Zaccho Dance Theatre‘s multi-media work called Picture Bayview Hunters Point takes place on, around, and inside the Bayview Opera House in free performances this Thursday through Sunday nights at 8. Artistic Director Joanna Haigood says the neighborhood has been home to the company for almost 30 years, and has a rich history, seen and heard in residents’ stories.
There’s more information at the Zaccho Dance Theatre website.
“About 20 years ago, I started thinking about a piece that would kind of reflect what was actually happening in the community. There’s been a slow demographic shift, and there’s been a maybe not-so-slow outmigration of African Americans since 1980,” Haigood says. “I was wondering if there was a way to capture this moment, and to be able to hear from people what their dreams would be, if in fact they could have control over this change.” She created pieces in two other cities with similarly rich histories, but had to put this piece on hold while awaiting funding – she wanted to do it last so that she really got it right. “We’ve been interviewing people, some people who have been interviewed, you know, 18 or so years ago, are re-interviewed now, and hearing their dreams now, is so interesting, and many of them are very much the same…We’ve had a wonderful story circle, where community members of different ages came together to talk about their experiences and their family histories, and their migration stories.” Some of those interviews are included in the video and audio tracks that accompany the dancers – including some gravity-defying aerial work, all serving to paint a picture of the community and the many changes that have taken place over the years. “There’s a hopefulness, there’s a community spirit, there are deep family connections, and these extraordinary stories that really need to be captured, and they really need to be shared. And I feel… I’m hoping that this project can be a part of that effort to make a place for these stories to live on.”