13 Striking Images from Spectrum Dance Theater, Including The Minstrel Show Revisited

October 22nd, 2015 by

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13 Striking Images from Spectrum Dance Theater, Including...
NYU Skirball will host the New York premiere of The Minstrel Show Revisited, a reworking of Donald Byrd’s 1991 Bessie Award-winning theatrical confrontation of America's cultural racism.

The Minstrel Show Revisited- Spectrum Dance Theater- Donald Byrd

Photo by Nate Watters


The powerful and controversial show, presented by Spectrum Dance Theater, runs October 28 through October 30 only. Below, Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd (The Color Purple) expresses his thoughts about why The Minstrel Show Revisited is a difficult night at the theatre.

The Minstrel Show Revisited is difficult…
It is difficult because it complicates our thinking
It is difficult because it is disruptive
It is difficult because it confronts
It is difficult because it makes us race-conscious in a way that is not comfortable or easy
It is difficult because it represents conflict, chaos and potential danger
It is difficult because it hurts and we feel the pain
It is difficult because the issue of race in America will not go away
It is difficult because our responses reveal how ‘tinny’, limited and narrowed by political correctness our conversations about and around race are
It is difficult because it does not falsely uplift and we do not feel good
It is difficult because it provokes
It is difficult because it asks us to be brave and courageous
It is difficult because it asks black people and white people to sit in the same room when race is the issue
It is difficult because race and negative representation is thrust and thrown in our faces
It is difficult because we have to acknowledge the racists legacies of our past
It is difficult because we are asked to stare into the face of the minstrel “black-face” mask and it stares back at us
It is difficult because we are asked to face representations that horrify us but are part of our culture and history
It is difficult because we become aware of how we have internalized racism
It is difficult because our responses are complex/complicated and we want/wish them to be simple reactions, easily categorized
It is difficult because we feel quilt, shame, anger, surprise, complicit, fear, astonishment, remorse, sadness, and are numb all in the same breath
It is difficult because we are taken on an emotional roller-coaster ride
It is difficult because we laugh
It is difficult because we see and hear others laughing
It is difficult because we are bombarded by images and sounds that unnerve and unsettle us
It is difficult because we are asked to acknowledge that what we thought or hoped was finished, dead and gone, is alive and well
It is difficult because we are asked to acknowledge that at this point in time, there is no post-racial America and never was
It is difficult because it seems to ‘re-inscribe’ the language of racism that it purports to want to erase
It is difficult because we are reminded that history is painful, we can hardly bear it and want to rewrite it, or wish it weren’t so, just so we can feel better
It is difficult because we are asked to acknowledge that we see color and race
It is difficult because in spite of what one says, none of us are color-blind
It is difficult because sitting in the darkened theater we are aware of all the unfiltered thoughts regarding race running through ours mind – and maybe others know what we are thinking
It is difficult because it raises questions and provides no answers
It is difficult because we hate every minute of how we feel when we watch it yet watch it anyway
It is difficult because we are sick and tired of the past and wonder why we can’t just “move on” or just “get over it”
It is difficult because in it the past and present collide and often look the same

In anticipation of The Minstrel Show Revisited, check out these striking images from past Spectrum Dance Theater shows.

A Cruel World

A Cruel World- Spectrum Dance Theater

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


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Theater of Needless Talents

Spectrum Dance Theatre- Needless Talents

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


Carmina Burana

Spectrum Dance Theatre- Carmina burana

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


Rambunctious

Spectrum Dance Theatre- Ramunctious

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


Spectrum Dance Theatre- Ramunctious

A Meeting Place

Spectrum Dance Theatre- A meeting place

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


Farewell

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Spectrum Dance Theatre- Farewell

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


Scrortched

Spectrum Dance Theatre- Scrotched

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


The Beast

Spectrum Dance Theatre- The Beast

Photo by Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater


DSC

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Spectrum Dance Theater's The Minstrel Show Revisited runs October 28-30 at NYU Skirball.