BATTLE is a collaboration with Medicine Wheel Productions of South Boston, MA, as part of their “Dance The Dream” project funded by The Boston Foundation and the City of Boston, and features both KAIROS dancers and Boston-area youth from Medicine Wheel’s summer program. BATTLE premiered on August 28th, 2014 at The Strand Theatre in Dorchester, MA; and was performed a second time outdoors on August 30th, 2014 at The Lawn on D in Boston.
Conception and Aesthetic
BATTLE was inspired by a statement made by Medicine Wheel’s Shane Hampton: “If you have beef with me, let’s dance it out.” Medicine Wheel youth (labeled as at-risk from Dorchester, South Boston and Roxbury) and KAIROS dancers came together in the studio to blend hip hop, krump, and contemporary dance and explore questions of clan, identity, unity, and the human condition. The project invites both performers and audience members to reflect on how differences and conflicts – in movement, appearance, philosophy and thought – can be overcome. It premiered in the summer of 2014 at the height of the conflict in Ferguson and addressed the burning questions Who has power? Who gets access? Who is exiled?…The politics of turf in this country are personal and the battle for inclusion is real.
The set of BATTLE was a movable, interactive wall of hand painted wooden panels created by Medicine Wheel – these panels were covered in current newspaper stories and then painted over with layers of colored handprints representing the range of the human spectrum.
The August 2014 performances of BATTLE featured a live violin performance by Emily Stewart, who played an arrangement of “Which Side Are You On,” a folk song written by Florence Reece in 1931 that became a rallying cry for labor unions and specifically striking coal miners.