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2017


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2017


2017 SEASON


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GOMELA/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue | January 19-22 & 26-29

Ashé Powerhouse | 1731 Baronne St. 

Gomela, a Bantu word, means “to go back to/to return.” Directed by Stephanie McKee and developed by dancers Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton, poet Sunni Patterson and drummer Jawara Simon, Gomela takes us on a journey through time and space. Making evident the connection between Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, such as spoken word, hip-hop and jazz. Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home.

Gomela is based on hope, survival, courage and the resilience that exists in the face of oppression. It is about the heartbeat of a people that will never die, the culture and traditions that continue to evolve, grow and survive the test of time. It illuminates Place Matters—gentrification and the Right of Return of New Orleanians displaced after Katrina; and Black Lives Matter—the beauty and resilience of black people, past and present.


we free by Marguerite Hemmings

we free by Marguerite Hemmings

Boschimanne: living curiosities by KM Dance Project

Boschimanne: living curiosities by KM Dance Project

Looking at a Broad by Rebecca Mwase

Looking at a Broad by Rebecca Mwase

Power of the Black Feminine | June 9-11, 2017

Contemporary Arts Center | 900 Camp St. 

we free by Marguerite Hemmings: An exploration of the milennial generation’s take on liberation, this “experimental dancehall” performance challenges the norms and expectations of how we express ourselves.

Boschimanne: living curiosities by KM Dance Project: An exploration of the story of Sara “Saartjie” Baartman (Hottentot Venus) through movement with a focus on the exhibition of the African American female body image and the establishment of European ideas of black female sexuality. 

Looking at a Broad by Rebecca Mwase A layered choreo-poetic solo performance that invites audiences to question, witness and engage the multiple oppressions, expectations and constructions of race, gender, sexuality faced by black women living in the United States.


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2016


2016


Soundtrack '63 | Photo: Melisa Cardona

Soundtrack '63 | Photo: Melisa Cardona

Soundtrack '63 | January 16-18, 2016

Contemporary Arts Center

Soundtrack ‘63 is a multi-media, live music performance that takes the audience back in time with a cultural and artistic retrospective of the Civil Rights Movement from 1963 to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Originally produced by 651 ARTS and developed by Creative Director Chen Lo, Soundtrack ’63 premiered in 2013 as part of the Movement ’63 series. This performance of Soundtrack ‘63 will feature the untold and under-told stories of New Orleans’ civil rights history. It includes performances by local artists alongside commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Sonia Sanchez, and performances by Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets. Chen Lo and Asante Amin recreate the year 1963 in a live documentary with an 18-piece orchestra, live video installation, and a host of dynamic performance artists whose work breathes new life into the sights and sounds that shaped the music of an era—allowing a modern audience to re-think, re-new, and re-mix their conceptions of the past.

Dancing While Black: On Fertile Ground | April 15-17

Contemporary Arts Center

An evening of bold, new dance works deeply rooted in Africanist aesthetics, pushing the bounds of performance. For two nights only, four black women choreographers—representing three generations of creative practice—share work at the intersection of tradition and experimentation. What results transcends category and centers on our humanity.

Jaimé Dzandu (VA/NYC), Onye Ozuzu (Chicago), Nia Love (NYC), Brittany Williams (Miami/NYC)

Three generations of Black women choreographers from across the nation engage with New Orleans communities, culture bearers, and college students in an exploration of art making practices for social movement building. The choreographers spent one week in February teaching workshops across New Orleans, developing site-responsive performance at Xavier University, and sharing works-in-progress alongside local choreographers at Dancing Grounds. This cultural exchange culminates with this performance.

The Homecoming Project: Treme | Photo: Melisa Cardona

The Homecoming Project: Treme | Photo: Melisa Cardona

The Homecoming Project: Treme | August 30

Congo Square 

HOMECOMING PROJECT is a place-based storytelling performance series that engages collective thought partners through story circles, community dinners, performances and organizing actions to address the many inequities and challenges we face as a growing city. Reclaiming our connection as a community and recognizing our common humanity are critical first steps for our future.

Featuring Frederick “Hollywood” Delahoussaye, Kesha McKey, Catherine Caldwell, Free, Jeremy Guyton, Kelly Harris, Rebecca Mwase, Michael “Quess” Moore

 

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2015


2015


Progress Theatre | Photo: Melisa Cardona

Progress Theatre | Photo: Melisa Cardona

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The Burnin' by Progress Theater | March 12-14, 2015

Contemporary Arts Center

Written and directed by Cristal Chanelle Truscott, The Burnin’ is an Acapella NeoSpiritual inspired by two major U.S. nightclub tragedies; the Rhythm Night Club Fire of Natchez, MS (1940) and the E2 Club Stampede of Chicago, IL (2003).

It's 1940 in the fictional City of Antebellum. As the African American community prepares for the return of hometown hero Band Man to the local juke, the White community organizes its Annual Pilgrimage Pageant; a celebration of Southern hierarchy as it was "Before the War." Fast forward 75 years and post-Great Migration urban residents of Sittay gather to critique the policies and politics behind contemporary headlines at a hip hop spot. When disaster strikes in both spaces and places, all involved are forced to examine the meanings and intersections of race, gender, community, agency, identity and freedom.

Through fictionalized locales, The Burnin’ charts sociopolitical consistencies before, during and after both disasters. Intertwining dialogue and original song, the piece not only questions a multitude of stereotypes, it actively answers and dis-assembles them. Re-imagining and re-examining these American tragedies, The Burnin’ invites audiences to look deeper into personal and communal definitions of freedom, empowerment and the course of “progress” we all have the power to chart.

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Urban Bush Women and Voices from the Bush

Urban Bush Women and Junebug Productions with support from the Contemporary Arts Center's Performance Support Program presents Urban Bush Women and Voices from the Bush with Special Guests Sunni Patterson, Craig Harris, and Rhodessa Jones.

Urban Bush Women and Voices from the Bush is a multi-disciplinary performance inspired by Urban Bush Women’s 30th Anniversary program that highlights the company’s 30-year repertory featuring excerpts from  Women’s Resistance, Shelter, and more. The performance kicks off Urban Bush Women’s annual Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), a 10-day gathering of artists and activists who will dance, sweat, think, build, and devise innovative responses to the question being asked all across this country—How do we institutionalize the notion that Black Lives Matter? 

"This year’s SLI theme, "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest: Organizing for Racial Equity," is inspired by the great Civil Rights organizer Ella Jo Baker and Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness."

The performance has been curated around this year’s theme and also features performances by Sunni Patterson, Rhodessa Jones, Craig Harris, Maritza Mercado-Narcisse, Shamar Watt, Vincent Thomas, Maria Bauman, Marguerite Hemmings and a short film directed by Jason Foster featuring A Scribe Called Quess?