Friday, Sept 11th & Saturday, Sept 12th, 2015
Presented in association with Weeksville Heritage Center
Featuring Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Blacka Di Danca, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ngoma Hill & Ras Osagyefo
Art Forms: Theater, Spoken Word, Dance
Venue: Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Ave (between St. Marks Ave & Bergen St), Crown Heights (Map)
(Enter from the Bergen St entrance.)
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Fertile Grounds is an immersive performance exploration of the two unique sides of the Weeksville Heritage Center.
On one side of the property, a historic sequence of buildings hailing from the 19th and 20th centuries preserves the history of one of America’s first free black communities, named for James Weeks, who purchased the property in 1838 along with other African-American investors to create a land-owning community. The other side features a cutting-edge, modern, multi-use cultural facility which opened in late 2013.
BEAT and Weeksville have asked local artists – including Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ngoma Hill, and Ras Osagyefo, and dancehall choreographer Blacka Di Danca – to populate and respond to both facets of the center, moving from the historic to the modern, presenting words, movement and song which speak to the setting and time period of each building. Specific oral histories from past Weeksville residents and searingly powerful speeches from multiple eras will live alongside contemporary spoken word and diverse dance forms.
Immersive and interactive, audience members are invited to interview figures from the past and dance with one of Brooklyn’s most exciting young choreographers. Fertile Grounds endeavors to connect the “then” and “now” of Weeksville in a direct and physical way, revealing a personal and intimate portrait of one of Brooklyn’s most important cultural institutions through the work of world-class talent living in the communities of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.