Art can be a powerful tool for reflection, and as our communities wrangle with the histories of white supremacy and racist law enforcement, cultural institutions are some of the spaces where we would normally go to find space to think, feel and reflect.
But with the pandemic largely shutting down such activities, creatives are finding other ways to address the pain of this moment, to show solidarity with the protesters in the streets demanding change, and to challenge us all to think about race critically — and also with a full heart.
And so Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Colorado Ballet have teamed up to release a video of their performance of "The MOVE/ment," a dance about the civil rights movement that Robinson choreographed for Tour de Force, a Colorado Ballet showcase last year.
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This is how Robinson described the work in March 2019:
This is an incredible opportunity to bring together a diversity of dancers, in both culture and genre, to create a work that is reflective of these powerful times in our community and the world. The arts have always been a powerful catalyst for positive social transformation. For me as a choreographer, the challenge has been to awaken my personal memories of the Civil Rights Movement, while finding new ways for the dancers to develop their own voice of change, in recognition of social justice that is yet to come. Upon bringing my Ensemble to Montgomery Alabama to perform in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, I was inspired by his words “We have no other choice but to keep moving with determination. We’ve gone too far now to turn back. We can change the world with non-violence."
Those words and the legacy of the civil rights movement are as urgent as ever. And through July 8, you have the chance to see the performance on the Colorado Ballet website.
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“This impactful collaboration with Cleo Parker Robinson immediately came to mind as we discussed how Colorado Ballet would join the Black Lives Matter conversation and show our support,” explains artistic director Gil Boggs in a statement announcing the release. “It is a great example of how people with different backgrounds and skills can come together and produce something beautiful and meaningful. Colorado Ballet will continue to ensure that racial inequity is not tolerated within our organization as we seek to eradicate institutional racism while fostering the beautiful art form of ballet for all people.”