Experiencing Interruptions?


HAMAPAH/THE MAP DANCE-ON-FILM (30 min.) chronicles dancer and choreographer Adam W. McKinney’s return to his ancestral homelands—Benin, Poland and United States (Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, and Wisconsin)—to trace the intersections of his African, Jewish and Native American heritages. Directed by Daniel Banks and filmed by documentary filmmaker Laura Bustillos Jáquez, the work was created over a four-year period as a way to investigate the possibility of healing transgenerational traumas. HaMapah/The Map Dance-on-Film explores issues of mixed heritage identity and ancestry and offers a complex, powerful story about humanity and connection.

  • Daniel Banks
  • Adam W. McKinney
    Key Cast
  • Adam W. McKinney
    Concept and Choreography
  • Laura Bustillos Jáquez
    Cinematography and Editing
  • Irina Kruzhilina
    Costume Design
  • Adam W. McKinney
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Dance, heritage, ancestry, black film, lgbtq, jewish
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    170,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, French, Yiddish
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • International Theatre Institute Italy and ITI-Worldwide
    March 22, 2021
    Global Premiere
  • Minnesota Ballet
    United States
    February 28, 2021
    Midwest Premiere
  • Jewish History Museum and Holocaust History Center
    United States
    February 23, 2021
    Southwest Premiere
  • Arizona State University
    United States
    February 11, 2021
  • Mixed Race Theater & Film Class, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Iowa, Theatre Arts Department
    Iowa City
Director Biography - Daniel Banks

Daniel Banks is a director, deviser, dance dramaturg, and dialogue facilitator. He has directed at National Theatre of Uganda; Belarussian National Drama Theatre; Market Theatre Lab, South Africa; Playhouse Square, Cleveland; HERE Arts Center, NY; Bay Area Playwrights Festival; NYC and DC Hip Hop Theatre Festivals; and Oval House, Teatro Technis, and with Kompany Malakhi, all in London. He worked as movement director/choreographer at Shakespeare in the Park, Theatre for a New Audience, Maurice Sendak’s The Night Kitchen, Singapore Rep, and La Monnaie. He is Associate Director of Theatre Without Borders, on the national cabinet of US Department of Arts and Culture, on The Drama League’s Directors Council, the 2020 recipient of TCG’s Alan Schneider Director Award, and a recent recipient of Harvardwood Heroes award for his work co-instigating the project to transform 1012 N. Main Street, Fort Worth’s former Ku Klux Klan Auditorium, into a center and museum for art and community healing. Daniel studied documentary filmmaking with Robert Gardner and Ned Johnson as well as ethnographic film with Akos Oster and Vlada Petric. He co-directed the filmed oral history BELONGING EVERYWHERE: THE JEWS OF SEFWI WIAWSO, funded in part by the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana. He recently directed a filmed and multimedia adaptation for a live Zoom audience of THE REAL JAMES BOND...WAS DOMINICAN by Christopher Rivas, performed nightly for two weeks at Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY. Daniel was named one of Fort Worth Inc’s 2021 “400 Most Influential People in Fort Worth.”

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Director Statement

We decided to create a dance-on-film version of the stage production of HAMAPAH/THE MAP (2010) because we discovered that a multi-camera filming of the live stage piece did not capture the intimacy, immediacy, or vibration of Adam W. McKinney’s physical, spoken, and sung story-telling.

We worked with cinematographer Laura Bustillos Jáquez in 2015, prior to the filming HAMAPAH/THE MAP DANCE-ON-FILM, on a project at the Texas-Mexico border where she was inspired to “dance” with the dancers, freeing the camera from the tripod and becoming part of the movement. Because of our closeness as a creative team and her connection to the themes of identity, heritage, and otherness, Bustillos Jáquez captured a side of McKinney dancing that a seated audience would not experience. And her editing built on this connection. The hand-held filming adds a feeling of vulnerability and the search for stability— both the dancer and the film walking the fragile tightrope of self-identification.

In each location we visited, we partnered with community organizations, led workshops, held gatherings and meals, spent time to listen and get situated, and invited others into our process. We welcomed community members to be present while we filmed, brought refreshments, danced together, and listened to their stories and responses to what we were doing. In one beautiful moment, an observer took leadership and redirected traffic so we could film safely. This process was marked by many moments of precious serendipity: we reached out to a dance company in Krakow, Poland, to offer our services while we were there, and they requested that McKinney choreograph a new dance performance work for them. After arriving and starting the process, we discovered that the father of our contact at the company was the contractor in charge of the adaptive reuse and renovation of the Kolbuszowa Synagogue where McKinney’s great- and great-great-grandparents once prayed—and he gave us access to the building during construction. In Arkansas, McKinney was intuitively guided to attend a Sunday morning church service in the town of Palestine, where he met a woman who led him to his long-lost McKinney family in Forrest City. We believe that these moments of serendipity underscore the unique quality of the film.

We typically lead community storycircles after screening the film, during which we ask audience members to share their own stories of family, heritage, and identity. The storycircles often last longer than the film itself and relationships have emerged from audience members encountering one another in such an open space for sharing. We lead these community conversations because, as our friend and mentor Yavilah McCoy states, it is critical to “create spaces for people to fall in love with one another.”