Photo Flash: MADE TO DANCE IN BURNING BUILDINGS Comes To Joe's Pub On 4/24

Made to Dance in Burning Buildings by Anya Pearson is an explosive mix of poetry, theatre, and violent and visceral contemporary dance, which poses the question: how do we heal from trauma?

This showcase production will play for one performance at Joe's Pub on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 pm. The play is directed by Jamie M. Rea, and choreographed by Emily Bufferd. Anya Pearson will play the character Lady of Utmost Perseverance.

Based on a true story, and inspired by the original choreopoem, Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls, the play seeks to revolutionize the theatrical experience by combining poetry, and gut wrenching contemporary dance, to tell an all too familiar story in a brand-new way.

Made to Dance in Burning Buildings is about Ava, a young black woman, who is raped by her boyfriend's friends while he watches; she develops PTSD as a result. Metaphorically, she fractures into five different women who each represent a different facet of her personality (Romance, Despair, Madness, Perseverance, and Missing You). Poetically, these women narrate her journey through PTSD while she, her first love, and her abusers explore through dance the trauma and the events leading up to it.

This performance of Made to Dance in Burning Buildings is produced by Joe's Pub and Urban Haiku Productions in association with Experimental Bitch Presents, with support from Community Partners Blue Panther Productions, NexTV Entertainment, Actor's Fast Track, Shades of Truth Theatre, and WOW Cafe Theatre.

More info available at

Video trailer available at

Anya Pearson discussed what inspired her create Made to Dance in Burning Buildings, "When I was 17, I read For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange and it literally saved my life. Art saved my life. I was raped when I was 15 years old and my life at 17 was absolute hell. I had full-blown PTSD and every day was a struggle. I considered suicide. But when my high school English teacher gave me For Colored Girls, I found such solace and comfort in her words, in her characters, I literally found the strength to survive. I just knew I had to survive so that I could share my story and it could reach some little broken girl somewhere. So, she could read my words, see my play, and be touched by it, be saved by it, the way Ntozake Shange had saved me. So that I could have that type of impact. This is that play and that story."

Anya went on to share, "I want to empower all survivors to know that they can come back from the edge, from the depths of their despair, from the unspeakable, from what no one else can understand but them. And for others who have not been through what we have, I hope that they leave with a better understanding of the aftermath of trauma. I remember being in college and hearing a male, who I thought was a friend, say that he would rather have his daughter raped than have her have cancer because at least the suffering would be over after that night. I hope to help educate people about the lasting effects of trauma and its insidiousness."

The cast includes Reese Antoinette (A Piece of My Heart/IATI Theater), Jennean Farmer (Blue Print Specials/The Public Theatre), Anya Pearson (Made to Dance in Burning Buildings creator), Aleca Piper (Graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts), and Monique Sanchez (Drunk Shakespeare/Meme Juice Productions).

The production features dancers Shannon Giles (Dance Captain/Celebrity Cruises Productions), Jamal Shuriah (American Idiot/UK Premiere), Jordon Waters (LUX Experience/Abrons Art Center), and Darnell Williams (After Midnight/Norwegian Cruise Lines).

Performance takes place on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 pm at Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street (at Astor Place), New York, NY 10003. Subway: N/R to 8th Street, 6 to Astor Place, B/DF/M Broadway/Lafayette. Running time: 90 minutes. Tickets are $20 and are available at

Anya is the inaugural winner of the Voice is a Muscle Grant from the Corporeal Voices Foundation which is run by best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch. The grant recognizes a writer of color from Oregon who demonstrates exemplary merit and a passion for social justice. Anya received a $10,000 grant from the foundation to help further develop Made to Dance in Burning Buildings.

About Urban Haiku

Urban Haiku is a Production Company located in Portland, Oregon that produces theatre, film, and interdisciplinary works that bridge the gap between innovative live performance, multi-media, and social justice in action. the company is dedicated to producing groundbreaking work that transcends the traditional boundaries of theatre while also serving as the catalyst for art and community action to combine for social change.

About Joe's Pub

Named for Public Theater founder Joe Papp, Joe's Pub at The Public opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public's mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe's Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, continuing its commitment to diversity, production values, community and artistic freedom. The organization also offers unique opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that provides musicians the resources and tools needed to develop original theater works. Commissioned artists have included Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Bridget Everett, Allen Toussaint and more. In 2011, the Pub received a top-to-bottom renovation, leading to improved sightlines, expanded seating capacity and a new menu from acclaimed Chef Andrew Carmellini. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe's Pub presents talent from all over the world as part of The Public's programming downtown at its Astor Place home, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.

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Photo Flash: MADE TO DANCE IN BURNING BUILDINGS Comes To Joe's Pub On 4/24

Photo Flash: MADE TO DANCE IN BURNING BUILDINGS Comes To Joe's Pub On 4/24

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