After two years without a way to engage and connect with one another, the Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition is back and will include some history focusing on Black culture, music and movement.
The Potpourri of the Arts celebrates Black performance aesthetics through mediums of music and dance. Through gospel and R&B to African dance traditions, the production captures many aspects making up the Black community.
Dr. Raymond Wise, associate director of the African American Arts Institute and director of the African American Choral Ensemble, said, “One of the unique aspects of African American performance that stems from the African tradition is the performance's collective and interactive nature. The relationship between audience and performer demands that the audience be more than a respectful listener, but an active participant.”
The Potpourri includes three student ensembles, the African American Dance Company, the African American Choral Ensemble and the IU Soul Revue, each contributing their own style and techniques in order to bring the entire show together.
“It will be so invigorating for the ensembles to once again receive the responses from a live audience and create memorable moments and memories together,” Wise said. “This concept is a key part of their educational and artistic experience.”
This year, the Potpourri will be celebrating 50 years of the IU Soul Revue. According to the webpage, since 1971, the IU Soul Revue has been the only collegiate, credit-bearing Black music ensemble in the nation.
Not only does the Potpourri mean a lot to the community it displays, but the show holds special sentiment for those participating in it. Nosadeba Imasuen, member of the African American Dance Company, feels this experience is more than anyone could imagine, and more.
The many directors of the show— the African American Dance Company directed by Baba Stafford C. Berry Jr., African American Choral Ensemble directed by Dr. Raymond Wise and IU Soul Revue directed by James Strong— encourage their performers to do their best, and live in the moment.
“I have learned more of myself,” Imasuen said. “I have learned how I need to better focus and have a sense of my movements. I have learned my strengths and weaknesses from Baba and I learned that I also need to learn to take corrections.”
The 27th annual performance of the Potpourri will be taking place Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. in the IU Auditorium.