Existing as a film commissioned by ARRAY’s Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) and a live performance that premiered in 2022 at Works & Process at the Guggenheim, The Reckoning is choreographer and director Francesca Harper’s response to the 2010 killing of 7-year-old Aiyana Mo'Nay Stanley-Jones at the hands of Detroit law enforcement. In collaboration with composer Nona Hendryx, Harper has created an expressive historical record of injustice as she explores the relationship between erasure and commodification in the media's coverage of brutality against bodies of color. Dancers from Ailey II and FHP Collective perform in costumes by Elias Gurrola with lighting design by Itohan Edoloyi.
For many young New York City artists, the rambunctious dance tradition of showtime on the subway is their best opportunity to perform in front of a live audience. In tandem with the renegade act of public dance is always the possibility of confrontation and arrest, risks that performer/documentarian Kash Gaines’s cast of artists know all too well. At this in-process sharing of Kash's new project Caged Birds, commissioned by Works & Process, you'll hear intimate stories of dancers' perilous encounters with law enforcement inside and outside the MTA system and see the craft they’ve honed performing on the city's biggest stage. This performance offers proof that these uncaged birds truly can fly.
The Reckoning was commissioned by ARRAY's Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), a propulsive fund dedicated to empowering activists to disrupt the code of silence that exists around police aggression and misconduct. The development of the live performance of The Reckoning was supported by and developed in Works & Process LaunchPAD residencies at Bethany Arts Community (2022, 2023, and 2024) with the collaboration of Gabri Christa and the Movement Lab at Barnard College.
Caged Birds was commissioned by Works & Process, and developed in Works & Process LaunchPAD residencies at Bethany Arts Community (2023 and 2024) and Bridge Street Theatre (2023), and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).
Left: ARRAY’s LEAP, The Reckoning by Francesca Harper with music by Nona Hendryx at Works & Process at the Guggenheim, March 11, 2023. Photo: Titus Ogilvie-Laing; right: Caged Birds in-process showing at Works & Process at Lincoln Center, April 24, 2023. Photo: Lafotographeuse