REDCAT Presents The World Premiere Of David Roussève's HALFWAY TO DAWN

REDCAT Presents The World Premiere Of David Roussève's HALFWAY TO DAWNREDCAT, CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, is pleased to present the World Premiere of Herb Alpert Award-winning choreographer David Roussève's newest work, Halfway to Dawn, Thursday, October 4 to Sunday, October 7, 2018.

Alpert Award-winning choreographer David Roussève mixes luscious movement for nine exquisite performers with bold video imagery to invoke the life and spirit of composer and arranger Billy "Sweet Pea" Strayhorn, who wrote such famous hits as A Train, Chelsea Bridge and Lush Life for Duke Ellington's orchestra, but was a relatively unknown African-American gay man living in Harlem of the '40s to the '60s.

The arranger and writer or co-writer of some of Ellington's greatest works was also an activist who was out as gay, and active in civil rights causes (and a committed friend of Dr. Martin Luther King). The core of Halfway to Dawn is Strayhorn's music as interpreted through a dynamic dance vocabulary melding jazz, modern/postmodern, and social dance forms.

A surreal sonic design by d. Sabela grimes surrounds vintage recordings of Strayhorn's songs, while video art by Cari Ann Shim Sham* gives the production a rich visual dynamic. For more information on the work, please visit

This is Roussève's third project with Cari Ann Shim Sham* (video), Chris Kuhl (lighting), and Leah Piehl (costumes); and his second with Lucy Burns (dramaturgy), and d. Sabela grimes (sound design). REALITY performing company members include Bernard Brown, Raymond Ejiofor, Dezaré Foster, Jasmine Jawato, Kevin Le, Julio Medina, Samantha Mohr, Leanne Iacovetta Poirier and Kevin Williamson.

Halfway to Dawn -The Work & The Meaning:

Responsible for writing such famous hits as "A Train," "Satin Doll," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Lush Life," Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) remains largely unknown. Halfway to Dawn seeks to capture the "truths" of the elusive artist's life by layering video-projected text conveying the biographical facts of Strayhorn's life, projected abstract video art exploring the emotional undercurrents of his journey, and expressionistic physical theater expanding the political urgency of his narrative into our own lives. Moveable screens are surfaces for the projection of historical footage that grounds the work in the Strayhorn era, even while lighting design moves the piece fluidly between past, present, and fantasy. A score including recordings from the '40-'50s of Strayhorn songs allows the famously private artist to emerge and "speak for himself" through his music. The songs are immersed within a larger sound design that - like the video element - references historical material, but ultimately creates a contemporary, abstract, and wholly original digital tapestry.

Issues of fame, privacy, and creative authorship have never been more resonant than now, when popular culture has redefined fame - not art - as the goal itself, when social media over-sharing has obliterated privacy, and when digital platforms have further blurred the line between composing and arranging. Committed civil rights worker, Strayhorn is a supreme example of artist as activist. Ultimately, Halfway to Dawn redefines 'biography' as the intersection of fact, conjecture, comment, abstraction, and fantasy; as it seeks to uncover the complicated emotional 'truths' of Strayhorn's life while creating a dialogue on urgent social 'truths' of our own.

2018-2019 Halfway to Dawn Tour Schedule:

October 4-7, 2018 (World Premiere) REDCAT Los Angeles, CA
October 26, 2018 Open Spaces 2018 Gem Theater Kansas City, MO
November 9, 2018 ArtPower University of California, San Diego, CA
December 5-8, 2018 (East Coast Premiere) Brooklyn Academy Of Music Next Wave Festival Brooklyn, NY
February 1-2, 2019 Kelly Strayhorn Theater Pittsburgh, PA
March 2, 2019 NC State LIVE Raleigh, NC
March 30, 2019 Moss Arts Center Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA
April 5-7, 2019 Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans New Orleans, LA
April 13, 2019 Northrop Auditorium University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN

Visit for the most up-to-date confirmed booking schedule.

Halfway to Dawn is co-commissioned by REDCAT in cooperation with ArtPower at UC San Diego, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and NC State LIVE, Raleigh.

Halfway to Dawn was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Halfway to Dawn is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by REDCAT in partnership with ARTPower at UC San Diego, Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and NPN. |

Fiscal sponsorship provided by Foundation for Independent Artists, Inc. a non-profit organization administered by Pentacle (DanceWorks. Inc.). Pentacle is a non-profit management support organization for the performing arts. |

Halfway to Dawn was created in part during a residency at the Pillow Lab at Jacob's Pillow.

Halfway to Dawn
8:30pm Thursday, October 4, Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6 -
3:00pm on Sunday, October 7, 2018.

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