Visiting Artist | April 14 - 28, 2019
Charles O. Anderson came to MANCC for the first time to further the development of (Re)current Unrest, which is an evening-length immersive performance installation ‘ritual’ built upon the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: “It’s Gonna Rain” (parts 1 and 2), “Come Out,” and “Pendulum.” The piece is an investigation of legacy, authorship, and the history of black art and protest through the lens of the erasure of the Africanist presence inside of Reich’s compositions. Inspired by James Baldwin's “Fire Next Time” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me.” (Re)current Unrest is an open movement letter from the artist, as a member of Generation X, to the millennial generation, saying 'stay woke!'.
Anderson brought a collaborative team of eight dancers and three designers to MANCC, charged with the task of revamping installation elements after the work’s previous in-progress performance in a large warehouse space. In preparation for touring the work to smaller venues, the design team worked to update production elements of lighting, sound, and overall setting of the space, hanging wooden swings from the ceiling, designing projections, and covering the walls and floor with newspaper clippings.
While at MANCC, Anderson had the opportunity to meet with Professor of Communication and Civil Rights scholar Dr. Davis Houck. Anderson and his collaborators shared the opening section of the work with Houck and then discussed the various references and images throughout the piece.
Anderson also visited Special Collections in Strozier Library where he gained access to the Emmett Till archives.
Within the School of Dance, Anderson engaged with students on multiple levels. First, he taught a masterclass as part of Dance-a-Palooza, which is a week-long festival wherein students get to experience classes with instructors in genres that vary from their usual technique classes. Anderson also worked with 10 student “docents” who participated in the rehearsal process and discussions with the company and will continue to act as community liaisons for the work and its content now that the residency has concluded. These students also participated in the work-in-progress showing that Anderson and his collaborators hosted for the School of Dance and local community that included a reflections moment on the part of the cast and audience immediately following the showing.
After presenting the work-in-progress at The Kumble Theater in January 2020, The American Dance Festival (Durham, NC) was scheduled to present the premiere of (Re)Current Unrest in 2020, followed by performances at Dance Place (Washington, D.C.), which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This residency was funded, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project Production Grant and Production Residencies for Dance Grant.