MEIDA TERESA MCNEAL
Meida Teresa McNeal is an Independent Artist and Scholar of performance studies, dance and critical ethnography. Currently, she is Manager of Performance Arts Learning with Changing Worlds. an educational arts organization, and part time faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago and Governors State University. Her creative works have been performed in Illinois, Ohio, California and Trinidad. In addition to the Sweet Goddess Project, recent performance projects include The Ladies Ring Shout about the life experiences of women of color. Along with Abra Johnson, she is co-curator for To Art & Profit, a citywide performance festival first presented by Links Hall, March-May 2011 exploring the relationship between art, culture and capitalism.
DURING THE CDF YEAR
Meida Teresa McNeal is a choreographer, ethnographer and performance scholar who uses the medium of dance to tell stories about communities. Her CDF project, The Sweet Goddess Project, explored the movement principles and aesthetic ideas of Chicago house music and dance culture through the experiences of women of color. The Sweet Goddess Project placed women squarely at the forefront of this often male dominated form, embracing the presence of femininity, community, sensuality, pleasure and empowerment as integrated components of Chicago house culture.
The Sweet Goddess Project premiered October, 2011 at Experimental Station.
She is also co-creator of ARISE, an arts/culture/education program that uses art as a therapeutic strategy encouraging young women to express, examine and articulate the social pressures impacting their lives. Combining her commitment to embodied performance with a love for scholarship, Meida is currently completing her first book-length manuscript "Comprised Subjectives: Constructing Trinidadian Nationhood and Navigating Postcolonial Caribbean Performance" based on over ten years of ethnographic research with Afro- and Indo-Trinidadian dance and performance companies supported in part by a Fulbright Grant.
McNeal also serves as Artistic Director of Honey Pot Performance, a woman-centered multidisciplinary Afro-diasporic performance collective committed to chronicling feminist and fringe subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. Inspired by performance studies, black feminist discourse and sociology, HPP enlists modes of creative expressivity to examine the nuances of human relationships including the ways we negotiate identity, belonging and difference in our lives and cultural memberships. Dismantling the vestiges of oppressive social relationships is part of the work. Through dance, theatre, and other performative modes we emphasize everyday ways of valuing the human.