I am fascinated by how art, poetry, music and dance share many of the same elements and what happens creatively when they are influenced by and collaborate with each other. So I was excited when I learned that a Washington, DC based dance company has been inspired by the work of visual artist to create an exciting, new, original performance. Their work is a testimony to the creative power of connecting the arts. Step Afrika! collaborated with the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC to create a new work based on Jacob Lawrence's epic masterpiece, The Migration Series. It premiered June 15th through 26th at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Through his paintings, Lawrence tells the story of the exodus of African Americans from the agricultural south to the industrial north, beginning in 1910, in their search for justice and freedom. I was fortunate to view this powerful series in its entirety at the Phillips Collection in 2008. Step Afrika!'s performance features jazz, drums, vocals, dance and visual imagery. The company will perform excerpts of the piece on August 18th at the Phillips Collection, as part of the museum's after hours series, Phillips after 5.
Through allegory, gesture, rhythm, color and movement, we can see the power of dance and the visual arts to make connections and bridge artistic disciplines.