Charles O. Anderson Dance Projects (formerly Dance Theatre X)

 

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“We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”– Langston Hughes

Charles O. Anderson Dance Projects (formerly known as dance theatre X) serves as the creative platform for Charles O. Anderson’s kinetic storytelling projects.  Through this project-driven entity Anderson recruits project-specific ensembles of guest artists who collaborate with him as dancers/performers, designers, and scholars during the creative and touring life of a project.  Founded in 2003 in Philadelphia, PA and now based in Austin, TX, COAD Project’s mission is to examine, promote, and enact liberatory aesthetic practices that provide space for social reflection, commentary, and critique in service to social justice.   Through “slashing yet lush, lyrical movements [that] weave with texts from literary heavyweights like W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and Essex Hemphill,” (Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Dance Magazine) Dance Theatre X’s goal is to create multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural dance-theatre and humanities projects that combat deeply entrenched generalized stereotypes by showing specific humanity and specific acts of humanity.

The choreographed works are rooted in kinetic storytelling. We are invested in creating pieces that serve as movement-driven testimonies of lived experience. Conjuring is the method through which which we develop these testimonies. Conjuring is taking what may seem like disparate ideas or movement elements and investigating their potential for meaning in service to a larger choreographic  and socio-political idea.

‘For My Own Protection’ by Essex Hemphill

I want to start an organization
to save my life.
If whales, snails, dogs, cats
Chrysler and Nixon can be saved,
the lives of Black men are priceless
and can be saved.
We should be able to save each other.
I don’t want to wait for the Heritage Foundation
to release a study saying
Black people are extinct.
I don’t want to be the living dead
pacified with drugs, sex and rock-n-roll.
If a human chain be formed
around nuclear missile sites,
then surely Black men can form
human chains around Anacostia, Harlem
South Africa, Wall Street, Hollywood
each other.

If we have to take tomorrow with blood
are we ready?
Do our s curls and dreadlocks and phillies
make us any more ready than a bush or a conkaline?
I’m not concerned
about the attire of a soldier.
All I want to know
for my own protection
is are we capable
of whatever
whenever.

Essex Hemphill
In The Life: A Black Gay Anthology (Edited by Joseph Beam)
p. 174