The Watershed (2014)

By A.I.M

Jeremy Jae Neal in The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

The Watershed reflects on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa. Artistic Director Kyle Abraham muses, "What are the gains and losses we’ve had? How are we viewing those gains and losses and what is the perspective on them, especially as Americans?"

The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

Abraham began working on The Watershed after a visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto, South Africa. While there, he became fixated on the power of perception, and the ways that the 13-year-old Pieterson’s death in an anti-Apartheid protest shines a spotlight on questions of personal choice and collective rights in the struggle for freedom.

Jeremy Jae Neal and Tamisha Guy in The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

The Watershed asks the audience to both reflect on the past and to consider where we are today: What are the gains and losses we’ve had? How are we viewing those gains and losses and what is the perspective on them, especially as Americans? For Michael Brown, Tyler Clementi, Eric Garner, Islan Nettles, and the countless other faceless and nameless women and men facing violence and discrimination, these questions still have terrible resonance.

Jordan Morley, Penda N'diaye and Connie Shiau in The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

“Everyone has some version of a story of oppression in some way, shape or form so the work is not meant to isolate,” Abraham said in an interview for Out Magazine. It is also “heading toward hopeful.”

The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

For the sets of The Watershed, Abraham collaborated with visual artist Glenn Ligon. "He’s such a brilliant person," Abraham says. "When Glenn’s in the space with us, he’ll give me feedback or a historical reference on dance or the music I’m playing with. He has such a working knowledge of our history."

Glenn Ligon Collaborates with Kyle Abraham for World Premieres, Video by New York Live Arts, 2014, From the collection of: A.I.M
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Jeremy Jae Neal and Tamisha Guy in The Watershed by Steven Schreiber (2014) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

The Watershed was created to live in a skin well aware of the cyclical hardships of our history, and the very present fear of an unknowable future.

Credits: Story

Choreography: Kyle Abraham in collaboration with A.I.M
Lighting and Video Design: Dan Scully
Set Design: Glenn Ligon
Costume Design: Karen Young
Sound Design: Sam Crawford
Scenic Production Coordinator: Joseph Silovsky

Original Performance by Kyle Abraham, Matthew Baker, Winston Dynamite Brown, Tamisha Guy, Catherine Ellis Kirk, Penda N’diaye, Jeremy “Jae” Neal, Jordan Morley, Connie Shiau

The Watershed was commissioned and produced by New York Live Arts through its Resident Commissioned Artist Program, with lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Watershed is supported, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The work was developed, in part, through a production residency at On the Boards with support from the National Dance Project, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Support was also provided to New York Live Arts for the commissioning of this work by MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sets for The Watershed were commissioned, in part, by Rick Beyer.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Black History and Culture
The past, present, and future of the Black experience in the United States
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