Skirball Center for the Performing Arts - New York University

“Epic, vivid, and volatile, Minstrel Show hits its mark.” Seattle Times

The Minstrel Show Revisited interrogates and critiques the 19th Century black-faced entertainment genre whose legacy is still felt today and continues to play a significant role in cultural stereotyping.

The work addresses current racial issues while shining the light on racist aspects of American history that are difficult to discuss. By using the conventions of the 19th Century Minstrel Show, including the once common tradition of “black face,” Byrd and his remarkable dancers confront audiences with the past and present manifestations of racism and perpetuation of stereotypes embedded in American culture and tradition.

“The black-faced mask of minstrel shows is a lingering image from America's past that still inflicts wounds today through its psychic hold...In the future if we are to be free from its terrible grip we must confront it boldly and courageously by staring back into its face and laughing at the absurdity of its representation until it no longer has the power to hurt us. Only then will it be vanquished and we are free to be.” Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd’s work as a choreographer achieved international visibility with the creation of the Harlem Nutcracker and a Tony Award nomination for his 2006 choreography of Broadway’s The Color Purple. He has created more than 80 modern dance pieces for his own groups as well as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet. He was a fellow at The Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University for three years. His unbounded appetite to explore the arts has fueled his artistic vision for Spectrum Dance Theater since 2002 and has evolved the company into one of regional and national significance.

Become an NYU Skirball Member today!The Minstrel Show Revisited by Spectrum Dance Theater

 

Beyond the Stage

October 28 | 6:30
 

Pre-Show Lobby Talk

From Representation to Reality: Blackface Minstrelsy in Past and PresentJoin us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Matthew Morrison, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. 

This pre-show discussion will give a brief history of the first original form of popular entertainment in the U.S., Blackface Minstrelsy, and how this performance style  has continued to impact American popular entertainment, identity, and culture into the present day. 

 
October 28 | POST-SHOW
 

Post-Show Discussion

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Arielle Andrews, President of the Black Student Union at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd.

 
October 29 | 6:30
 

Pre-Show Lobby Talk

From Minstrelsy to Miley Cyrus: A Round Trip: Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Daniel Charnas, Associate Arts Professor at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

 
October 29 | POST-SHOW
 

Post-Show Discussion

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Deborah Jowitt, Master Teacher in Dance at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd.

 
October 30 | 7:00
 

Pre-Show Lobby Talk

Join us before the performance for a pre-show lobby talk and Q&A with Awam Amkpa, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. 

October 30 | POST-SHOW
 

Post-Show Discussion

Join us directly after performance for a post-show discussion and Q&A with Kwami Coleman, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in Gallatin School at NYU, in conversation with Donald Byrd.

 


 

Show includes 15-minute intermission.

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