Bricks & Bones

A performance series in response to the erasure of Black lives and communities in Dallas, Texas, and the movements to recover, rebuild and honor those lost histories.

Bricks & Bones, a multi-year project co-directed by Cassie Meador and Paloma McGregor, brought Maryland-based Dance Exchange and Dallas community members together to collaboratively weave dance, song, and story telling into an intergenerational investigation of how race shapes the landscape around us. Throughout different locations in Dallas, the Bricks & Bones performance series in November 2015  invited audiences to travel backward and forward in time to reflect on the current racial landscape and asks how each of us takes a step in moving racial equity forward.

Through this initiative, Dance Exchange leveraged the practice rooted in artistic process and performance to work alongside Dallas communities to raise ongoing struggles for racial equity in the public consciousness, and to build capacities for change in Dallas’ institutions, policies, and practices. Dance Exchange has been a proud partner of Dallas Faces Race since 2012, a community coalition of over 300 Dallas based organizations; numerous national partners; and countless individuals dedicated to recognizing, confronting, and dismantling racial in equity and injustice.

Listen and read about our time in Dallas: Facing Dallas’ Racial History – Through Dance (KERA FM – Dallas NPR)

Together, Dance Exchange and Dallas Faces Race gathered a new network of collaborators including community and faith leaders, poets, writers, singers, and local activists. We laid the foundation to leverage the opportunities dance provides for vivid, embodied learning, understanding, and action – necessary tools for navigating challenging issues and activating the potential for change.

While in Dallas, Dance Exchange engaged small groups in participatory, thematic workshops, which is a crucial aspect of the sustainability of this initiative moving forward at the African American Museum, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Billy Dade Middle School, and the South Dallas Cultural Center. With members of the Dallas community including students, they premiered an evening-length work at the South Dallas Cultural Center that uncovered the hidden histories of the historic Freedman’s Town, where the current Arts District is situated. Through dance, song, and storytelling, artists took the Dallas public on a journey that traveled backwards and forwards in time to examine the role racial inequity, and the struggles to transform it, have played in shaping the local landscape. The work also invited community members to participate in the process and perform alongside Dance Exchange artists Paloma McGregor, Cassie Meador and Matthew Cumbie.

Read more about the history of this project here and read a reflection from the artists about the past, present, and future of Bricks & Bones here.


This project was produced in partnership with:

Ignite Arts Dallas