Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on January 15th. We aim to remember his legacy of shining light into the darkness.
Using an excerpt of Letters From Birmingham Jail, we will see the incredible timelessness of his words and how they still ring true to this day. The accompanying dance choreography will connect with the chosen song with a voice over of the excerpt. The video will all be done in one shot to show the dance as a unified, uninterrupted piece.
Considering that we are using a (long) letter, I've had to boil down some key elements to highlight and adapt for vocal delivery.
I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period that the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed in. In those days, the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was the thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But they went on with the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” and had to obey God rather than man.
Things are different now. The contemporary church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often vocal section of things as they are.
I hope the church, as a whole, will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood.
We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.
Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the pilgrim landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. For more than two centuries our fore-parents labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters in the midst of brutal injustice and shameful humiliation – and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.
Riverwalk under Clark Street Bridge
I'm super open for interpretation from the dancer. Collaboration is paramount for helping push the vision and feel forward together. General mood is mourning and tension.
Rap portion will be removed by the composer, Cubby. The chorus will remain.
TBD - some sort of color faux fur coat.