Six Songs from Ellis

University of Wyoming Dept. of Theatre & Dance presents

Six Songs from Ellis

Monday 5/14

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Cheyenne Civic Center

$5.00 - $10.00

Six Songs from Ellis
Six Songs from Ellis
Millions of immigrants and their stories entered the United States through the gates of Ellis Island during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in one of the greatest human migrations in the history of the world. Today, over 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry to this period of relatively open immigration through New York’s harbor.
Immigration and refugee crisis are as critical topics now as they were 100 years ago. Unsubstantiated fear and misinformation prompt current policies and actions of bias, beckoning reflection and awareness of who we are as a nation and the true diversity of our constitution. Attitudes toward access and response to need and crisis can benefit from stories – inspiring, cautionary, and human – of those who helped build this country.
Six Songs from Ellis is a multi-media dance-theatre work that centers on the oral histories of the immigrants and refugees who passed through Ellis Island. The piece was conceived by UW dance faculty member Marsha Knight, who was so affected by the opening of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 1990 that she began to consider the possibility of creating a work about the immigrant experience.
A seminal production was presented in 2009, and Knight’s subsequent extensive research of approximately 500 oral histories has resulted in a broader glimpse into the sea of possibilities for this piece, with approximately 88 individuals being represented to date.
Excerpts include themes of economically forced separation, quotas, genocide, exclusion, location (Syria, Ukraine), and religious bias, as well as reflections on freedom, access, economic contribution, and American identity.
The piece has a particular resonance in the current moment, as we as a nation consider again our relationship to immigrant voices. Depicting the immigrant experience as human and individual is at the heart of this work.
Venue Information:
Cheyenne Civic Center
510 W. 20th Street
Cheyenne, WY, 82001
http://www.cheyenneciviccenter.org/