NDCWales Presents Plethu/Weave: The Branches of Me Short Poetry Dance Film Born out of conversations around our mixed race identities, the Black Lives Matter movement and what this means in relation to us. ‘The Branches of Me’ begins to look at how we find a sense of harmony within a mixed identity in a society that often talks in terms of being ‘White’ or ‘Black’. Choreographer, Dancer: Jodi Ann Nicholson Poet: Connor Allen "Both of our practices separately share similar interests when it comes to exploring identity and in particular mixed race identity. So when we came together... we just bounced off each other had a great open, honest space" Helen Joy interviews Jodi Ann Nicholson and Connor Allen for Get the Chance, a voluntary organisation: a very enthusiastic group of volunteers reviewing the Arts. Read the whole interview here Jodi Ann Nicholson Jodi Ann Nicholson is a dance artist based in South Wales. Since training at Laban and studying Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design her creative work interrogates the construction of the self and identity. Exploring these ideas through an autobiographical narrative as an adoptee. Movement, embroidery and textile installations give structure to her ongoing interrogation of the question: what makes up our identity? More recent work has led Jodi into deeper explorations between text/language and dance, linking this work into her ongoing enquiries as an artist. Jodi has become fascinated with the rhythmical structures in the two disciplines, exploring the relationship between the two. Connor Allen Since graduating from Trinity Saint David as an Actor, Connor Allen has worked with companies such as The Torch Theatre, Sherman Theatre, Tin Shed Theatre and National Theatre Wales. He is a member of National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and was also the winner of Triforces Cardiff MonologueSlam, representing Wales at the London winner’s edition. As a writer he has written for Dirty Protest, Sherman and BBC Wales. He’s had an ACW funded debut play and a Literature Wales commission. He’s also part of the BBC Wales Welsh Voices 19/20 and The Welsh Royal Court Writers Group. The Branches of Me Another black life gone As the world watched on From the screens of their camera phone A black man lay face down on the concrete all alone. He screamed I can’t breathe As time began to freeze His neck under a knee Squeezing away all his potential possibilities and future opportunities But what does that moment mean for me, I mean look at me, Like really LOOK at me What do you see? Do you see my complexion? My ethnicity? Do you see the generations of my family tree Who have faced adversity and slavery And people chanting the word monkey. Like crisp brown leaves blowing in an autumn breeze Their narrative, Their culture written in the ripples of the seven sea’s. Do you see the history that has come before me From the salty sands of Jamaica all the way to rainy Wales My story of colour is made from the finer details. Its in the traditional Jamaican dish of ackee and salt fish Its in the lush green landscape of wales Where if all else fails, a cwtch prevails. My complexion may be the first thing you see but it doesn’t define me. It’s part of the intertwined branches of my family tree At times I feel insane, walking around with all this pain Having to explain my heritage over and over again See, black has different shades to it Black has different layers to it Black has a unique history behind it And Black is part of my inner conflict But I will not quit, or submit Not until the world commits To seeing the beauty black has in it. The beauty that we bring to it.