Dogtown Dance Theatre

Uprise @dogtown: Sparking Conversation for Social Change Through Art

Dogtown Dance Theatre & Brooklyn-based Cora Dance bring attention to social activism


Richmond, VA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/10/2020 --Dogtown is proud to announce a compelling new spring performance and community project event: UpRISE @ Dogtown, a collaborative venture between NYC based professional arts center, Cora Dance, and Dogtown that aims to use live performance as an entry point for unpacking and addressing concerns that affect our communities. Piloted in Brooklyn, NY throughout the 2019-2020 season by Cora Dance, UpRISE featured a series of live performances, discussions, and calls-to-action that allowed for cross-pollination between dance-goers and community service organizations.

Dogtown will be producing the next iteration of Cora's UpRISE series in our theater on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 7:30PM bringing focus to concerns around immigration and community division in the Richmond community. The event will feature the presentation of Elsewhere, the critically-acclaimed evening-length work by choreographer and Cora Dance Artistic Director, Shannon Hummel. Originally created in 2005 for the professional company Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance, Elsewhere examines the duality of hope in the face of abrupt loss, asking if remembering or forgetting what came before holds more power to sustain those surviving the aftermath. Using the universal emotional entry points inside Hummel's work, a post-show discussion with between artists and audience will reflect on the choreography, its process of creation and the experience of grappling with hope and coping with loss as a means of art-making. The discussion will then turn toward more specific realities that reflect these experiences, in particular those brought on by immigrant family separation by ICE and the effects of chronic division in Richmond and nationwide. Richmond community leaders will share information about important work being done to address these issues and how to get involved in creating unity, harmony and positive change.

Aligning with the focus on children and family concerns, this professional evening-length work has been reimagined in 2019-2020 and is powerfully performed by Cora Dance's Youth Apprentices, ages 12-17, who are confined by the audience throughout this unconventional performance in a small circle of audience members no more than 15 feet across. This performance in the round puts the dancers' struggles and moments of tenderness in extremely close proximity to the audience - often in direct contact - and places the audience as the unanticipated barrier to any exit, complicit in impeding escape.

Post-show discussions will be led by performing artist, VCU graduate and current Cora Dance company member, Katie Dean. Discussions include members of the Richmond community at the forefront of immigration support and artmaking including Tanya Gonzales, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Center; Alicia Diaz, Associate Professor of Dance at The University of Richmond and leading social activist in Richmond; and Kevin LaMarr Jones, member of the Board of Directors of Dogtown Dance Theatre and Artistic Director of the Afro-Carribean dance collective CLAVES UNIDOS. In addition, NY City Councilmember and Immigration Committee Chair, Carlos Menchaca, will be present to participate in the conversation, which aims to spark concrete means of engagement in addressing these issues in the Richmond community and beyond.

Admittance to the performance and post-show discussion will be pay-what-you-can, with a suggested price of $15. Dogtown is offering this admittance structure in hopes that the organization can truly make an impact and create a safe space for art as a catalyst to these important conversations. No one will be denied entry to the show because of an inability to pay.

Dogtown Dance Theatre and Cora Dance seek to make UpRISE @ Dogtown an annual project, building momentum for future performances and opportunities that create change through art and social justice collaboration. Both organizations have lengthy histories as distinctly integrated institutions where diverse voices are valued, challenging work is placed at the forefront and multifarious opportunities for communities to gain access to quality arts offerings are prioritized. We hope you will join us for the inaugural year of the UpRISE @ Dogtown and take part in making a lasting impact within our community.

Dogtown Dance Theatre and Cora Dance thank Earlynn J. Miller and Don Albright for their generous support of UpRISE @ Dogtown.

UpRISE @ Dogtown At-A-Glance

WHEN: February 22, 2020
WHERE: Dogtown Dance Theatre
109 W. 15th Street, Richmond, VA 23224
TICKETS: Pay-what-you-can, suggested $15

About Dogtown Dance Theatre
Dogtown Dance Theatre is a home for performing artists to create and present their
work while developing the skills needed to thrive. We seek to enliven our local community by encouraging expansive creative expression and education across diverse populations.

About Cora Dance
Through its professional company, youth companies, wraparound services and pay-what-you-can school, Cora Dance creates exceptional dance experiences while addressing the impediments that often restrict individuals from accessing the art form due to affordability and other often unaddressed factors. Cora's approach to choreography, training and community engagement invites people to find common ground and build a sense of community with one another through the arts, allowing all involved—artists, students, audiences and community members—to connect more deeply with one another. Cora is dance for everyone, offering great art and rare opportunities for intersection. Everything is pay-what-you-can. No one is ever turned away from a class or performance based on what or if they can pay.