Photo of Baraka de Soleil


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D UNDERBELLY - An Underground Interdisciplinary Network of Artists of Color
Brooklyn, New York


D UNDERBELLY dance and performance artD UNDERBELLY derives its name from the ‘underbelly’ of a slave ship;  excavating the energy that surfaces from the depths of our cultural experiences.

D UNDERBELLY emerged in 1997 in Minneapolis as a performative forum for exploring the multi-layered dimensions of culture as it relates to societal notions of "blackness".   An underground network of independent artists of color invested in interdisciplinary experimentation through the excavation of 'new work' and communal exchange, D UNDERBELLY has allowed me to explore the ever-fluid relationship between music and movement; intimating states of contraction to moments of release as I interweave text, multimedia elements and environmental configurations  to encapsulate the complexities of our diverse nation. I am particularly committed to raising awareness surrounding the legacies of 'African-Americana'; revealing the hidden truths that are imbedded in the societal conscience.   Thusly, in my continued artistic endeavors, I wish to honor my ancestral heritage, with D UNDERBELLY acting as a catalyst for shifting perceptions; demystifying racism and recognizing the underlying contributions Africans have made to this new world culture.  

While in Minnesota, I was able to germinate seeds of projects, some of which came to fruition:

  • Basking in Negritude
  • Revolutionary Acts
  • Non Je Regrette Rien

Other projects continue to grow and develop/premiere as I made the transition to fully relocate to New York in 2003:

In Brooklyn, NY, I have been blessed to find a community of people who embrace the vision of D UNDERBELLY.   At the core of this network currently lies four artists:

Additionally, Christal N. Brown, Chanon Judson and a rotating group of artists, artists-educators and community people act as advisory to each particular project.

2007 marked the TENTH anniversary for D UNDERBELLY; having premiered nine experimental works over the course of the decade, currently developing three projects to premiere by 2009, and continually informed by this notion of liquid legacies:

  • the passing on of traditions through the body
  • the passing down of ancestral memories
  • the body becomes the container for this information
  • the body fills with the pain of slavery, the passion of love,
  • the struggles of the human spirit, the labor of identity
  • this passing on is liquid, thick, porous,
  • moving into the core of our muscles
  • utterly still and yet cascading over our hearts into the depths of our being
  • resounding in our inner ear made vocal through outer words
  • igniting our souls with legacies we know
  • legacies we don't want to know
  • legacies we take on

D UNDERBELLY is an urban rite of RE-remembering:

a rite of embodying the dignity of a people
the memory of a nation
like song it propels us  into states of ecstasy and fear
empowering us to truly bask
in the multiplicity of colors, emotions and
that have permeated our culture
these legacies are liquid because they continue
to flow through us
around us
up and down our spine
titillating our minds with thoughts of

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Baraka de Soleil Photo: Geoff Albores  
Julie Coleman, Minnesota Proofreader
Pottery Barn

Baraka de Soleil's name is sometimes misspelled as Baraka de Soil, Baraka de Soilel, de Soile, de Soiliel, de Soilel, de Soilil.
Also misspelled as Baraka deSoil, Baraka deSoilel, deSoile, deSoiliel, deSoilel, or de Soilil.
The dance company is sometimes misspelled as De Underbelly, or Dee Underbelly, or D Nderbelly.