Annie Hollingsworth is a visual artist, dancer, choreographer, and writer who says she is a Brooklyn girl at heart — but she belongs to Miami now. According to Hollingsworth, her visual work “traces the fundamental dynamics underneath mundane experience.” She follows a kind of ritualistic process and moves between realities, which must be why Hollingsworth is able to live an anything-but-mundane life in Miami.
After graduating from Brown, Hollingsworth moved to New York City, where she became a student of Haitian folkloric dance, based on ritual movement and storytelling. She continued her studies under Mikerline Pierre, a dancer trained at Haiti’s prestigious Enarts dance school, and performed with Mikerline Dance Troupe for three years. Hollingsworth says that since she’s been in Miami her “dance work is moving towards something that would best be described as performance, or even installation.”
In 2010 Hollingsworth choreographed a piece based on Gede (the spirits of the dead), in which the vodou spirits that embody the powers of death and fertility are celebrated. Hollingsworth loves this tradition so much that she says she’ll “dance in just about any performance in the Afro-Cuban or Afro-Haitian tradition.” It’s a small community, and one in which Hollingsworth has found a second home.
Last year Hollingsworth won the Artlurker Writer’s Prize, which was made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and has since written for Artlurker.com, NO MAD Magazine, and, most recently, Art Papers. She has produced international art exhibitions, large-scale commissions, and exhibition catalogues. Oh, and, Hollingsworth is also the assistant director at the Dorsch Gallery.
1. List five things that inspire you.
- Dancing for the orishas
- Nice beats
- Maya Deren
- Haitian Kreyol
- The possibility of travel
2. What was your last big project?
After winning the Artlurker prize last summer, I was given the challenge of writing eight articles in eight weeks. I got a crash course not only in the Miami art scene but also in processing my experience of other peoples’ work quickly and precisely. Even though I believe, philosophically, that words are a powerful creative force, I had never considered writing as integral to visual art. I had always put words and images in separate categories. It was a surprise to learn that building conversation around visual work is as abstract as making something, and equally powerful in terms of bringing ideas into form.
3. What’s your next big project?
Generally I’m considering the space between dance and visual art, both visually and in writing. I’m also developing ideas for a workshop on Congolese and Yoruban dance and music that would bring guest teachers into Miami and highlight some of the incredible teachers living here.
4. Why do you do what you do?
It’s a simple search for truth and happiness.
5. What’s something you want Miami to know about you? What’s something you don’t want Miami to know about you?
Most people in Miami know me in only one of my roles – a dancer, a writer, the assistant at Dorsch Gallery. I am all of them plus some I haven’t mentioned, and any work I do comes out of that complexity. I have no attachment to what form my creative work takes. My secret? I’ll always be a Brooklyn girl at heart.
First published as a 100 Creatives for Miami New Times