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Recording: 2018-09-02 , DOCK 11 (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Shamel Pitts

BLACK VELVET – Architectures and Archetypes


Production Details / Press Releases

The texture of a body’s architecture The stature of a statue
The posture of too high standing pillars Too tall to hold
Buildings Built On Buildings Too Bold To Console
As Bold As Blood

BLACK VELVET is a celebration of the many textures, beauty, delicacy, and power within us. It is an art piece that aims to share and reflect on the colorfulness of blackness – especially in regards to black women- in a relationship of love, comradery, and compassion. This work researches and shares the sensibility of ideals, models, systems, and structures as a projection of self. The dealing within these structures of systems is to discover what is inside of us, between us and around us. To hopefully bridge the distances so that we can see and meet each other. Some systems must be broken, re imagined, in order to reconstruct. BLACK VELVET received the Audience Choice Award at the Stockholm Fringe Festival 2017.

Shamel Pitts is a performance artist, dancer, spoken word artist, and a teacher. Born In Brooklyn, NY, Shamel began his dance training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and The Performing Arts. Simultaneously, he trained at The Ailey School (Official School of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Shamel received his BFA from The Juilliard School and was awarded The Martha Hill Award for Excellence in Dance. Upon graduating, He joined and performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance. Shamel later moved to Montreal to dance with BJM_Danse (Formerly known as Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal). Later, he moved to Tel Aviv to join Batsheva Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. Currently based in Tel Aviv, Shamel has been a collaborator for many artists including Alex Apt, Bobbi Jene Smith, and Billy Barry. He has been a pivotal figure in the city and nightlife events of the city of Tel Aviv. Shamel is a teacher of “Gaga”, the movement language created by Ohad Naharin ( Shamel Pitts won the 2018 Princess Grace Award in Choreography.

Mirelle Martins, Brazilian performance artist and art producer. From Goiânia-GO. Bachelor in Social Communication at Universidade de Brasília on 2006. Did works as independent curator and executive producer in diverse art projects since 2010. Started research dance and performance on 2013. Has projects exhibited at SP-Arte (2016), Sesc-SP (2015), Museu da Lingua Portuguesa (2015) among others. Is producer and translator of GAGA.people.dancers movement language in Brazil since 2015. On 2016 started a dance creation partnership with Shamel Pitts, african american dancer. Currently touring with Black Velvet and in the creation process of Black Hole.

[Source: PR-info]

TFB Nr. 1229

Cast & Credits

Choreography: Shamel Pitts
Creation and Performance: Shamel Pitts and Mirelle Martins
Light and Video mapping: Lucca del Carlo
Costume Designer: David Gap
Photos and Videos: Mauricio Pisani
Audio: Tentáculo Áudio (Ed Côrtes)
Former Executive Producer: Anna Zêpa
International Relations: Katherina Vasiliadis


Kastanienallee 79
10435 Berlin



Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

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