IN Series seeks modern dancer for world-premiere community opera
SPIRIT MOVES is a new family opera examining storytelling and how the past counsels us in the present and points us toward the future. The piece introduces a Black family navigating life’s struggles, finding solace and strength in their shared stories. SPIRIT MOVES engages audiences in the act of storytelling with artist-led call-and-response and shared movement, building community through theater, music, and dance. SPIRIT MOVES centers Black artists in all creative spaces - playwright, composer, performers. The piece honors and celebrates African American cultural traditions and seeks to utilize these and other storytelling traditions to create a space in which everyone has a voice. SPIRIT MOVES is a new work that seeks to connect with the community in real time, speak directly to the assembled audience, and in turn, hear directly from them.
Role: Freddie (dancer), husband to Gladys and the patriarch of this story's family; Freddie has transitioned, and is represented through movement. We seek a modern dancer who is comfortable with improvisation; experience in jazz, African, and Latin styles are a plus.
Key artistic collaborators:
Jarrod Lee - Creator and Writer
Timothy Amukele - Composer
Shawna Williams - Choreographer
To be considered for casting, please share your resume and a video of movement work that represents you as an artist and storyteller. Send your submissions to email@example.com - Google Drive or WeTransfer.com preferred.
Rehearsals will primarily be held in Ward 8. Performances will be held at the James E. Bunn Amphitheater at Oxon Run Park, in DC’s Congress Heights neighborhood.
Fee: $1200, paid on a 1099
June 24 - Workshop rehearsals begin in SE DC (partial availability during this period will be considered)
July 9 - Work-in-Progress presentation at the James E. Bunn Amphitheater at Oxon Run Park
September 5-20 - staging and technical rehearsals
September 22 and 23 - Daytime performances at the James E. Bunn Amphitheater at Oxon Run Park
Note: We will present two performances each on September 22 and 23, for a total of four performances.
Please note: Daytime rehearsals and performances will be required in September 2022. Performances will be open to the public, as well as attended by students from DC Public Schools in Ward 8.
SPIRIT MOVES opens with a conversation with the community; Gladys, the elder matriarch of the family that makes up the core of SPIRIT MOVES, chats with a group of community elders and leaders - old friends catching up in the community garden. Gladys leads the community in a sung call-and-response, building a sense of belonging. As Gladys begins dinner preparations, Baby Boy/Girl, her grandchild, comes running to her, in tears; they’re being bullied by the kids at his school, and have recently lost their mom. Gladys comforts them, and soon they are singing and dancing together. Gladys’ son, Jerry, comes to collect Baby Girl, distracted by the stresses of the day and grief over the recent loss of his wife. Jerry takes Baby Girl away, leaving Gladys alone.
As Gladys watches her family leave, she feels a familiar presence - the spirit of her husband, Freddie. Granny and Freddie move together; Granny is dancing joyfully with Freddie when her son returns; he sees her dancing alone. Granny tries to engage her son in the dance; his grief keeps him from moving with her. Shortly after Jerry leaves, Gladys feels Freddie’s presence again; they dance, and Freddie’s spirit leads Gladys onward.
Jerry and Baby Girl return to discover that Granny has transitioned. Baby Boy/Girl reminds their father what Gladys taught them both - nothing is truly lost, to remember is to live. Baby Girl helps his father remember how to move with the spirit; Gladys, Freddie, and Jerry’s wife join them in a joyful dance.
Character concept art by Tommy Jackson