Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT), which creates dance inspired by the African Diaspora, kicks off Generations on November 1 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park in Chicago. Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated actress Phylicia Rashad serves as honorary chair and host committee on this five-year, multigenerational repertory project.
“In 1979, I joined the original cast of Broadway’s The Wiz, where I had the sheer pleasure of working in the chorus with Phylicia Rashad,” says DRDT Artistic Director/Co-Founder Kevin Iega Jeff. “She was an inspired example of talent, humility, professionalism, fun and grace, and in addition, she loves and appreciates the beauty and power of good dancing. Because of these qualities, we invited her to serve as Honorary Chair of our first Generations season and were thrilled when she accepted.”
In addition to featuring repertory by established choreographers, the program includes the world premiere of Hadiya by emerging choreographer Nicole Clarke-Springer, with music by Nasser Alqatami, Oliver Nelson and Marcelo Zarvos.
“On January 29, 2013, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot in the back and killed while standing with friends inside Harsh Park in Chicago,” explains Clarke-Springer. “My initial reaction was, ‘Where was her covering? Where was the disconnect? Hadiya explores the connect, disconnect and reconnection of the human spirit to spiritual forces.”
Hadiya Project Workshops for youth take place during the week leading up to the Harris performance, giving participants opportunities to reflect upon and express their reactions to street violence and its impact on themselves, underserved youth and broader American communities.
For more information, call 312-795-9777 or visit deeplyrooteddancetheater.org. For tickets to the 8 p.m. performance of Generations at Chicago’s Harris Theater on 205 E. Randolph Drive, call 312-334-7777 or visit harristheaterchicago.org.