Commissioned by the renowned Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Picture Powderhorn was the first production in Zaccho Dance Theatre’s Picture Trilogy. Picture Powderhorn was an interdisciplinary, site specific performance piece exploring the hopes and dreams of the residents of Powderhorn, Minnesota, a diverse working class residential neighborhood that has been transitioning demographically. Recently, Powderhorn has drawn national attention as the place where George Floyd was killed by four Minneapolis policemen.
Zaccho Dance Theatre’s Picture Trilogy also includes Picture Red Hook (2002) and Picture Bayview Hunters Point (2018).
Throughout America, Black and brown working class neighborhoods are often depicted as violent, poverty stricken and filled with poorly educated residents who don’t possess family values or professional goals. Not only is this interpretation inaccurate, it is also dehumanizing in its one dimensional portrayal of complex circumstances and social issues. Although these communities may be deeply impacted by violence and crime stemming from gross inequities in economic opportunities and the realities of systemic racism, it would be wrong to assume that all residents of neighborhoods like Red Hook, Powderhorn, and Bayview Hunters Point participate in these behaviors. In fact, most residents are hard working, community-oriented, and driven by visions for their future success.
These misconstrued images and struggles of residents and their home is the source of inspiration for Joanna Haigood’s Picture Trilogy which illustrates, through image, voice, and movement how Black people are more than their circumstances. Each piece was designed in resistance to the persistent messages and displacement tactics that attempt to maintain the oppression of Black and brown people.
Beginning in 1999 a large number of Powderhorn residents were interviewed and videotaped by Joanna Haigood and her collaborators as part of the research process for this production. Performances included interview excerpts along with various other imagery that was projected to a height of 100 feet onto the 12-story Marquette Grain Terminal located just outside the neighborhood. Spectacular aerial choreography allowed the seven member Zaccho dance company to interact with the images, architecture, and soundscore while suspended in the air. The idea of grain as sustenance underscores the wishes of the inhabitants for the sustainability of their community.
Choreography and Direction: Joanna Haigood
Video Artist: Mary Ellen Strom
Composer: Lauren Weinger
Scenic and Rigging Design: Wayne Campbell
Lighting Design: Jack Carpenter
Ramon Ramos Alayo, Jadson Caldeira, Suzanne Gallo, Jo Kreiter, Sheila Lopez, Joanna Haigood, with appearances by Brad Fullington and Shari Aaronson
Marquette Grain Terminal (ConAgra), Minneapolis, MN
Funders / Commissioners
Co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center in association with the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association
Picture Powderhorn was made possible with generous support from the OnSite Performance Network, a program of Dancing in the Streets, and funding from the Charles E. Culpepper Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation
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