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Flying to Freedom
Bayview Opera House, San Francisco, CA

Bayview Opera House, Inc. in collaboration with Zaccho Dance Theatre presented this special Juneteenth performance of Flying to Freedom, on June 16 & 17, 2023.

Directed and curated by Joanna Haigood, this performance explored the theme of liberation. Juneteenth is a national holiday that celebrates the day (June 19, 1865) enslaved people in Texas were informed of their emancipation, two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

This free community performance showcased the work of local music, theater, dance, and aerial artists reflecting on their own understanding/definition of liberation. Featured artists included Steven Anthony Jones, Tossie Long, Alice Sheppard, amara tabor smith, Veronica Blair, Toni Cannon, Erik Raymond K. Lee, Jason Span, and Zaccho Youth Company. Haigood provided creative prompts to the performers, weaving together the artists’ material into a coherent whole.

The project also involved a joyful and imaginative community event on April 20, 2023, at the Bayview Opera House, asking attendees to consider what it means to achieve individual and collective liberation through an interactive experience of art, music, and community conversation.

For blind and visually impaired audience members, Zaccho Dance Theatre partnered with Gravity Access Services to offer live audio description for the Saturday, June 17th performance at no extra cost. Audio description is a live audio track spoken by a professional audio describer to audience members with visual impairments through a wireless headset system. It provides clear and engaging descriptions of the meaningful visual details of a performance. ASL interpreters were also provided during both performances.

Direction and Curation: Joanna Haigood
Rigging Design: David Freitag
Lighting Design: Allen Wilner

Veronica Blair, Toni Cannon, Steven Anthony Jones, Erik Raymond K. Lee, Tossie Long with Jamil Nasim, Jamey Williams, and the N.T.B. Trio, Alice Sheppard, Jason Span, amara tabor smith, and Zaccho Youth Company

Premiere Date
June 16-17, 2023

Premiere Location
Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre
Bayview Opera House, Inc., San Francisco, CA

Funders / Commissioners
Flying to Freedom was commissioned by Bayview Opera House, Inc.

This program was made possible with generous support from the City of San Francisco's Dream Keeper Initiative, Office of Economic & Workforce Development, and Grants for the Arts as well as the Kimball Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Fleishhacker Foundation.

Photo / Video Credits
Videographer: Focal Point Films, LLC
Photographers: Brittsense and Brandon Davis
Postcard/poster and program: Charlie Formenty

All photographs, videos, and other materials on this website are owned by Zaccho Dance Theatre. All rights reserved.

Please contact Zaccho Dance Theatre at for permission to use and/or access additional materials not currently made available on this website.