I am pleased to introduce Hand Me Down: Bestowing Our True Inheritance through Life, Lessons and Legacy, a production of Barrie Barton’s Community Choreography, taking take place at the Diana Wortham Theatre on Friday, April 15th and Saturday, April 16th, 2011. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Bereavement Center at CarePartners Hospice and Pallative Care.
Read more about it at the Mountain Xpress:
A community quilt of stories: Movement theater woven around themes of “home” and “legacy” comes to Diana Wortham
Hand Me Down, Bestowing Our True Inheritance Through Life Lessons and Legacy, a production by the Community Choreography Project, is a collage of personal stories woven around themes of “home” and “legacy.” As Barrie Barton, choreographer of the production, puts it: Hand Me Down is a showcase of movement theater that strives to “take artistic expression away from the experts and give it back to all of us.”
The theme for the show was inspired after Barton left her job of 22 years, working as a dance teacher with Buncombe County Schools, and after she turned 50. “It seemed like a time to look at what I had contributed to my community,” she says, reflecting on the thought that set her fourth community production into motion.
Working closely with a cast of 16 — with actors ranging from age 34 to 64 — Barton asked everyone to consider a set of questions: Where do you come from? What is home? What do you carry through this world? What do you hope to leave behind? From here, a community dialogue was sparked — providing a foundation for the production as a whole.
Creating an original score as a team, and thinking deeply about these questions, however, is no easy task. For the past seven months, the cast has been hard at work examining these ideas through creative writing, conversation and free-form movement, trimming material down as they go and pairing it with expressive dance and spoken-word/prose poetry.
“Legacy,” for example, explores the meaning of names. “There is a lot of significance around our names,” says Barton. “Some people are juniors and some are seniors; some people are given a family name. I’m Jewish, so I was given a Hebrew name. Names are changed when we marry and when we divorce.”
As she speaks, Barton looks to a dancer moving through the rehearsal space at Jubilee Community Church. The dancer lifts her arms quickly and lets them fall slowly back to her side. “This woman has gone through multiple divorces, and talks about her family tree as if it’s been hit by lighting — splitting into all these [fractured] sections,” Barton says. “But, when you sew all of these stories together, it [creates a] quilt, a beautiful collage of stories.”
The hope is that audience members will recognize a piece of their life story, home or legacy when watching these vignettes. As Barton says of her experience guiding this production: “People have these stories — these experiences in their life that they think only happen to them, and there’s this liberating feeling when realizing they are not alone.”
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Hand Me Down promises to create a space where people can see themselves — their struggles, hopes, aspirations and fears — through the stories and lessons shared by others. “These common themes will unite us,” says Barton. “Here, you come to watch yourself.”
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND MORE PERSONAL STORIES HERE: http://www.mountainx.com/ae/2011/041311a-community-quilt-of-stories