1. Because we want to ensure that this work is seen by young social justice warriors regardless of ticket prices.
2. Because this project is not about getting rich or perpetuating elitism, however we want it to be shown in 'elite' communities- occupied by those typically not invited into those communities.
3. Because in addition to the amazing company of dancers touring with the work it is essential that young dance artists in the communities we tour are a part of the performance experience and PAID to be a part of it. We intend to hire 4-15 dancers (from university and performing arts high school dance programs as well as local professionals) to perform with us everywhere we tour.
Inspired by James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me”, the piece is performed by and in dialogue with millennials trying to make sense of blatant racial injustice and come to grips with their place in a world that refuses to guarantee for them the freedoms that so many others take for granted. This project is my open letter to the generation behind me. I think of (Re)current Unrest as a public-facing project and I am approaching community engagement as transmedia storytelling by drawing upon my dual roles as artist and educator. I am asking for your support because this work is by, about and for young non-white America...It is essential that the audiences and dancers involved reflect the demographic for which this work is intended. We have received generous support from The New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Production Grant and from the National Performance Network to tour the work. We are not raising funds to make the work, but to populate it. This isn't about money; it is about justice...but justice costs. We hope we can count on your support once again. As always-no amount is too small. And to be clear- no amount is too large...I firmly this project is worth it and I hope you will agree.
Thank you for your consideration!
More info about (Re)current Unrest:
The production of (Re)current Unrest is an evening length immersive performance installation ‘ritual’ built upon the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: “It’s Gonna Rain” (parts 1 and 2), “Come Out” and “Pendulum.” The piece is an investigation of legacy, authorship, and the history of black art and protest through the lens of the erasure of the Africanist presence inside of Reich’s compositions.
Reich spent a great deal of time studying African music forms, and “Come Out” samples interview tapes of Daniel Hamm, one of six black men (referred to as the Harlem Six) falsely accused of murder and brutalized by police in 1964. The work, which helped Reich rise to fame, was praised for its composition and political resonance. But Hamm’s voice, and the historical context of racial injustice, is often lost to the formal innovations of the composition. These facts are further obscured when the work is used as the score for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s “Fase” and problematized further in Beyoncé’s use of De Keersmaeker’s choreography for her music video “Countdown.” Over the past two years, the piece has taken on larger dimensions than just these issues of cultural appropriation- it has become a meditation on the “American Dream” and Black nihilism, borne of the current racially charged moment. Choreographically, (Re)current Unrest explores the kinesthetic state of unrest–the condition of unease, discontent, and social disturbance. This physical state of agitation represents ‘staying woke.’ To stay woke refers to an intangible level of awareness about community issues and social justice.
I am exploring a new approach to my choreographic process of kinetic storytelling that is informed by the concept of reappropriation. This is the cultural process by which a group reclaims terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way that were disparaging of that group. My goal is to illuminate that Reich's timeliness as a composer was not merely musical. I’m building a way to make work that honors Reich, but speaks to the phenomena of cultural and historic erasure and the ignoral of Black America.
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