Praise House, (25 mins.) commissioned by Alive From Off Center, KTCA, is a collaboration between The Urban Bushwomen and filmmaker Julie Dash.
“Draw or Die” is the divine imperative received by the painter, Hannah, the heroine of Praise House, who is being nurtured by her Grandmother, but controlled by her pragmatic mother. When her Granny spirit shouts this command to Hannah, she closes a celebration of personal visions in a dance piece that is close to visionary in itself.
Praise House was inspired by Minnie Evans a folk artist who heard the angles command her to “Draw or Die!”
Praise House combines elements of theater, dance and music based on the rhythms and rituals of Africa. Julie Dash collaborates with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar,founder and choreographer of Urban Bush Women, to explore the source of creativity and its effect on three generations of African American women. Praise House shows the emotional prison so many people live in, even as it celebrates the persistence of belief and creativity, and the splendid legacies African Americans have preserved against all odds.