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The Gym at Judson

243 Thompson Street

New York, NY 10012

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Choreographer, playwright, and dancer Jinah Parker’s momentous and timely work SHE will run OFF-BROADWAY March 31 – May 19, 2018, at the Gym at Judson in Manhattan. This moving work of dance-theater—“a Choreoplay”—opens up all-too-necessary conversations about sexual trauma, systemic racism, women’s healing and ownership of their bodies, and the undoing of rape culture. The show, in development for two years, arrives Off-Broadway just as these crucial conversations about sexual violence have erupted in the mainstream, as allegations against powerful men have given fire to women and driven the #MeToo movement and subsequent Time’s Up Defense Fund, exposing the extent of the systems that heretofore have silenced and shamed survivors, and providing pathways to justice and accountability. Having played to sold-out audiences at HERE Arts Center in Spring 2017, SHE continues its journey—with a newly revamped script, new cast members, and new direction from Tamilla Woodard—in this moment of reckoning, in telling the stories of survivors and giving voice and body to pain as a step toward liberation, healing, and empowerment.


SHE joins the themes of The Vagina Monologues and For Colored Girls, interlinking stories about sexual violence and racialized abuses. Parker met and interviewed a number of women generous enough to share their own stories of surviving sexual abuse; in an earlier iteration of the piece, these women delivered their stories and danced alongside trained performers. Through this process, Parker also began weaving her grandmother’s story into the work—and her own. She explains, “I realized—throughout the research, throughout this process of working with the survivors, continuously talking to them, going through their words, creating dance out of them—that I had my own story of abuse. I thought, ‘If I have been putting this in the back of my mind and didn’t know for years, how many other women are living in the dark, or suppressing something that happened to them?’ And what better a way to regain a sense of self, when something has physically been taken away, or when your body has been abused, then to use your body to reclaim it?” SHE uses a foundation of modern dance with elements of jazz, street jazz and ballet to bring these stories into dancers’ bodies, while actors simultaneously deliver them through monologue and expressionistic interactions.


The performance is soundtracked by an unmissable array of female voices, including Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Amy Winehouse, Mahalia Jackson, Madonna, and Laura Nyro. Stylistically, Parker references Martha Graham, in her channeling drama and pain through jolts and tensions in the body, while her intensive research process and politicized and pedagogic approach reflect the late choreographer/anthropologist Katherine Dunham. Parker refers to her own aesthetic as “Distorted Beauty”; her choreography does not ignore the ugly, but rather seeks beauty through acknowledging and working through it.


And SHE intersectionally addresses sexism and racism in a poignant consideration of the abuses suffered by Sandra Bland, described by Parker as a “metaphorical rape”—a matter of powerful systems stripping someone of their being. Unlike the women the audience hears from who can reclaim their narratives of abuse, the violation of Sandra Bland ended in death; this is a woman who, among the many tragic, mysterious, and infuriating elements of her story, is no longer around to tell it. Says Parker, who takes on the role of Bland, “I wanted to give her a voice.”


PREVIEWS:
Saturday, March 31, 7:30pm

Sunday, April 1, 4:00pm

Tuesday, April 3, 7:30pm

Thursday, April 5, 7:30pm


OPENING NIGHT:

Friday, April 6, 7:30pm..... SOLD OUT


CLOSING NIGHT:

Saturday, May 19, 7:30pm

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The Gym at Judson

243 Thompson Street

New York, NY 10012

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