Data Staff Edited Report
The Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans is proud to present the Louisiana Premiere of Herb Alpert Award-winning Choreographer David Roussève’s newest work, Halfway to Dawn, for a limited engagement over three consecutive dates Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th at 7:30 pm and a 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday, April 7th, 2019.
Written, choreographed and directed by Roussève, this vibrant dance-theatre work will be performed by his wonderfully diverse nine-member company REALITY. Halfway to Dawn illuminates the story of African-American Jazz Composer Billy “Sweet Pea” Strayhorn.
Relatively unknown, Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s main arranger/writing partner, instrumental to the creation of a vastly important body of work in American Music History. Gay, out, and living in Harlem in the 1940’s-60’s, Strayhorn chose to lead a remarkably private life, allowing Ellington to take the spotlight and much of the credit for their joint oeuvre. The arranger/composer was also a passionate activist involved in Civil Rights causes (and a committed friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.).
The core of Halfway to Dawn is Strayhorn’s music as interpreted through a dynamic dance vocabulary melding jazz, modern/post-modern, and social dance forms. A surreal sonic design by D. Sabela grimes surrounds vintage recordings of Strayhorn’s songs, while video art by Cari Ann Shim Sham gives the production a rich visual dynamic.
The opening night performance on Friday, April 5, 2019 will be followed by a reception hosted by Xavier University of Louisiana in honor of David’s grandfather, Charles Roussève, and his grandfather’s brother, Ferdinand, who was the first African-American architect in Louisiana. The family started the Roussève Scholarship Fund at Xavier for upper-classmen. This year, 34 students were the recipients of these full tuition scholarships.
Halfway to Dawn’s General admission tickets are $30; CAC members $25. Tickets are on sale here. For additional information, visit www.cacno.org or call 504-528-3805.