2019 WORLD PREMIERE
(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.”
I began creating movement from this starting point in 2016. Shortly after, one of my freshman dance students at the University of Texas, Haruka Weiser, was murdered. Between that tragedy (committed by a young African American man) and the ongoing systematic killing of black men by law enforcement in this country, the piece took on larger dimensions than just these issues of cultural appropriation.
Over a two year development period, the piece 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.
(Re)current Unrest is generously supported by a National Dance Production Grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts, The National Performance Network, and The University of Texas at Austin. The project is co-commissioned by The Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX) and 651 Arts (Brooklyn, NY).
THE REPARATIONS INITIATIVE
I am trying to raise $5000 or more in funding support for the (Re)current Unrest Reparations Initiative which is connected to my project, (Re)current Unrest, which will begin touring in Fall of 2019. The Reparations Initiative is the platform through which Charles O. Anderson/dance theatre X will provide 50-100 free tickets to our performances at each site we tour and performance honoraria to the local artists/community docents we engage in the performances of our work as we tour and while we are in residence. Why?
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.