“Trofamina”

Trofamina, wife
lands August 1st 1912
26 years old

I was asked to perform in “Tiny Shorts.” A Facebook live event hosted by Elm City Dance Collective on one of five select Sundays this fall. I decided to present the physical performance research of “Trofamina.”

Trofamina is an ancestor of mine, perhaps a great great grandmother, it’s still a little unclear. We know my mother’s family most likely came from the island of Capri, sailed out of a port in Naples, Italy, and landed at Ellis Island in the late 1800s early 1900s with a lot of other Italian immigrants. I have been doing a little research into this, but documents are few and far between and don’t quite add up. The question that is inspiring this research is: How can you stand on the shoulders of your ancestors when you don’t know who they are?” This work is about a young Italian woman, 26 years old, who was labeled as Trofamina “wife” on the passenger list. Her name was indented under the full name of her husband with no last name, a sign that she was identified as property of a man. This was my first conjuring of Trofamina—imagining the world she left while entering a whole new world.

The text I read in this experiment was from a report by the inspectorate of immigration in 1912.