Salt Mines Below Detroit Inspire Local Poet to Create Techno-Inspired Choreopoem

Detroit poet jessica Care moore is staging the new production at the Wright Museum in Detroit.

Courtesy of jessica Care moore

Click the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. CultureShift airs weekdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on 101.9 WDETFM Detroit’s NPR station.

It took a moment for poet and performance artist,  jessica Care moore to embrace the concept of being an interdisciplinary artist.

“I finally claimed that I was that thing,” she tells CultureShift, with slight reserve. She may still be adjusting to the formal classification, but it undoubtedly fits. Over the course of moore’s twenty-five year career, the acclaimed artist has experimented with a myriad of methods to bring more life into her poetic offerings – because sometimes existing in text is just not enough. Her words have hit stages, pages, films, album recordings, and currently resides on the top floor at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), further demonstrating her influential impact in the creative space.

The latest manifestation of that creativity is her second choreopoem, “Salt City,” which premiered at the Charles H. Wright Museum on Thursday and runs through Sunday, June 16.

Set in the salt mines of Detroit in 3071, “Salt City,” is an Afrofuturistic coming of age tale about a young girl named Salt, who goes on an exploratory journey of discovery, survival and self-identity. Along the way, a love story unfolds.  

“I wanted to write a fairy-tale with a brown girl at the center,” says moore. “It’s so personal to me. The father-daughter relationship. The father is the head of the salt mine and [Salt] is born into her father’s world – into this magical mine [with a 909 heartbeat].”

Salt’s heart rate mimics the drum pattern of techno music, which serves as the musical bedding of the choreopoem.

“[Salt] is very musical. It’s a pop-up book, it’s a graphic novel, it’s a film. I see it as all the things,” moore expresses. “What’s really different is that it’s a techno-choreopoem. I wanted to pay homage to the art form that shaped me.”  

jessica spoke with Ryan Patrick Hooper about Detroit’s history with salt mines, shared some techno groove nostalgia, and dished all about Salt City. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview with jessica Care moore on CultureShift.


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