Call it a bold move. In his five years as a choreographer, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd has made dances for black box theaters and dances on film. But after two isolating years of pandemic life, he wanted to do something different, something that would honor his neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant, in Brooklyn, and his neighbors.
They “gave me so much for two years while I was in deep isolation,” he said, and taught him that “everything I need is right here within my local neighborhood. I wanted to add dance productions to that list.”
That motivated Lloyd to self-produce his first evening of dance. He said he decided it had to be free, outdoors — and made for his neighbors, the people who might sit next to him and strike up a conversation on a park bench. That dance, “Jerome,” will be performed in the schoolyard at Stephen Decatur Middle School 35 on June 2 and 3.
Lloyd, 28, works with a small, revolving group of collaborators to make dances that are mostly narrative. He uses a rich mix of movement forms, including hip-hop, West African, contemporary modern and release.
“Jordan is an artist and, very importantly, a Black artist,” said the arts consultant Georgiana Pickett, who became Lloyd’s coach through MAP Fund’s Scaffolding for Practicing Artists, a partnership program with the Jerome Hill Fellowship. Pickett has also become a fan. In an email, she applauded his breaking out of the traditional theater setting. “Our parks, schoolyards, bodegas, street corners and stoops should be places of joy, discovery and comfort,” she said. “Jordan is one of the people making that happen.”
For the past five years Lloyd has lived at the corner of Halsey Street and Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy. In the early days of the pandemic, he said: “My parents didn’t want me on the trains, so I spent time in the parks. I became close with the people at the corner store run by a crew of Yemeni men, and Gizmo who runs her thrift store.”
On the occasions he has left Bed-Stuy in the past couple years, he went home to Albany, where he was born and where his parents still live. (Both parents, now retired, worked for the state.) On one trip, his mom helped him with the Jerome Foundation application.
Lloyd said he remembered watching his mother in West African dance classes when he was 5: “That’s when …….