitude of races and communities of America.

About vow

Image Credits: Sammy Jo Bird, Nina Sanders, Shreya Mehta, and Thresh

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The wisdom shared through women’s stories is brought together through a circle of powerful women creatives, each invited by Vasudevan, Assad, and Sanders. Collaboratively, they forge the road to liberated expression in today's women, revealing tough choices made along the way to seek the truth. Stories are explored from distinct areas that represent women and migration (Indigenous relocation, refugee women, incarcerated women, and female artists). Stories are mapped together to interweave, bringing out shared emotions, grit, and humor inspiring future generations to express their true voices to the community.

 

Voices of Women will also simultaneously develop educational components based on the digitizing and filming of stories narrated by storytellers. Outreach and impact resources will be developed for use with children and adults, in schools and places of learning beyond the traditional context. This will provide a broad audience, including girls, with free online access to engage with Voices of Women.

 

Complete with the range of human emotions and experiences, Voices of Women forms the foundation of an unbroken and often invisible narrative of the lives of women worldwide.

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vow pres options

1. Live Performance:

There will be two shows created:

  • A full-length evening featuring a multimedia theatrical production that presents a tapestry of stories representing the diversity and shared experiences of women and expresses the kaleidoscopic richness of America through their personal journeys. The theatrical production will feature 6 to 8 performers on stage including dancers, actors, and poets alongside multimedia projection and against an original musical score to be performed by a small chamber ensemble (estimated duration: 75 mins)

  • A shortened symphony orchestra version to be performed with a live orchestra, featuring 4 performers with the orchestra and a shorter selection of stories (estimated duration: 20 mins)

2. Art Films:

  • A series of 10-15 minute Art Films will be created, each designed to capture a different story. The first of these Voices of Women dance-theater films will be a contemporary interpretation of an Apsáalooke (Crow) women's story narrated by Nina Sanders with her grandmother Margo Real Bird, in dialogue with the personal stories from Preeti Vasudevan (Choreographer, from India) and Clarice Assad (Composer, from Brazil). Together the three women represent their ancient heritage and express their stories as modern-day 21st-century women from America (estimated duration: 10-15 mins)

3. Documentary Film:

  • A documentary film is proposed for the making of the project revealing the process behind the creation of the project involving and interviewing the various creatives, researchers, educators, and others who bring the final project to life. This film serves for educational and outreach, as well as archival purposes (estimated duration 30-40 mins)

4. Educational Resources/First Voices:

  • Educational resources will also be developed and deployed to utilize the process and final product of Voices of Women for authentic learning (in conjunction with First Voices, the educational initiative supporting Voices of Women)

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Preeti Vasudevan: Choreographer and Producer

Award-winning choreographer and cultural storyteller Preeti Vasudevan's provocative theatrical works redefine individual identity, uniting artists and audiences alike. Her creations have been lauded as a refreshing collision of Eastern and Western aesthetics pushing for a new expression in art-making. Using just about every mode of the performing arts (including dance, music, poetry, visual art, mime, and theater), Preeti invites cutting-edge collaborators to form a 21st-century language of expression. Her unconventional storytelling challenges the status quo of dance-theater, bridging ancient traditions with the contemporary world.

 

More on Preeti.

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Clarice Assad: Composer

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres. The Grammy Award–nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and educator is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. With her talent sought after by artists and organizations worldwide, the polyglot musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off. Clarice Assad’s 2022–2023 season includes commissions by the Camerata Pacifica, Music Accord, the League of American Orchestras, the Oregon Symphony, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

 

More on Clarice.

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Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), Artist

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), is a scholar, curator, editor, and Apsáalooke matriarch. Her work in museums is founded on historic collections of archives, art, belongings, and sacred objects from her community. She concerns herself with building education around these items and their histories through the implementation of Indigenous people and methodologies. Over the years her work has expanded to include the curation of contemporary and historic art and objects. Collaborative exhibitions and publications. She has done work for institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the School for Advanced Research. Nina is grounded by her children, family, animals, and art. She resides in Crow Country at Medicine Tail Coulee with her sons and their Blue Heeler.

 

More on Nina.

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Mary Serbe, Arts Educator

Mary Serbe is a certified art educator with an MAT from the Art Institute of Chicago who has taught in schools, museums, and arts organizations with students from preschool age to adulthood. For four years, she was Education Director at the Yellowstone Art Museum, overseeing all aspects of education and learning including partnerships, classes, tours, docents, a dedicated gallery for art of young people, and all online learning and engagement. Currently, she is the curator and co-proprietor of Kirks’ Grocery, an alternative art gallery, performance venue, and gathering space where she also teaches and manages educational programming. At Montana State University Billings, Mary teaches Fundamentals of 2D Design. Mary Serbe has had the privilege of being part of the Advisory Board for the First Voices project since 2020. She currently serves in that capacity in addition to writing grants and developing educational resources for First Voices.

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