An Evolving Work
Anna Myer and Dancers is collaborating with Youth Link, an
initiative of the North American Family Institute (NAFI), on a
large-scale, community-building project called Hoop Suite.
Combining contemporary dance, hip hop, rap, poetry, violin,
cello and drums, it will feature performances both on stage
and on basketball courts turned into theaters-in-the-round.
"Hoop" refers to the basketball hoop, the end point on most
playgrounds, while the basketball court offers a place where
kids go to settle scores, show their talent, impress each other
and shed the anger, grief and frustration that violence and
poverty can impose. The Hoop Suite Project uniquely
unites the stage with the challenges, tragedies and victories
of adolescence played out on the commonplace courts of
Hoop Suite stems from the Street Talk Suite Talk Project. Please visit the STST page for more info.
The Hoop Suite Project serves as a catalyst and a vehicle
for inner-city youth to create and tell their poignant stories —
to their peers, to residents of diverse neighborhoods, and in
areas far beyond the inner city. Through literacy and the arts,
Hoop Suite offers a new platform for creative expression
from unheard voices seeking positive social change. Hoop
Suite attracts at-risk teenagers through their association
with sports, empowering them through dance and poetry to
build confidence and self-esteem and to strengthen literacy,
communication, collaborative and leadership skills. In its
first year, up to 50 at-risk Youth Link teens will collaborate
with AMAD to create a production that represents their
journey of self-identification and coming of age within the
context of the basketball court. In 2013, Hoop Suite will
expand its inner city recruitment and outreach to include
several suburban high schools as part of its mission to use
the performing arts to unite people of diverse backgrounds,
color and ethnicities.
Touring / Workshops – Hoop Suite will give young people a chance to work with experienced poets, dancers and musicians, who will guide and create with them a production that represent their journey of self-identification within the context of an artistic community.
Collaborating with local organizations, schools and community leaders, Anna Myer will identify poets and hip hop dancers to partake in workshops supported by NAFI Youth Link and other community organizations to develop
material that AMAD and participants will use to prepare their own dance material created from the poetry on location. The
original new work will be shaped into a perfomance during a three-week intensive residency, directed by Anna Myer
and her company with local poets, dancers and musicians. Staging of the "local Hoop Suite production will occur in
theaters and basketball courts in selected cities around the country to bring this unique artistic expression directly to
the communities of the performing teens.
The Hoop Suite Project aims at creating new
conversation, new community, and a new language that
unites the classically trained dancer with the street dancer,
the rapper with the classical musician, the rhythms of
basketball with the rhythms of modern dance, the emotions
of the stage and the emotions of the court. In this special
way, Hoop Suite offers young people a multidisciplinary
venue to reflect upon and share their journey of selfidentification with diverse cultural communities both in their own neighborhoods where their voices may not be heard or
valued, with the theatergoing public and beyond.
Move the Word Workshops
Myer strongly believes that artists should teach as a way to develop a deeper understanding of their craft, enrich connections with their audience, and fortify a sustainable artistic lifestyle. Poets and dancers, both from the community and/or the STST/NAFI PROJECT, will lead two separate workshops: The participants are taught how to create their own vocabulary and choreographic language by exploring relevant issues from their personal lives and within their neighborhoods. The spoken word material serves as the inspiration for creating solo dance phrases in the movement workshop, which will be integrated into the final production (stage two).
A professional drummer will work with teens who want to partake in the music aspect of the project. They will accompany the violins and cellos as part of the performance.
For information regarding this project and the NAFI Youth
Link programs, contact: Anna Myer, AMAD Artistic Director at (617) 513-9314
Jay Paris, NAFI Youth Link Executive Director at (617) 480-8238
North American Family Institute is a leading human
services organization that works with numerous state
and local agencies throughout the country in the delivery
of human services programs. It also has gained a national
reputation for pioneering interactive, inclusive trainings that
have significantly impacted public and nonprofit service