Will Rawls is a choreographer, writer, and lifelong performer based in Brooklyn, New York. His practice combines dance with other media to investigate the poetics of blackness, ambiguity, and abstraction. His inquiries into bodily experiences and humanity aim to redraw notions of power and form.
Rawls’s performance for the High Line, Uncle Rebus, is a choreographed meditation on Uncle Remus, the fictional narrator of the Southern folklore compilation, Brer Rabbit Tales. Invented by white Southern folklorist and author, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus was a composite identity based on Harris’s account of African-American oral cultures on the plantations where Harris served as an apprentice. Manipulating a large-scale keyboard composed of removable letters, the dancers will spell out a long-form story, destabilizing the fictional dialects of Harris’s imagination, further exploring the limits of linguistic sense and written speech.
Image: Will Rawls, I make me [sic], 2017. TBA Festival. Photo © Maggie Heath