“Art and social justice are powerful allies, and this is as good an example as I’ve ever seen”
Known for its innovative fusion of dance, text, music, and visual design, the JDPP Ensemble delves into the darkness to discover the light, drawing audiences into worlds that illuminate understanding and reflection. The company’s award-winning work can be seen throughout New England in theaters, at colleges and universities, prisons, and inner-city schools. Its collaborative repertory has been performed in major cities across the United States and Europe.
“Absolutely captivating—left me speechless!”
A Response and a Call
Begun in 2020 after George Floyd's murder and the calls for justice that ensued, 'A Response and a Call' is a platform for BIPOC artists including JDPP ensemble members, CT artists, and returned citizens, to share their work and their personal experience in addressing questions of racism, diversity, and inclusion. Framed in conversations with host and curator, Mellissa Craig the series invites its guests to respond to such topics as Black struggle, joy, resilience, and hope as they navigate the complicated landscape of life in America. Audiences are encouraged to engage in the discussion and respond to the idea of a call to action on these issues. What can each of us do to end racism in America? Visit our YouTube page to see past episodes of this series.
“It is still incubating within me. Openness, acceptance and compassion are definitely foremost in my mind and actions.”
In the Presence of Trees
In the Presence of Trees JDPP’s latest performance project and first dive into environmental justice comprises a series of seasonal works that speak to the wisdom of trees and the urgent need to preserve them. Focusing on themes of community, care for others, metamorphosis, legacy, rebirth and hope, In the Presence of Trees is innovatively installed in various parks in the Greater Hartford region. The dancers move elegantly and authentically through the life cycle of the canopy and its importance as a model for humans and for preserving the earth. The symbiotic bond between forest and dancer is also captured through the incredible eye of videographer PJ Brockett of Mindspin LLC in an accompanying film series for the project.
“So many teachings…the importance of giving back, the relations between us all (seen and unseen), the beauty and peace to be found in nature, art, ourselves…”
ColorFields embodies JDPP’s signature artistry, interpreting visual image and spoken word through dance and movement. Produced in partnership with New Britain Museum of American Art and in cooperation with the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, ColorFields is a deep exploration into Helen Frankenthaler’s work and process to bring her inspirations and creative choices to life. The painter’s pioneering use of color, the centrality of the improvisational moment in her work, and her inspiration in nature are key touchstones expressed in this work. The 2021 exhibit, Helen Frankenthaler: Late Works, 1990 – 2003, was a particular catalyst for the project.
“I completely felt like I was watching the heart of a painter!”
Emergence: Originally commissioned as a site-specific work by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center partnered with New Orleans artist, jackie sumell’s installation, Solitary Garden, Emergence highlights the extreme isolation and confinement of incarceration through the authentic voices of JDPP program participants who reside in or have returned from prison along with JDPP Ensemble members. Interfacing dance, spoken word, and song, themes are drawn from Harriet Beecher Stowe and Albert Woodfox’s writings – isolation, despair, hope, and freedom – that chronicle the impact of incarceration on individuals, families, and society as magnified by the recent experiences of confinement in the pandemic.
“This work had and will continue to have a lasting impression on me….. a solid reflection of the human experience and how we are all alike and deserve humane treatment.”
Unmuting This brave and powerful piece, offered under our Stepping Out program, focuses on the complicated road to discovering voice and being heard within carceral settings and after returning to the community. First-person stories break open issues of incarceration through spoken word, dance, and song that movingly portray questions of confinement, choice, separation from family, accountability, and freedom. Originally commissioned by Trinity College English Department’s Allan K. Smith Endowment in 2022, the performance invites the audience to engage in dialogue, expand awareness, activate constructive change, and understand art as a gateway to healing.
“Every single performance was so powerful, it brought me to tears. The strength and courage of each person blew me away.”
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JDPP, Inc. is a 501c(3) organization.