"I am Ashley SK Davis, and this is Pieces of a Dream, Inc." Thus concluded a wonderful evening of movement, tears, and laughter on March 2 at the Wilmington Drama League. Pieces of a Dream, Inc. presented its Sixth Annual dance concert "Words Taking Shape" at the venue on Lea Boulevard in Wilmington to a packed house. True to its missionary focus of presenting meaningful and socially-relevant works, "Words Taking Shape" showed the beauty of movement while simultaneously challenging the viewer to think critically. By the end of the 90 minute performance, all those audience members were more than satisfied.
The first half of the show was actually an encore of the production "Moved...by Words, by Silence, by Sounds", which premiered at the Fringe Wilmington Festival in September 2012. This series of four suites uses poetry and prose in lieu of music as a backdrop for the movement. While most of the spoken word is pre-recorded audio, two of the segments require the dancers to speak as they dance. In "Mom, I Wish..." the dancers were asked to write a "letter" to their mothers with this prompt, which they then complemented with movement. The other piece that did not use a recorded track featured not speech, but sound. A large section in "Moved...by Power" is performed entirely in silence, with sounds, syllables, and phrases of words inserted sporadically. The highlight of the first half was the final dance in "Moved...by Pain", a solo choreographed and performed by Pieces of a Dream, Inc. veteran Ashlei G. Randolph. This suite on grief also included a duet by Ketruah Braithwaite and La-Chelle Dickenson and a group piece to a section of Kalil Gibran's The Prophet and Psalm 23. Ms. Randolph's performance was set to "2 Pearls", a poem by Gayle Danley, in memory of her mother's battle with lung cancer. The combination of Ms. Danley's words and Ms. Randolph's movement left a definitive impression on everyone in the audience.
Act II was equally poignant. The first suite, "The New Normal?", addresses the seeming conflict between the American value of the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms. The suite is divided into three scenes: A child caught in the crossfire of gang violence, a bullied high school student who decided to exact vengeance on her tormentors, and the "paradise" that is left behind in the wake of such barbarity. The goal of this piece is a question why we are no longer appalled to hear news about violent shooting deaths, and whether the public has become complicit in the deaths of children by our silence and inaction.
The final suite of the concert was certainly the crowd favorite of many in the audience. "In a Dark and Lonesome Place, Seeking Light" is a window into the life of someone suffering from depression. Our protagonist seeks many different options to find "the light", and finally is triumphant. This piece, again featuring Ms. Randolph, is relevant to another struggling through a difficult life episode.
With all the heaviness of the dances, the evening ended on a fun note. Ms. Davis enlisted the audience in helping POAD, Inc. film a "Harlem Shake" video. Dancers and non-dancers alike joined in the creation of this laughter-inducing video. The video will be available on our website and YouTube channel shortly.
If you missed the performance, or just want to see it again, the DVD of "Words Taking Shape" is available for order on our Shop page.
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