The Black Beginning is a cabaret directed & curated by LEGACY: A Black Queer Production Collective, in collaboration with Ars Nova 2021 Vision Resident Starr Busby. This show was produced, filmed, and edited by SoMad.

This cabaret premiered with Ars Nova on April 16, 2021. Run Time: 44 minutes

About the Show

XIMONE ROSE (Contributing Artist) (she/her) is a performer/singer-songwriter from New Orleans. She is grateful to this pause in her regularly scheduled programming so she could finally focus on her music... and also religiously play candy crush. Stream her music on all platforms. Instagram: @simonewithanx

ANYA CLARKE (Contributing Artist) (they/them/she) Born and raised in Brooklyn, with roots hailing from Trinidad & Tobago, Anya Clarke-Verdery is a queer choreographer, dance artist and educator. They received their BFA in Dance from Long Island University, where they began their choreographic career, choreographing for the American College Dance Association. Anya has worked with choreographers such as Matthew Rushing, Sidra Bell, Earl Mosley, Clifton Brown and Holly Blakey, among others. Anya won 1st prize for Choreographic Excellence in the 11th International REVERBDance Festival. Described as movement that “moves between lucid and fluid to downright jarring in the most effective way,” Anya’s work has spread nationally at venues such as Brooklyn Museum, Andy Warhol Museum and Gelsey Kirkland Theater, among others. Alongside partner Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery, they were selected as the 2019 Guest Lecturers and Resident Artists at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Art & Drama and 2018 PearlDiving Movement Resident Artists. Anya currently serves on the Junior Board and as guest faculty for Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance. With MICHIYAYA, Anya creates highly physical and visceral choreography that molds with each dance artists’ voice.

THE DRAGON SISTERS (Contributing Artist) (Issa & Odessa) are a multidisciplinary nightlife duo based in Brooklyn. They are equal parts hip hop, pop and classical. Conceived in the dance theater world, the sisters have stormed stages stages across the country at events and venues including Bushwig, The Box, The Paradise Club, The Diamond Horse Show, the Park Avenue Armory, Lady Fag’s Holy Mountain and various Voss Events productions. Their creative collaborations have included projects with Darrel Throne, Spencer Ludwig and Ariana & the Rose. Their work as musicians and creators and performers has been featured in publications including Elle Magazine, Vanity Fair and Billboard.com.

CAIN (ODESSA) COLEMAN (Contributing Artist, The Dragon Sisters) (he/him/his/she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) is an artist, curator and director. They have performed nationally and internationally as a company member with Philadanco, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Company and The Metropolitan Opera. Cain is a founder and co-Artistic Director of Coleman Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the arts through performance, collaboration and education.

ISSA PEREZ (Contributing Artist, The Dragon Sisters) (he/him/his/she/her/hers/they/them/theirs) was most recently featured in the cast of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, and is the co-Artistic Director of ColemanCollective. They spent four years as a company member with Andrea Miller’s Gallim Dance, and have worked with choreographers including Loni Landon, Amy Gardner, Chuck Wilt, Kate Skatpetowska and Damani Pompey. Perez has been featured as a model in campaigns by Adidas, Alexander Wang, Daniel Vosovic’s The Kit and on Billboard.com with rap duo, The Dragon Sisters.

ALEXANDER PARIS (Contributing Artist) (they/them) is a multidisciplinary writer, performer, visual artist and curator based in Brooklyn. The work they create exists typically at the intersection of autofiction and surrealism, with a strong concentration on aesthetics. They are drawn towards world building, deconstructed narratives, high camp, futurism, meta theatrics and nostalgia. They are currently in The Lark’s Beyond the Binary Writers Group. In 2019 they had artistic fellowships with the Performance Project at University Settlement and Clubbed Thumb. Most recently, in December 2020, they curated La MaMa’s Squirts: Generations of Queer Performance online, where they put a queer intergenerational group of 20 artists to the task of presenting video performances that were personal reflections in response to the pandemic. For more: @parishiltonals on Instagram. For scripts or booking inquiries: [email protected]

ASHTON MUNIZ (LEGACY Co-Founder) (they/he) is a queer actor, performance artist, filmmaker and producer based in New York. Ashton’s goal through artistic work is to continue to instill joy into the world by embracing the realities of the present. Ashton has recently been seen in/collaborated on works around the globe at venues such as The Guggenheim, Centre National de la Danse, New York Theatre Workshop, The Art Institute of Chicago, St. Ann’s Warehouse, New Museum, The Park Ave Armory and more. Ashton attended actor/artist training programs at Ithaca College & Moscow Arts Theatre School, Hillman Grad Acting Mentee. @arshton

BASIT SHITTU (LEGACY Co-Founder) (they/them) is a non-binary Black Nigerian Brooklyn-based performance artist, singer/ songwriter, musician and actor. Basit earned their BFA in musical theater from the University of Oklahoma, and some of their professional theatrical credits include Sam in PILLOWTALK Off-Broadway and Tribe in the European Tour of Hair! The Musical. Basit made their television debut in MTV’s first queer dating show Are You The One. In the fall of 2020, Basit released their debut single Fluid, a personal ode, love letter and celebration of the fluidity in gender and sexuality. @basitcom

GARRETT ALLEN (LEGACY Co-Founder) (they/them) is a Black, queer interdisciplinary artist and director working primarily in performance, video and installation. They create pieces that are urgent, emotionally vulnerable, unapologetic and visceral; aiming to combat spectator (and general worldly) passivity by collaboratively creating sensorial and actively-engaging experiences. Their work has been seen at Prelude Festival, Ars Nova ANT Fest, Polyphone Festival, The Invisible Dog, School of Visual Arts NYC, the Knockdown Center and elsewhere. garrett-allen.com

KYLE CARRERO LOPEZ (LEGACY Co-Founder) (he/him) is a writer born to Cuban parents in New Jersey. He is the author of the chapbook MUSCLE MEMORY, winner of the 2021 [PANK] Books Contest. His poems are published or forthcoming in POETRY, The Nation, TriQuarterly, The BreakBeat Poets Volume IV: LatiNext (Haymarket Books, 2020) and elsewhere, including highlights of his writing in The Atlantic and W Magazine. He holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU. kylecarrerolopez.com

ALEX B (Audio Engineer) (they/them) is a musician, music producer and engineer. As a musician, they’ve been featured locally (Cafe Wha, Pianos, B.B. Kings), regionally at SXSW and internationally at the Royal Albert Hall. As a producer, they work with emerging artists aiming to define their sound and share their sonic story. Artists they’ve worked with include Basit, Ezra Miller, Jack Mogi and many more. They’re dedicated to empowering black, POC, femme, trans, queer artists and uplifting authentic voices through music. @southernbellestudios

STARR BUSBY (Vision Resident) is an experimental artist who sings, acts, composes, educates and is dedicated to the liberation of All people. You may have seen Starr playing solo shows with their loop station, Francis, or fronting Brooklynbased experimental soul band People’s Champs (peopleschamps.com). Starr has also supported artists such as The Gorillaz, Esperanza Spalding, X Ambassadors, Kimbra and Alice Smith. Selected appearances include: Moby Dick (American Repertory Theatre; Starbuck); Octet (Signature Theatre; Paula – Drama Desk Award Winner); where love lies fallow (The Shed; Nia 1); Apollo Cafe Live: Soul Cypher; #BlackGirlMagic Show (Jack; composer/performer); Mikrokosmos (Steirischer Herbst, Graz and Nottingham Contemporary); The Girl with the Incredible Feeling (Spoleto Festival di Mondi) as well as various concerts. Starr also enjoys working as an arts educator through organizations such as Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project and Long Island University’s Post Theatre Company where they are a member of the voice faculty. She is looking forward to continuing the development of (pray) with nicHi douglas and JJJJJerome Ellis at Ars Nova. Their music is available via Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music.

April 16 — May 16, 2021


LEGACY x SoMad - The Black Beginning

Featuring: Basit, Anya Clarke-Verdery, Ximone Rose, The Dragon Sisters, Alexander Paris