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The WOKENESS Festival

 

WOKE?!?! is a series of dance and non-dance events intended to push against assumptions around race, equity, gender, and justice, while creating an environment for examining the presumptions around being “Woke.”

 

The dance events, choreographed and directed by Artistic Director Donald Byrd and performed by the Spectrum Dance Company, present these issues in a factually objective way, in order to engage with the material in a subjectively honest way. The dance aims to humanize the facts and numbers, face the unfaceable, and inevitably, disrupt the comfortable patterns of thought that have been previously resigned to the subconscious.

 

To complement the content of the dance presentations, the humanities component will offer non-dance event opportunities for conversation. With Vivian Philips as the producer and curator, these conversations will ideally illuminate the performance content while also creating deeper community dialogue.  The humanities component will deconstruct the content of the dance presentations while drawing attention to the state of affairs for persons of color in contemporary America in general and Seattle in particular.

WAKE UP! - Symone Sanders

What does it mean to be woke in American society? Join a series of conversations with leading local and national activists, to explore what WOKENESS is! Curated and moderated by Vivian Phillips.

Democratic strategist and CNN Political commentator, Symone draws from her experience on the national stage to provide perceptive analysis on political and social issues. Sanders challenges the conventional wisdom that strong communities are only defined by what we have in common.

WAKE UP! - Natasha Marin and David Domke

What does it mean to be woke in American society? Join a series of conversations with leading local and national activists, to explore what WOKENESS is! Curated and moderated by Vivian Phillips.

Natasha Marin is a Seattle-based poet and interdisciplinary artist and founder of the Reparations site, a place where people of color could post needs, and white people could help meet those needs.

David Domke is a former journalist and a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communications at the University of Washington. He is an author, researcher and teacher focusing on issues of racial and religious identity in American politics.

WAKE UP! - Frank Leon Roberts

What does it mean to be woke in American society? Join a series of conversations with leading local and national activists, to explore what WOKENESS is! Curated and moderated by Vivian Phillips.

Social activist & NYU Professor of the nation’s first #BlackLivesMatter Course increases understanding of the history and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement while promoting education as a means to more effectively engage in community organizing. Roberts brings a deep historical knowledge of civil rights, African American literature, and race and ethnicity studies.

SHOT

“A presumption of guilt and dangerousness”…

Through visceral and urgent contemporary dance theater, you are invited to contemplate the alarming and continuous murder of black people by American law enforcement. SHOT is an unapologetic critique of the current American landscape, where black people find themselves in an intense cycle of fear, intimidation, aggression, and death.

Dance, Dance, Dance #2

This program represents the second iteration of this series (the first Dance, Dance, Dance program was presented in 2016 at The Moore Theatre). Dance, Dance, Dance programs are meant to showcase the dancers – their physicality, versatility and the unique way they respond to movement. One of the works on this program, Merce Cunningham’s Crises, is part of the GLOBAL CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE CHOREOGRAPHER’S LEGACY.

 

Dance, Dance, Dance #2 Works Include:

  • Crises † – Merce Cunningham, Part of the Global Centennial Celebration of the Choreographer’s Legacy
  • NEW Byrd – World Premiere
  • N O R A E F A (2017) *  – Vincent Michael Lopez

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit draws its title from the 1937 poem and song of the same name by Abel Meeropol and made famous by the great jazz singer Billie Holiday. The lyrics are an extended metaphor linking a tree’s fruit with lynching victims. The impetus for this world premiere work is the employment of lynching as a tool of racial terrorism during the Jim Crow Era.

For this dance/theater work, the facts of lynching act as a springboard into a highly personal interior space and state of mind. Strange Fruit tracks choreographer Donald Byrd’s feelings as a response to lynching and plays out as a series of dance/theater vignettes. The piece is abstract but informed by the reality of these brutal acts of terrorism.