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Anya Pearson: Made to Dance in Burning Buildings

Joe's Pub

April 24

Doors at 6PM
Show at 7PM

Made to Dance in Burning Buildings by Anya Pearson is a fusion of poetry, theatre, and violent and visceral contemporary dance, which poses the question: how do we heal from trauma?

It's about Ava, a young black woman, who is raped by her boyfriend's friends while he watches; she develops PTSD as a result. Metaphorically, she fractures into five different women who each represent a different facet of her personality (Romance, Despair, Madness, Perseverance, and Missing You). Poetically, these women narrate her journey through PTSD while she, her first love, and her abusers explore through dance the trauma and the events leading up to it. 

Based on a true story, and inspired by the original choreopoem, Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls, this play seeks to revolutionize the theatrical experience by combining poetry and breath-taking and gut wrenching contemporary dance to tell an all too familiar story in a brand new way.  

For the play, Anya is the inaugural winner of the $10,000 Voice is a Muscle Grant from the Corporeal Voices Foundation which is run by best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch. The grant recognizes a writer of color from Oregon who demonstrates exemplary merit and a passion for social justice.  

This showcase production is directed by Jamie M. Rea and choreographed by Emily Bufferd. Anya Pearson will play the character Lady of Utmost Perseverance. 

“Who needs to watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ when you have Emily Bufferd’s innovative choreography?” -

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Photo Credit: David Hiller