Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence is the second work in a trilogy by Christopher K. Morgan that began with Pōhaku (2016) and will conclude with N(8)tive Enough (tentative premiere in 2025).
Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence incorporates dance, Hawaiian chant & percussion, original compositions for cello, and multimedia scenic design to examine ancestry, home, and belonging. Research for the work began by questioning the word native, an identity that has become politically charged and is frequently a weapon of colonization. Collaborators explored the origins of instinct, nature versus nurture, which aspects of our identities are shaped by our environment, and how our ancestry impacts our personalities and identities. DNA inspired Christopher to incorporate the Hilo lei making technique into the piece. The double twisting spiral in the Hilo technique is reminiscent of the double helix of DNA. The metaphor of lei as strands of our DNA informed the scenic design by Brenda Mallory and how the work weaves together stories from varied identities to build bridges that celebrate commonality and respect individuality. The fabric used onstage contains stories of identity from community members we have met over the years making this work, including from the host community of each location where the work is performed.
The presentation of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation.
Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Dance Place, Pa’i Foundation and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information
Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence received development support from the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron, Bethany Arts Community, and the Emerging Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York.