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Project 2050: Ashy Ankles (2000) Photo/Foto: HIDVL
  • Title: Project 2050: Ashy Ankles
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 00:03:17
  • Language: English
  • Date: 2000
  • Location: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Type-Format: performance
  • Cast: Cristina Delgado; Damaris Delgado; Jamille Hazard; Aisha Jordan; Mikiko Thelwel
  • Credits: Jamie Trahan and Mikiko Thelwell, creator; Yiannis Astor; Robert Bolden; Tiffany Campbell; Jamille Hazard; Cassie Madera; Elizabeth Pagan, collaborators ; Mikiko Thelwell; Mildred Ruiz; Roberta Uno, collaborators.

Project 2050: Ashy Ankles (2000)

One of New WORLD Theater’s artistic legacies is Project 2050, a multi-year youth arts initiative built on the demographic projection that people of color would become the majority in the United States by 2050. The program brought together professional artists, youth communities from Massachusetts, scholars, and community activists to engage civic dialogue and create original performances based on themes that addressed young performers’ dreams and concerns. Performances were created from workshops that included playwriting, poetry, breakdancing, drumming, beat boxing, lyricism, singing, songwriting, stepping, and visual art. In ‘Ashy Ankles,’ Project 2050’s young performers explore oppressive statements around race and gender that they have experienced as young women of color. This oppression is clearly structural when discrimination comes from the ones who must take care of youth and must empower students: the teachers. Repeating the line ‘lies my teacher told me’ with vigorous sound and noise, the young performers on stage materialize the contradictions and isolation they confronted within an education system intended to replicate the same spiral of abuse and discrimination that pervades society. The young women weave chorus song and wording with quickstep movement, thus being empowered by their bodies and voices. They re-appropriate the oppressive statements and affirm their identities from their own viewpoints as women of color, and unveil their teachers’ oppressive gesture claiming that ‘they lied.’ The piece ends with the young women stating ‘they lied’ to point out the false truth of the oppressive statements projected onto them, and defying any pretended determination of their future, showing themselves as creative and strong human beings. By inviting the audience with the statement ‘look at me know,’ they demonstrate that social change is possible from and through each empowered individual.


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