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Witness

A contemporary ballet at the intersection of art, activism and education that gives historical context to America's current racial quagmire.

The Latest Update

RudduR Dance takes Witness: Part I – Yesterday International

Posted on May 22, 2019 by RudduR Dance

RudduR Dance is excited to announce that we will be performing Empowered featuring Witness: Part I – Yesterday at the FRAGMENTOS DE JUNIO Festival in Guayaquil, Ecuador** this June. We are beyond honored to represent the United States at this International Festival and hope our time in Ecuador will build connections for RudduR Dance throughout South America.

**This engagement is made possible by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Howard Gilman Foundation.

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Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to Christopher Rudd, Creator of Witness

Posted on April 25, 2019 by RudduR Dance

We are very excited to announce that our very own Christopher Rudd has been named a 2019 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

Christopher Rudd will be using this Fellowship to continue the development and creation of Witness.

“I am deeply honored to join this list of distinguished fellows. This award could not have been possible without the support of many, like you, who believed in me before I believed in myself.  Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey. Please continue to support RudduR Dance as we can achieve even more with your help!”  – Christopher Rudd

To learn more about RudduR Dance and Witness, please join us at our Inaugural Benefit Gala on May 9th at Mark Jupiter in DUMBO, NY (purchase tickets here) or visit our support page

Residency and Performance of Witness at Tofte Lake Center

Posted on April 22, 2019 by RudduR Dance

RudduR Dance is proud to announce we will celebrate the 10th year of the Emerging Artists Program at Tofte Lake Center this summer, from August 12th to 18th 2019. We are excited for this opportunity to continue working on Witness and look forward to spending some time in beautiful Minnesota. 

 

Witness Parts I and II at Kaatsbaan and STREB

Posted on April 2, 2019 by RudduR Dance

We are excited to announce Witness Part II – Today has been awarded the UpStream 2019 residency at Kaatsbaan. The residency culminates with an informal excerpt showing of Empowered on May 19th at 2:30 PM in Tivoli, NY. You can purchase tickets for $10 by clicking here.

We are also thrilled that RudduR Dance is returning to STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. We are honored to announce that Christopher Rudd has been awarded the GO! Emerging Artist Commissioning Program to continue developing the bungee section of Witness: Part I – Yesterday. The bungee section will be presented on June 28 & 29 in Brooklyn, NY. More details to come. 

Witness Part I: Yesterday goes on Tour with RudduR Dance Empowers the Americas

Posted on March 28, 2019 by RudduR Dance

Thanks in part to USArtist International we are excited to announce that we will be taking Empowered featuring Witness Part I: Yesterday on the road with RudduR Dance Empowers the Americas.

RudduR Dance Empowers The Americas is a tour across The Americas to combat divisive rhetoric by presenting thematically empowering dance, through community engagement, and through person-to-person cultural diplomacy. The growing list of locations presently include Guayaquil, Ecuador*, Guadalajara, Mexico, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Belize City, Belize.

RudduR Dance is eager to continue its tradition of teaching and presenting works where access to seeing contemporary ballet and particularly live aerial dance is limited. RudduR Dance is honored to represent the United States abroad. We are grateful to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for their generous backing.

*This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Howard Gilman Foundation.

Listen to the artists

Posted on June 29, 2018 by RudduR Dance

Take a moment to hear from the artists working on Witness.

Thank You New Music USA

Posted on June 4, 2018 by RudduR Dance

RudduR Dance is profoundly grateful to New Music USA for their support. Please stay tuned, as we are excited to share our process and progress with you.

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Overview

Incorporating film and an original score, Christopher Rudd‘s “Witness” takes the audience on a journey through time depicting the mistreatment of Blacks and the journey towards equality.  “Witness” serves as a call to action and a mechanism to open a dialogue on the challenging issue of race in America.  The goal is to depict the plight of a People, promote African-American empowerment, and provide hope for the future.  To this end, three African-American collaborators, whose diverse perspectives and artistic voices strengthen the work:

  • Film director Ty Hodges, an award winning emergent voice in the film industry;
  • Composer Tariq Al-Sabir, an award winning, esteemed alumnus of Peabody;
  • Visual effects supervisor Everton Rudd, MA, a recent graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) who is a Look Development freelancer in the Savannah film industry.

Utilizing testimonials sampled from newscasts, and recordings from a town hall forum incorporated into the musical score, “Witness” explores the questions “How did we get here?” and “Where do we go from here?”. The choreography, text, and projections interact to explore how past atrocities shape our present time. While each thirty-minute section is designed to stand alone, the continuity of its props —  iron collars, chains, fetters, and handcuffs — and how the dancers relate to them make “Witness” a complete work:

  • Part I: “Yesterday” mixes contemporary ballet, traditional African dance, and aerial bungee.  Wearing iron collars, chains, fetters, and handcuffs, the dancers portray the devastating, dehumanization of slavery in America.  The sounds of the chains are integrated with traditional African lamentations and gospel music. The scene ends with the dancers breaking free of their chains, and hanging them from the rafters where they remain visible to the audience throughout the show.
  • Part II: “Today” uses state-of-art technology to bring our attention to present day America.  News broadcasts will be engineered sporadically into the music. The dancers’ intricate choreography, using a mix of contemporary and urban dance, intermittently reveals textiles on which interactive films will be projected. As the chains hang above like dark clouds, this section explores the current racial climate and tackles the disparity in the American criminal justice system.
  • Part III: “Tomorrow” is designed to provide hope and ideas for a more just and equitable future. With the help of Hostos Community College, we will hold and record a town-hall asking the question “Now What?” The recording will be integrated into the score with the choreography, expressing the sentiment of the speaker’s voice and uncensored words as the chains sporadically fall from the rafters around the dancers.

 

In partnership with the CUNY Dance Initiative, “Witness” will have five Question-and-Answer showings for the 7,000 students of Hostos Community College and two public presentations in the Bronx at Hostos Center for Arts & Culture during the second week of May 2018.  Following these confirmed presentations, the Company will introduce and market “Witness” to other venues, presenters, festivals, and colleges – both nationally and abroad.

Support provided will go directly towards the costs associated with the development and presentations of “Witness”.

Project Media

The Place Between
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This is an example of Mr. Rudd combining different genres of dance to create a unique way of storytelling. It is an aerial silk contemporary ballet fusion that depicts the final moments of a woman losing her battle to cancer. The dance creates a juxtaposition as she never touches the ground while she departs this realm and her grief-stricken partner is grounded. It was created thanks, in part, to the GO! Emerging Artist Commissioning Program at STREB Lab for Action Mechanics where Christopher Rudd was chosen as one of 2015’s Emerging Artists.

A Night in the Life of Us
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This work is an erotically charged exploration of a relationship that premiered on November 3, 2017 at the Dance Gallery Festival. The work depicts different moments of being an individual while attempting to become one with another.

Title: A Night in the Life of Us
Choreographer: Christopher Rudd
Music: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Mama’s Room & Song For Bob
Rehearsal Director: Silvia Vrskova
Costumes: Christopher Rudd
Dancers: Juan David Camargo & Constance Sousek

Start and End Dates

05/07/201802/16/2020

Location

Bronx, New York

7 updates
Last update on May 22, 2019

Project Created By

New York, New York
Christopher Rudd founded RudduR Dance as a platform to use concert dance as a method ofcommunicating and exploring the place where beauty, innovation, education, collaboration, truth, andmovement meet. As a black male professional dancer touring and performing with classical andcontemporary ballet companies, he was typically the sole representative of the black community on stage.This experience…

In Collaboration With

Composer
Artistic Director & Choreographer
Manhattan, New York
Savannah, Georgia
Los Angels, California

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