Capital One City Parks Foundation Summerstage is virtually celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The New York City concert series, now known as Summerstage Anywhere, is having a digital day of dance on Friday, June 19, with hourly tribute performances starting at 12:00 p.m. EST leading up to a panel discussion at 7:00 p.m. Originally planned to be held in-person, the Juneteenth event will be free and fully virtual on Summerstage’s Instagram and YouTube channels.
Performers include RudduR Dance, who will perform an excerpt of their three-part contemporary ballet “Witness” at 6:00 p.m. “Witness” intertwines art and activism to depict the past, present, and future of race in America. During his candidacy, current French president Emmanuel Macron visited a rehearsal. RudduR Dance was founded in 2015 by Guggenheim fellow Christopher Rudd.
At 7:00 p.m., Hope Boykin of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will host a panel discussion called “Reflecting the Times.” Boykin, an alumna of Howard University, is a three-time recipient of the American Dance Festival’s Young Tuition Scholarship. Following the panel, there will be a tribute performance of “Hanging Tree” featuring Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet (JGCO) Dance Theatre, vocalist Marcelle Davies-Lashley, and poet Carl Hancock Rux. For almost 25 years, JGCO has performed across the United States as well as internationally.
Observed annually on June 19, Juneteeth celebrates the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. Following the U.S. Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation still had yet to be enforced in Texas until Union general George Granger issued an order in Galveston freeing the last remaining slaves in the Confederacy.
“As a Black woman in America, I am a direct beneficiary of the struggles and battles for justice and I stand on the shoulders of those who fought and continue to fight for my freedom,” said Danni Gee, Dance Curator and Music Programming Associate for SummerStage. “I am honored to be able to celebrate this important anniversary of Juneteenth in our country’s history on SummerStage Anywhere. I am proud to present this program even more so in light of current events and it is crucial to me that the communities we serve know that we stand with them.”