Everett Company: Heart-Wrenching Stories, Powerful Movement, Redemptive Imagery
BY KATHY VALIN · AUGUST 19TH, 2015 · FALL ARTS PREVIEW
This small, unique company brings its most recent work, The Freedom Project — a multi-media examination of the human tragedy of mass incarceration and the remarkable resilience of the human spirit — to the Aronoff Center Nov. 6 and 7. The performance opens Contemporary Dance Theater’s 2015-2016 season.The cast features dancer/performer Grace Bevilacqua, spoken-word poet Christopher Johnson, parkour expert James Monteiro, Hip Hop choreographer/dancer Sokeo Ros, creator/performer Ari Brisbon and Everett co-director and The Freedom Project director Aaron Jungels, a longtime choreographer and dancer. “Everett picks complicated subjects and then makes the most delightfully insightful work about it,” says CDT Artistic Director Jefferson James, who has invited the company to perform in Cincinnati multiple times over the years. “They’ve dealt with social issues by examining subjects like science, how the brain works, immigration, man’s amazing ability to imagine and explore and now with man’s inhumanity to man in The Freedom Project.” “I’ve always been interested in the variety that exists in contemporary dance — the pure movement work, the narrative dances, the totally abstract work and the dances that comment on the society, both good and bad, in which we live,” James continues. “A season with only one type of contemporary dance would be a mistake, I think.”
When asked how the 80-minute collage of videotaped interviews, movement and music that Jungels directed came together, he explains that The Freedom Project was researched for two years. The narrative arc of the performance is derived from interviews from both experts on the process of the criminal justice system and from the diverse, low-income Providence neighborhood in which Everett is based, where life-long entanglements with the criminal justice system are endemic. Since 1990, the company has offered classes and programs for free to those who can’t afford to pay, and company members now include these former students, some of whom have toured with the company for more than 10 years. Many of their vivid stories and those of others who have worked with Everett through the years are threaded through The Freedom Project.