‘One’ Episode 12: Alison Hall Kibbe discusses links between bodily movement, history and identity

Laurie Gomez YC '22
Alison Hall Kibbe and the Laundromat Project at Kelly Street Field Day, 2014

In episode #12 of the Yale Schwarzman Center web series, O​ne, African American Studies PhD student Alison Hall Kibbe YGS’24 talks with Taiga Christie YSPH’19 about her performance project “Body/s in Question” – a piece that explores Kibbe’s reflections on her family’s history within the African diaspora. Kibbe discusses her passion for dance and the broader role movement plays in communicating across cultures.

As a lifelong dancer, movement is “something I just have to do in order to stay alive,” Kibbe explained in the interview. Her combined interests in her ancestry and the arts inspired a trip to Cuba where Kibbe researched her family’s history of migration between Jamaica, Panama, Cuba, and the United States.

Dance has really been a part of the way I think through the world, how I move through the world, and also something I just have to do in order to stay alive.
Alison Hall Kibbe, African American Studies PhD Student, YGS '24

In 2018, Kibbe presented a version of “Body/s in Question” a culmination of poetry, oral history, and dance, informed by her studies abroad. That performance ultimately inspired Kibbe to pursue a PhD at Yale, where she found in the African American Studies department an environment that encouraged and supported her interdisciplinary work.

While at Yale, Kibbe has presented a performative talk, participated in the Yale Dance Lab, taught dance classes engaging her research into Cuban funk music, and co-led a speakers’ series through the Caribbean Studies Working Group. As her PhD work progresses, Kibbe is looking forward to leading collaborative works and ensemble performances inspired by her scholarship and activism.

Christie, the host of episode #12, is a theater artist and health worker who completed her Master of Public Health degree at Yale School of Public Health in 2019. Christie holds a joint fellowship with YSPH and the Yale Schwarzman Center and studies links between the arts and public health as part of Humanities, Arts and Public Health Practice at Yale Initiative, also known as the HAPPY Initiative.

One, a web series produced by the Yale Schwarzman Center, highlights interdisciplinary approaches to the arts in relation to the Center’s values of collaboration, wellness and belonging. The inaugural season illuminates the creative and academic merits of student works impacted by social distance and explores perspectives on community-building among dispersed groups.  The series title, One, is a nod to the Yale Schwarzman Center’s aspiration to advance a sense of “One Yale” and create an interconnected community that builds new traditions of student engagement around the campus and into the world.

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