Dance film by Bronx choreographer highlights the Black experience through the court justice system
Bronx residents will be able to get a first look before the rest of the world at a dance film by a local choreographer that focuses on the stories of the Black experience.
The film is Jeremy McQueen's second installment surrounding the juvenile justice system.
"'Wild' is a ballet like none other. I'm purely using the stories of justice-involved youth as the primary subject," McQueen explains.
As a choreographer and artist, McQueen has made it his mission to not only tell the stories of Black and brown people through dance and ballet, but to have people of color leading the entire process. This is something he had not seen while being involved in many productions, including Broadway national tours. This prompted him to launch the Black Iris Project in 2016 to bring to the spotlight the changes that need to be made, while also creating opportunities for others.
The second part of his most recent film project, "Wild, Act 1," will premiere exclusively to Bronx residents on Saturday ahead of the world premiere on Monday, March 15. The film focuses on the juvenile justice system through a 14-year-old who celebrates his birthday behind bars.
"So we get to really see cause and effects of isolation and what that does to childhood growth and development," McQueen says.
Besides the actual choreography, McQueen says there was a great deal of preparation, research and conversations with the dancers.
"Talking about our friends and family members who might have been justice-involved, and thinking about how those circumstances and those individuals have resonated throughout the rest of the family and that family dynamic," McQueen says.
The film is personal, raw and with the bigger goal, he says, of creating a greater sense of empathy and compassion by putting the voices of Black and brown youth, literally centerstage, through ballet.
McQueen hopes the film will inspire viewers in ways that maybe they never possibly imagined and to encourage them to strive forward.
McQueen says the plan is for part three of the film in May to be very engaging as they will take viewers on a bike tour of the Bronx and at different stops along the way there will be storytelling and performances.