Dance Mogul Magazine Exclusive…
Dance Mogul: This month, NBT is taking over 125th Street, tell us about what this month and year means for your brand as a whole?
Jonathan McCrory: As National Black Theatre (NBT) is celebrating 50 years of continuous operation, innovation, vision, and mission forged by our founder Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, having a production like 125th & FREEdom that returns us back to our roots is really fulfilling. It gives us the opportunity to go back to our ensemble base practice and back to doing work inside of the community, engaging the community first-hand which is rewarding. The work is necessary and it helps to remind us as an institution and to remind the community, that we are here as a present pulse institution built to embrace and love the people that we serve. Did I mention that 125th & FREEdom is 100% free?
Dance Mogul: With social media and the peaked interest in dance at times it can become over saturated, how do you guys stay relevant purposeful?
Jonathan McCrory: NBT stays relevant and purposeful by curating pieces that awaken and uplift the present pulse conversations impacting us today. We are also seeking to creatively express those topics in non-conventional ways.
Dance Mogul: How do you hope to engage the young people in your community and get them to value the art side of their culture?
Jonathan McCrory: NBT is engaging young people through our programming because the work is family friendly, current, and not reductive. In particular, for 125th & FREEdom due to the participatory nature of the work creator-choreographer, Ebony Noelle Golden has crafted a five-hour duration experience that presents moments of digestion, reflection, interaction, and motivation for both the audience and the performers.
Dance Mogul: What can people expect from all the events you will be producing this year?
Jonathan McCrory: People can expect National Black Theatre to stay true to our core values throughout all of our programming. And that is creating a home for black innovation, liberation, and expression, working from a space of healing and love.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Jonathan McCrory: The list of thank you feel endless because how I got to this moment and will continue is on the shoulders of millions of people. I want to just express that anyone who has invested time, energy, or monetary support into NBT, thank you. Thank you for believing in a vision. Thank you for inspiring the continuation of a necessary oasis for black artists to be able to utilize their gifts to heal, to love and to be seen.
To learn more about Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, visit www.nationalblacktheatre.org, follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @natblacktheatre, or on Facebook at @NationalBlackTheatre