Exploring Legal Forced Labor In Tabula Rasa Dance Theater’s Upcoming Performance

Amy Fine Collins and Joanna Fisher hosted an intimate lunch at Fisher’s Manhattan residence to celebrate the upcoming premiere of Inside Our Skins by Tabula Rasa Dance Theater. The new work will address the injustices of mass incarceration and the legal practice of forced labor, permitted under the 13th Amendment’s exception, which allows for slavery “as a punishment for crime.” In attendance was Agnes Gund; through her Art For Justice Fund is a major donor of the much anticipated production.

Male dancers clad in gas masks carried a women in chains and performed a brief passage to live music provided by MusicTalks Baroque Ensemble lead by Elad Kabilio on cello accompanied by violin and the obo.

Inside Our Skins opens at New York Live Arts May 15 through 18. This dance piece evokes both historical and present-day experiences of the incarcerated. Tickets are priced at 63¢, the average hourly pay for incarcerated workers in New York State. Said the irrepressible Mrs. Fisher, “I know the price, but I’m not sure about making change. You may have to give full dollars. It’s worth it. I hope you’ll all make contributions because the work is so important.”

Tabula Rasa Dance Theater is concerned with the pressing social and cultural problems of our times, and with the historical precedents for them. Tabula Rasa Dance Theater’s minimalistic, explosive, and provocative work is performed by a diverse company of 12 dancers, from 9 different countries. Founded by Felipe Escalante, his choreography incorporates elements from a variety of dance techniques and embraces the human body, in all its pain, beauty, poetry, and ugliness. Escalante believes choreography must elicit powerful and sometimes difficult emotional responses and transcend time and place.

Tickets are just 63 cents. Symbolic of New York State’s average wage for incarcerated workers. To purchase tickets go to: https://newyorklivearts.org/artist/tabula-rasa-dance-theater/

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