A site-specific dance performance through San Francisco's historic Bayview.
SOMArts Cultural Center is proud to partner with The Global Street Dance Masquerade to present The Black Lives Masquerade on Saturday, February 25. Beginning at Zaccho Dance Theatre (1777 Yosemite Ave) at 3:00 pm, this site-specific dance performance will travel through the Bayview neighborhood to remember and honor those who have been lost due to police brutality and injustice. The performance procession will finish at the Bayview Opera House (4705 3rd St) with a community celebration and reception.
The Black Lives Masquerade created by artistic director Rashad Pridgen and an ensemble of performers is developed as part of a year-long residency at SOMArts that culminates in the creation of a full-body masquerade suit for site-specific performances. Honoring lives lost in San Francisco and across the country due to police brutality, the Black Lives Masquerade will inspire and challenge audience members to recommit to the struggle for racial justice.
Paying homage to the ancient tradition of masquerading worldwide, The Global Street Dance Masquerade (GSDM) recognizes the root of this multi-dimensional ritual coming from the African continent and its diaspora. Integrating contemporary street dance practices, the GSDM reveals linkages between urban contemporary and traditional dance techniques. The GSDM seeks to embrace ceremonial performance to activate urban environments and engage diverse audiences.
As Pridgen notes, "Humans have used the masquerade (dance under cloth & adornment) to embody ancestors, angelic beings, spirit animals, earth elements and energies from the unknown for thousands of years. The power of the Global Street Dance Masquerade articulates this otherworldly experience to bring it forward into the 21 century."
The Black Lives Masquerade is part of a series of performances made possible in part by a grant from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Subsequent Global Street Dance Masquerade performances presented in partnership with SOMArts will include a A Masquerade for Prince (escorted by the Alphabet City) in San Francisco's Central Market neighborhood on April 29, 2017 and a final performance at SOMArts on May 6, 2017.
The Black Lives Masquerade will begin at 3:00 pm at Zaccho Dance Theatre on Saturday, February 25. Volunteers will be stationed along the performance route to direct audience members.
Photos by Tommy Lau and Elijah Ndoumbe