Dance series explores police brutality, loss and transformation
Heritage Works is partnering with the Philadelphia Dance Company for a five-day series of performances, talkbacks and workshops.
In 2000, Heritage Works began as an African dance group. Its main goal was to connect African Americans to the great African diaspora.
This week, the organization is hosting a five-day series of events in partnership with the Philadelphia Dance Company, PHILADANCO!, that includes educator workshops, performances of Endangered Species, talkbacks and youth and community workshops.
Choreographed by Anthony Burrell, Endangered Species is performed by a six-member, all-male cast. It’s an exploration of police brutality, loss and transformation.
“Right now, we’re living in a golden age with media productions like ‘The Woman King’ and ‘Black Panther,’ and all of the work you see happening by younger people in Detroit right now, people who are really proud of their history and heritage.” — Rhonda Greene, Heritage Works Executive Director
Rhonda Greene is a community organizer, cultural entrepreneur and the Executive Director of Heritage Works. Through African dance and history, Greene dedicated her life to uplifting and expanding arts and culture in the city of Detroit.
Greene says that when the organization was founded, there wasn’t consistent access to resources or histories of Black people in this country. She says the last 20 years have shown an increased awareness as to why these things are necessary.
“Right now, we’re living in a golden age with media productions like The Woman King and Black Panther, and all of the work you see happening by younger people in Detroit right now, people who are really proud of their history and heritage.”
She says dance as a medium involves an emotional narrative, a physical narrative and an intellectual narrative — and that all three of these will be incorporated this week.
“All of that comes into play. Mr. Burrell doesn’t leave it with the death because there are six men, they all have the names of people we know as far back as Emmett Till, all the way up to current day men who have been impacted by police brutality or brutality. But he doesn’t leave it at just their death, he talks about the death [and] opportunities for transformation.”
The mini-tour also includes a Youth Day on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Heritage Works’ Annual Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 10 in North Corktown.
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