Guggenheim Fellow and Bessie Award-winning choreographer David Roussève says that through his work he “hopes to create an empathetic conversation that transcends the boundaries of difference to communicate on the level of the heart.” In Halfway to Dawn, co-commissioned by Krannert Center, Roussève and his nine-member ensemble powerfully explore the legendary music and complicated emotional truths of Billy Strayhorn, the gay, African-American jazz composer and civil rights activist best known as Duke Ellington’s main arranger and writing partner. Roussève employs physical theatricality, video-projected text, historical footage, and abstract images to complement Strayhorn’s timeless music and to craft a breathtaking performance that excavates identity, social politics, and artistic brilliance.
Commissioned by ArtPower at UC San Diego; Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans; Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; NC State LIVE, Raleigh; REDCAT, Los Angeles. This presentation of Halfway to Dawn was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts‘ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Halfway to Dawn is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by REDCAT in partnership with ArtPower at UC San Diego, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and NPN. For more information, visit the NPN website.