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THE TESTAMENT

A film by Brandon K. Calhoun, Jason Pickney

 

CREDITS

Shot by Jason Pickney, Wills Glasspiegel

Edited by Brand K. Calhoun

Video Produced by The Era Footwork Crew

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Twitter: @we_the_era_

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Special thanks to the artist featured in this video: Crystal James

 

Lead Funding for this project came from the Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation

THE TESTAMENT

 

The Testament is a response to the industries that surround dance  and to the times we’re currently facing in the world today. Too often  black bodies, black dancers, black anything is cast to the wayside. We  are forced to deal with the many faces of brutality. The Testament  speaks to dancers using battling as an instrument to fight oppression  that comes in any form.

THE ERA FOOTWORK CREW

 

The  Era Footwork Crew are pioneers of the battle dance known as Chicago  footwork. Since 2014, they have expanded upon what it means to be a  dance crew, addressing inequality and racism through their lyrics and  panel discussions and supporting women and girls in the history of  footwork through collaboration and documentation. They have performed  from Japan to Peru, performing and choreographing alongside leading  artists such as Chance the Rapper, DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, and Theaster  Gates. Institutions like the Field Foundation, the University of  Chicago, the Joyce Foundation, and NEFA (New England Foundation For The  Arts) have recognized The Era with grants in support of the group's  boundary-breaking artistic and social leadership. The Eras work has been  in short documentaries by VICE, CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company), and  the Chicago Tribune.     In 2019, The Era was awarded the recent  National Dance Prize from NEFA (New England Foundation For The Arts), a  $90k grant that puts The Era and IN THE WURKZ at the frontlines of  American concert dance. IN THE WURKZ by, The Era features Artists Jamal  "Litebulb" Oliver, Sterling "Steelo" Lofton, Brandon "Chief Manny"  Calhoun, Jemal "P-Top" De La Cruz, and William "Wills" Glasspiegel and  features P.I.C (Partners in the Circle) Diamond "Queen Diamond"  Hardimon, Elisha "Eleelee" Chandler. The story of IN THE WURKZ will also  build on The Era's lyrical approach to footwork with previous music  releases that have been in The FADER and other high-end press  surrounding music. With IN THE WURKZ, dancers have been able to narrate  their life stories through memories associated with footwork dancing --  from "juke parties" at roller rinks on the South Side to battles after  the Bud Billiken Parade in Jackson Park. Chicago themes will drive this  story about the life-saving power of footwork and community across  generations of dancers. This new project will tour nationally and  internationally in 2020-2021 with support from NEFA.

 

From  Chatham to Tokyo, our work calls attention to the history of footwork  across three generations of black dancers and also to the global scope  of this history as footwork continues to develop and expand. In the  words of the Chicago Tribune, which featured us in an Arts Section cover  story: "The Era has taken footwork back for Chicago." - Chicago Tribune

Thank you to our 2020 sponsors and partners:

Arts Foundation