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flooding is what they call it

Tyler Rai


Categories: Dance, Music

Dates: September 28, 2023 - September 30, 2023

Run Time: 50 mins

Venue: Fidget Space


“You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. ‘Floods’ is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, that valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory–what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our ‘flooding.'” -Toni Morrison

“flooding is what they call it” is an experimental dance work that investigates flooding as memory. As political climates perpetuate further constriction and control, this ensemble seeks out that which cannot be contained – rushes of memory, outpourings of sensory joy, cascades of collective action, swells of remembered songs. They become thin-skinned and porous. Space is reconfigured into a floodplain as dancers quake, ripple, and sway in the undertow of a sonically immersive ecology of static, signals, and songs. The piece asks, “If flooding is a river’s form of remembering, what can we remember, collectively, through our flooding bodies?”

Directed by Tyler Rai and made in collaboration with the performers: Maghan Baptiste, Sophia Dunn-Fox, José Alejandro Rivera, Tatyana Tenenbaum, and marion spencer. The piece premieres at Fidget in Philadelphia on Thursday, September 28 at 6:30pm with additional performances on Friday, September 29 at 5pm and Saturday, September 30 at 2pm.

The development of this work was made possible by grants from the Northampton Arts Council, South Hadley Cultural Council, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the generous support of many individuals.

Cannonball, produced by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, is the first and largest independent festival hub of the Philadelphia Fringe that presents risk-taking independent artists in back-to-back performances next to delicious lounge spaces, fostering creative collisions and community conversation.

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About the Artist

Maghan Baptiste is a poet with a natural inclination towards dance/movement, cooking & making art in various forms that keep her creative practice on fire. She lives and loves in Western Massachusetts. Find her work at

Sophia Dunn-Fox is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has had a continuous movement education from an early age. They toured twice to the west coast with the Inner Sun Eurythmy Initiative youth ensemble. She began focusing on Contact Improvisation intensively in 2018, and has an interest in bridging the body knowledge found in dance with data science.

Tyler Rai is a dance artist, writer, ritualist, and producer who works across live performance, narrative essays, and experimental sound works. Her works investigate biological and cultural inheritances and ecological change. Her work has been presented at Governors Island, Judson Church, SPACE Gallery, and The School for Contemporary Dance & Thought.

José Alejandro Rivera (aka Proxemia) is an artist, designer, land tender and composer that often works with sound and space across installation, performance, and experimental audio works. Their densely layered, placed-based practice is influenced by maps, architecture, and expanded states of consciousness. José’s current investigations utilize Radio Space to explore associations between neurodivergence, queerness, diasporic identity, and decolonization.

marion spencer is a dance & interdisciplinary artist living in Lenapehoking/Brooklyn. Her work creates poetic ecosystems within which to wonder, feel & dream, excavating the personal, the systemic, the unknown, the wild, the radical, the cellular, the beautiful. marion’s work has been presented by Roulette Intermedium, CPR, New Dance Alliance, The Chocolate Factory Theater, among others. She is a 2023 Bessie Awards Nominee for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer. http://


  • Sophia Dunn-Foxperformer
  • Maghan Baptisteperformer
  • José Alejandro Riverasound design / performer
  • marion spencerperformer
  • Tyler Raichoreographer / performer

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