(y)ourstory, a dance-theater piece with empathy at its center, was conceived as a response to, and in support of, the spontaneous outpouring of community activism in Union Square, New York City, after Election Day 2016.
As the community rallied and wrote words of encouragement, mourning, alarm, and love on post-it notes in the subway station, each note a microcosm of that person’s story, so too does the (y)ourstory audience as they enter the theater. Their stories are combined with the performer's stories creating your and our story, hence (y)ourstory. This piece provides an opportunity to explore our differences and the experiences that transcend such divisions. The artists' ability to connect to their own story, one another and the audience in the midst of an interactive performance make this work authentic, honest, and exciting for all involved.
Community engagement is integral to the performance and development of the piece (which has not yet premiered). After our work-in-progress performances at Harlem Stage, the audience responded by saying they were "moved and inspired," and felt a connection to each other’s differences and “human-ness”, all sentiments we need in these challenging political times.
(y)ourstory features dialogues with artists of varying ethnicities and histories. Participants span generations and experiences, and their collaborative contributions offer insight into the difficulties of discussing race, gender, and empathy. While the performers tell their own stories in word and movement, this performative installation-based approach blurs the line between performer and viewer, providing an ideal setting for revolutionizing the way we understand and experience connection. The development of (y)ourstory thrives on a spirit of empathy and understanding as we work through difficult and even divisive topics, sharing our experiences with our audience, and they with us.
Run time: in development
Music: Alex Ortega, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Alva Noto
Costumes: Elias Gurrola
Photo credit: Nina Wurtzel