Flying the coop

In 2011, choreographer Joanna Haigood and composer Marcus Shelby were commissioned by the Equal Justice Society to make a piece about the restoration of 14th Amendment anti-discrimination rights to prisoners on death row. Making Dying While Black and Brown, Haigood drew on personal experiences of inmates as well as narratives of discrimination to consider the conditions of imprisonment in America. The piece is danced in, on, and with a set designed to look like the frame of a dollhouse but confined like the walls of a cell. Four men in prison jumpsuits thread themselves through the openings in the walls, balance on the set's thin perimeters, and rotate it on its delicate edge. They are gymnastic and muscular, speaking and shouting over the jazz and blues of Shelby's orchestration. The subject is heavy but the body is light, even as it forces us to confront the tragedies of our prison system.

April 4-5, 8 p.m., 2014

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