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April Thibeault
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BAM Harvey Theater
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Brooklyn, NY

Marc Bamuthi Joseph Premieres /peh-LO-tah/ at BAM, Oct. 18-21

by April Thibeault
August 10, 2017
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 636-4100 x1
“The two places on earth I actually feel free aren’t coordinates, they’re moments. The first is inside of dance, somewhere between rising up against gravity and a sensation that the air beneath my body is falling in love with its weight, carrying me so that I might never come down. The second place is after scoring a goal on the soccer pitch, wherein my body floods with the chemical they bottle up in EpiPens to revive the dead. I am weightless…raceless…”

–Marc Bamuthi Joseph

/peh-LO-tah/, a performance work by award-winning poet-performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, explores the links between dance and sport, as well as the complexities of soccer—the world’s most popular game—as a source of both joy and exploitation. Based on the artist’s own experiences playing the game as an American child of Haitian immigrants, as well as his travel journals from visits to World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, /peh-LO-tah/ deftly mines the political, economic, and social significance of the spinning ball (pelota). It is, per Joseph himself: “a dance about the economy, choreographed to the rhythm of the beautiful game.” /peh-LO-tah/ combines Joseph’s signature spoken word and charismatic storytelling with live music and choreography inspired by South African and Brazilian movement styles and techniques from the soccer field. The production also encompasses silhouette and shadow play, filmed imagery and video production, and of course the powerful physicality of the production’s dancers and musicians, delivering a multi-dimensional theatrical experience both immersive and illuminating.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of America’s most vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. After appearing on Broadway as a young actor, Joseph developed several poetry-based works for the stage, including Word Becomes Flesh, Scourge, and the break/s, that have toured across the US, Europe, and Africa. Joseph's Word Becomes Flesh was re- mounted by Theater Alliance in 2016 and earned five Helen Hayes Awards in May of
2017. Joseph is an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship honoree, a 2011 Herb Alpert Award winner, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In pursuit of affirmations of black life in the public realm, he co-founded the Life is Living Festival for Youth Speaks, and created the installation Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos for Creative Time. Joseph is currently completing a new libretto with Bill T. Jones for the Opera Philadelphia while serving as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Joseph was last at BAM with red, black & GREEN: a blues (Next Wave 2012), a performance work and multimedia installation.

Commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago. Produced by MAPP International Productions

BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street)
Oct 18—21, 2017 at 7:30PM
Tickets: $25, 35, 45 (weekday); $30, 40, 55 (weekend)
(prices subject to change after July 23)
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