Building an informed and involved public audience for contemporary performance is central to the work of David Roussève/REALITY. Roussève has an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience in planning and conducting educational and engagement activities with people of many ages, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, and backgrounds.  

In addition to the engagement activities listed below, the company is eager to work imaginatively with presenters in designing unique activities that resonate with the artistically-diverse, socially-poignant themes of the work while addressing the needs of local communities.  

  • Pre-show talk and/or post-performance Q&A.  
  • Technique master classes.  Catered to the level of the students, classes are in Halfway to Dawn’s unique movement vocabulary that fuses jazz, modern, and postmodern movement languages.
  • Repertory classes.  Classes include the teaching of jazz-infused dances from Halfway to Dawn.  (For intermediate/advanced dance students).
  • Dance Composition workshops.  Workshops focus on the dance/theater techniques used in the development of Halfway to Dawn.  (For advanced choreographers and dancer/choreographers.)
  • Lecture with video by Roussève on Creating Socially Engaged Art: Can Dance Change the World?  Inspired by Billy Strayhorn’s dedication to direct activism in the civil rights movement, Roussève tracks the political themes within his own work and the evolution of his own choreographic focus on ‘the artist as activist’.
  • Lecture with video by Roussève on Redefining Biography: The Journey of ‘Halfway to Dawn’ The artist speaks to the evolving notion of ‘biography’ within his own work; culminating with Halfway to Dawn’s attempt to expand the notion of ‘biography’ by capturing the larger ‘truth’ of a life through layering biographical fact, conjecture, and fantasy. 
  • Public Conversation: A Choreographer Responds to the Ellington/Strayhorn Can on.  A conversation with Roussève around his experience choreographing to the great American Ellington/Strayhorn songbook.  From the perspective of the choreographer, but geared towards the music community, the conversation will be led by a local community member selected by the presenter.
  • Lecture with video on "Dance for Camera".  Lecture by Roussève on his work for film including the screening of his award-winning dance films, Two Seconds After Laughter and Bittersweet.  This activity provides an accessible entry into Roussève’s work.
  • Class visits within academia.  The life and music of Billy Strayhorn can foster potent conversation within a range of academic disciplines including programs and departments in Dance, Music, Theater, LGTBQ studies, African American studies, American History, and Social Studies.  Roussève and dancers visit classes for conversation moderated by the instructor to discuss Billy Strayhorn’s relevance to their area of study.
  • Feedback workshop for local artists.  A two-hour workshop with Roussève and performers/choreographers from the cast.  Workshop is limited to six visual or performing artists from the local community from any form or genre who would like to be in conversation about their own work.  Each artist will present their work on video or live, discuss the intentions of their work, and receive feedback on the work from Roussève and the other artist participants.


photo: Jorge Vismara