The University of Michigan’s Center for World Performance Studies and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, in collaboration with Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit, will host five prominent artists and scholars from Detroit and Zimbabwe across two separate residencies in 2018-2019, in an exchange project that investigates cross-cultural encounters and cultural organizing for political and social change, particularly in dance and film.
The JIT Exchange was initiated through the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit (ZCCD) with dancer/choreographers Haleem “Stringz” Rasul (Detroit) and Franco “Slomo” Dakha (Harare). The initial exchange began through a ZCCD “call and response” project where both artists collaborated virtually, dancing to the others music. Though the music was foreign - ghetto techno vs. rumba - they each danced in their own regional “jit” style. The uncanny parallel in historical narrative along with similarity of the footwork in the dance styles, led to the collaborative project, the JIT Exchange.
During the first phase of the project, Rasul spent six weeks in Harare, researching Zimbabwe “jit,” or “jiti” as pronounced in Shona, running workshops throughout the country on Detroit jit, and worked collaboratively with Franco Dakha. To bring the project full circle, ZCCD, in partnership with U-M, invited renowned jiti musician Mono Mukundu, along with Dakha, filmmaker Kumbulani Zamuchiya and cultural historian Plot Mhako, to participate in a series of Detroit-based residencies during the 2018-2019 academic year. The first phase of the project will take place from September 10-14, and will focus on the creating a musical synthesis of Detroit jazz and electronic music, with Zimbabwean jiti. During this time, Haleem Rasul will serve as a King•Chavéz•Parks Visiting Professor, participating in panel discussions, class visits and dance workshops. Rasul will also spearhead a collaborative project in which dancers will “jam” with musicians from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, allowing the cultural exchange to expand even further across disciplines. Drawing inspiration from from post-colonial theorist Homi Bhaba’s Third Space, the JIT Exchange allows for artistic exploration in the liminal territory created in cross-cultural encounter, “which gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of meaning and representation.”
JIT Dance Workshop with Haleem “Stringz” Rasul
Monday, September 10, 7:30pm
Haven Hall Posting Wall, 505 S. State Street
This workshop will introduce participants to basic footwork of both Detroit and Zimbabwean Jit / Jiti dance forms. Wear comfortable clothing. RSVP here.
Panel Discussion: Zimbabwe-Detroit Cultural Collaborations and Exchanges
Tuesday, September 11, 6:00pm
East Quad Room 1405, 701 E. University Ave.
Featuring Chido Johnson (ZCCD), Mono Mukundu (guitarist & recording engineer), and Haleem "Stringz" Rasul, and moderated by Stamps School of Art & Design MFA student and ZCCD agent Masimba Hwati, this panel explores the ongoing work of the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit, building bridges between Zimbabwe and Detroit through cross-cultural projects and artist residencies.
Dance Workshop & Dialogue with Haleem "Stringz" Rasul
Wednesday, September 12, 4:30pm
Neutral Zone, 310 E. Washington
King•Chavéz•Parks Visiting Professor Haleem Rasul conducts a JIT workshop and facilitates a discussion about community-building through dance at local Ann Arbor teen center the Neutral Zone.
Exhibit Opening: “I Wish You Were Here: Postcards as Cross Cultural Communication”
Thursday, September 13, 4:30pm
GalleryDAAS | Haven Hall G648, 505 S. State Street
The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies’ GalleryDAAS hosts Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit's postcard project, a collaboration with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Mutare. The exhibit will run September 13 – December 14, 2018, with a break from October 15-25. The fall exhibit for GalleryDAAS has been designed to coincide with the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s exhibit “Beyond Borders: Global Africa.”
JIT Exchange SMTD@UMMA Performance
Thursday, September 13, 7:00pm
University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State
Haleem Rasul (dance / choreography) & Hardcore Detroit
Mono Mukundu (guitar)
E.Reid JIT Coalition (live music / production)
A synthesis of Zimbabwean jiti, Detroit ghetto tech, jit dance, jazz and funk, this performance features dancer/choreographer Haleem “Stringz” Rasul of Detroit with musical support from Zimbabwean guitarist Mono Mukundu and SMTD students and alumni. The uncanny parallel in historical narrative and the similarity in dance styles, researched in depth by Rasul during a 6-week residency in Harare, exemplify the theme of interconnectedness in UMMA’s exhibition Beyond Borders: Global Africa, while the artists’ exchange engages the exhibition’s theme of hybridity and its dialogic approach to African and African diasporic arts.
All events are free and open to the public.
The Jit Exchange is a ZCCD project made possible through John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, presented in collaboration with U-M Center for World Performance Studies and Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. Co-sponsored by the African Studies Center, Institute for Humanities, Residential College, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, with support from the King•Chavéz•Parks Visiting Professors Program and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.