STORYTELLING THROUGH DANCE
Where the Trees Walk
2020 Season in development
Storytelling Through Dance is a community engagement project that takes the shape of a community theater production. The project builds a space for community members to gain leadership skills, explore self limiting beliefs, occupy spaces they do not naturally see themselves in, and build a better world.
In 2020, we are going to be presenting the last three years of Storytelling Through Dance. The three stories are:
Rosa Dances with Wolves follows Rosa, a young woman who is kidnapped by a band of wolves to help pay her grandma's debt.
Where the Trees Walk tells the story of Rousseau, a child who is taken away from her parents when they arrive to the compound running away from their war torn country.
But We're Still Here! is the story of a young woman who has to deal with feelings of guilt after being sexually assaulted by her partner.
Dance pieces from these plays will make their premiere at the Reading Public Library Steps. A question and answer section will follow the performance.
Once the issue is picked, the writer begins shaping the story with the help of Barrio members. The writing process goes on until February when the title is revealed and the group calls for Community (Informational) Auditions.
Nobody is turned away at the auditions, as these serve more like an informational session.
Our process begins in December, as Barrio facilitates conversations with community focus groups. Barrio's community engagement model is to never assume, but always consult the community about their experiences. The goal of the focus group discussions is to determine issues that affect the community in order to shape the story around that issue.
Barrio doesn't do regular performances. We do things differently:
Photography and videography is encouraged.
After the performance, our cast will engage with the audience in a question and answer session
Our Storytelling Through Dance program, On the surface, is a project that combines dance, theater, and music to educate community through a theater production. Underneath, the project creates leadership development opportunities for community members as it pairs up experienced artists with novice ones. On a deeper level yet, it looks to create transformational moments for participants, as they work through self limiting beliefs.
The embedded leadership component of rehearsals are accentuated by guest community and organization leaders who give information pertinent to the production’s social justice issues.
Barrio participants include inner city residents whom Barrio outreached to. Some of them self selected as dancers, some of them did not.
Barrio organization partners include the Reading Public Library, AIM, RIZE, MAKS, among others.
The production debuts at the Reading Public Library and performed at local schools and universities.
Community members participat by: coordinating music, and sound, choreographing dances, helping with backstage work, dancing, acting, singing, choreographing, helping build sets, stage hands, coordinating performers, driving participants, etc.