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Ignite/Arts Dallas and South Dallas Cultural Center Present Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue by Junebug Productions, April 7-8


National Touring Show Highlights Stories of African American Communities

Through Dance, Music and Theater



DALLAS (SMU) --- SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ Ignite/Arts Dallas initiative and the South Dallas Cultural Center (SDCC) present the Dallas appearance of Junebug Productions’ nationally touring show Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue, April 7-8. Junebug, which is based in New Orleans, developed Gomela as an original, multi-disciplinary performance highlighting the stories and histories of New Orleans’ African American communities. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the SDCC, 3400 S. Fitzhugh, Dallas 75210. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at  For more information, call the SDCC at 214-939-2787.


Gomela, a Bantu word, means “to go back to/to return.” Directed by Stephanie McKee and developed by dancers Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton and poet Sunni Patterson, Gomela takes audience members on a journey through time and space. Illuminating the connection between Africa, Haiti and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, including spoken word, hip-hop and jazz. Each show will be followed by discussions with audience members who will be encouraged to share their own experiences, sparked by the performance.


Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home,” said McKee, the executive artistic director of Junebug Productions. “Gomela is based on hope, survival, courage and the resilience that exists in the face of oppression. It is about the heartbeat of a people that will never die, the culture and traditions that continue to evolve, grow and survive the test of time.”


“This works exemplifies the interdisciplinary narrative approach to storytelling that younger generations of artists are making today,” said Clyde Valentin, director of Ignite/Arts Dallas. “Junebug has an unprecedented history of making theater across the South for the last 40 years, and under their next generation of artistic leadership the work looks and feels like a mixtape, a painting, a documentary film, a poem all rolled into one. What hasn’t changed is the urgent need to tell the untold stories of struggle, resistance and resilience in the face of injustice. It’s an honor to be collaborating with South Dallas Cultural Center on bringing this production to Dallas.”

Lighting designer Evan Spigelman, sound designer Muthi Reed, projection designer Jason Foster, costume designer Ja’nese of Aya Designs and recorded music by trumpeter Troy Sawyer and singer Janet “Sula Spirit” Evans of Zion Trinity will bring life to the sights and sounds of Gomela.


Gomela was awarded a prestigious 2015 New England Foundation for the Arts National Theater Project creation and touring grant. The spring 2017 national tour includes performances in Dallas, San Antonio, Knoxville and other cities. Additional support for Gomela comes from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and Alternate ROOTS. 


About Junebug Productions

Junebug Productions is the organizational successor to the Free Southern Theater, which developed in the 1960s and used the arts to promote civil rights. The mission of Junebug Productions is to create and support artistic works that question and confront inequitable conditions that have historically impacted the African American community. Through interrogation, Junebug challenges itself and those aligned with the organization to make greater and deeper contributions towards a just society. For more information about Junebug Productions, please visit the website.


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Community-based projects to use creative practice to drive social change


New York, N.Y. – EmcArts is excited to announce Dallas, Texas and Buffalo, N.Y. as the next two cities to establish Community Innovation Labs (CIL), a nationwide program that addresses social issues by integrating artists with community-based change efforts. Following pilot Labs in Winston-Salem, N.C. and Providence, R.I., and a national, competitive open call, both Dallas and Buffalo were selected to participate based on the significant work and social infrastructure already in place in each community. 

By being deeply embedded in their respective communities and bringing together a diverse cross-section of stakeholders, including city agencies, community organizers, business leaders, artists, cultural organizations and nonprofit service providers, the Labs are designed to enable community stakeholders to build new connections and address complex challenges at the system level. The goal of the Lab program is to create long-lasting, well-connected networks in each city that empower communities to leverage artistic practices to bring about social change and advance progress on important civic issues. 

In late 2016, both Dallas and Buffalo Labs began a 15-month process to address their self-determined community challenges. “In this time of increased uncertainty and deepening inequities, traditional linear planning is not a sufficient response; a coalition of community stakeholders coming together to bring creative experimental approaches to persistent complex challenges is powerful and radical,” said Richard Evans, president of EmcArts. “Community Innovation Labs invite the cultural sector into the change process, priming the environment for creative collaboration. Building on our work in the pilot cities, EmcArts will work alongside the remarkable leaders and organizers in these two vibrant communities to advance a shared understanding of the system and to generate and rehearse new strategies for change that can be effective and long term.”


Buffalo, N.Y.

Convened by Open Buffalo, PUSH Buffalo and Ujima Theatre Company, Labmembers will explore the core question: “How can we use artistic practices to encourage community participation in a just transition to a new economy that uplifts and supports people, place, and planet?” With lead local funding by Open Buffalo, the Buffalo Lab will examine the intersection of economic practices, racism and climate change, and seek to discover a community economy model rooted in values of equity and sustainability. 

“Buffalo, New York’s second-largest city, is in the midst of rising economic inequities, where a select few are finding prosperity and most continue to fall behind. Without creative, innovative and inclusive solutions, the gap between the haves and have-nots in our city will only increase,” relayed Franchelle Hart, executive director of Open Buffalo. “The Community Innovation Lab offers us creative methodologies to tackle challenging work across sectors and tear down historic silos and segregation.”


Dallas, Texas

The Dallas Lab is convened by Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Meadows School of the Arts through its arts and social justice initiative, Ignite/Arts Dallas, and by Big Thought, the Embrey Family Foundation, Make Art with Purpose (MAP), and SMU’s Hunt Institute.  Using nutritional access as the hub to connect educational, economic and cultural opportunities for the community, Dallas Labparticipants will investigate the core question: “How can we work collectively to ensure equitable access to healthy food and nourishment for and with all the citizens of Dallas, using arts, creativity, and food itself as catalysts?” The Dallas Lab receives local funding from the Embrey Family Foundation and SMU Meadows School. Representatives from some 30 Dallas organizations and independent artists are participating in the Lab. 

“By bringing together stakeholders from all corners of Dallas, the Lab has already started meaningful conversations about how economic justice and economic security affect equitable food access,” said Clyde Valentin, director of SMU Meadows’ Ignite/Arts Dallas. “We are thrilled to be a partner in this initiative, which aligns so well with our own commitment to creating more just and vibrant communities by building connections between our students, the artistic community and the city of Dallas.”


Lab Principles

Working in ensembles, Labmembers from both cities will initiate new arts-based strategies for change over the course of 2017 with the support of $15,000 in grant funds. Funded in part by the Kresge Foundation, EmcArts’ Community Innovation Labs bring together learning from the fields of social innovation and creative placemaking. The process is undergirded by four key principles:

1. a focus on building dense, cross-sector networks

2. a willingness to slow down in order to see systems as a whole

3. an ability to harvest unique contributions from artists and cultural workers

4. a willingness to let go of linear planning in favor of experimental learning


By design, each Labfosters a deep commitment to collaboration, learning and experimentation. In each city, dense local networks of cultural and civic organizations, leaders and organizers are leveraged to build on existing capacity, reveal connections and enable sustainable change efforts. 

To learn more about EmcArts’ Community Innovation Labs framework and Round One cities (Winston-Salem, N.C. and Providence, R.I.), visit the EmcArts program webpage here.



EmcArts is a nationally recognized service organization for innovation and adaptive change. We work alongside people, organizations, and communities as they take on their most complex challenges. Through our rigorously designed and facilitated workshops, coaching, and intensive labs, we create the space and conditions to test innovative strategies and build cultures that embrace change. Our practice is deeply influenced by the artistic process, which we believe has a unique power to unlock entrenched assumptions and open up new ways of seeing.



The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit.  In 2014, the Board of Trustees approved 408 awards totaling $242.5 million. That included a $100-million award to the Foundation for Detroit’s Future, a fund created to soften the impact of the city’s bankruptcy on pensioners and safeguard cultural assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A total $138.1 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, their Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $20.4 million in 2014. For more information, visit



The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established at SMU in 1969 and named in honor of benefactor Algur H. Meadows, is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. The Meadows School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management and arts entrepreneurship, corporate communication and public affairs, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music, and theatre. The goal of the Meadows School of the Arts, as a comprehensive educational institution, is to prepare students to meet the demands of professional careers. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art, entrepreneurship, and change. The Meadows School of the Arts is also a convener for the arts in North Texas, serving as a catalyst for new collaborations and providing critical industry research. For more information, visit here.



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Aaron D'Eramo performs in Mercuric Tidings Photo by Paul Phillips

A diverse mix of modern, jazz and ballet pieces, including celebrated works by Paul Taylor and George Balanchine and a newer work by jazz dance faculty member Brandi Coleman, will be presented at SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ Spring Dance Concert, April 5-9 in the Bob Hope Theatre at SMU.

The program opens with the short classical ballet Valse-Fantaisie (or “fantasy waltz”), choreographed by George Balanchine for New York City Ballet in 1967. The whirlwind dance features a lead couple and four additional women and is set to fast, light music by Mikhail Glinka, Russia’s first national composer. The music and dreamy, romantic costumes create a magical atmosphere in which the dancers seem to take flight. Deceptively simple in its steps and structure, Valse-Fantaisie is difficult to perform yet exhilarating to watch.

The concert continues with What We Do With Time, a rhythm-driven jazz work by Artist-in-Residence Brandi Coleman. The work is based in Jump Rhythm® Technique, a rhythm-generated system of dance training created by Billy Siegenfeld that focuses on percussive energy as a means of expressive dancing. Coleman is the associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project (JRJP), an Emmy Award-winning performing and teaching company that celebrates the communal core of jazz performance: dancing, scat-singing and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated conversations. What We Do With Time is a quirky, emotion-infused, tongue-in-cheek commentary on stress overload as it impacts one’s journey from isolation to communal engagement. 

Concluding the program is Paul Taylor’s masterwork Mercuric Tidings, described by New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff as “a dance that seemingly bursts into song.” Set to symphonic music by Schubert, it is alternately physically propulsive and elegantly introspective, making it one of Taylor’s most demanding yet poetic creations.  Nationally acclaimed dance alumna Annmaria Mazzini, who recently retired from the Paul Taylor Dance Company after a dozen years as one of PTDC’s principal dancers, spent three weeks at SMU helping train and prepare the students for the concert. In addition, alumnus and current Taylor company principal dancer Michael Trusnovec provided coaching for three days in February while he was in Dallas for a PTDC performance at the Eisemann Center.

Mercuric Tidings demands a speed, strength and navigational skill that pushes its performers to their athletic and mental edges,” said Mazzini, who is now resident choreographer of the American Modern Ensemble and artistic director of the Mazzini Dance Collective in New York. “Achieving this as an individual is the first step, but when every dancer embodies the power and purpose of the entire 13, it becomes pure Taylor magic. It’s so wonderful to see that happening for these dancers. Their collective exuberance is palpable and thrilling, and the joy they are exuding is absolutely genuine, contagious and beautiful to behold!”

Spring Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students, SMU faculty and staff.  The Bob Hope Theatre is located inside the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 214-768-2787 or visit

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 Award-winning journalist is first female editor of a national sports magazine


DALLAS (SMU) – Alison Overholt, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, will give the William J. O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism at SMU at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. The first female editor of a national sports magazine, Overholt will speak about her experiences in rising to the top in a male-dominated industry, and about the growing prominence of women in sports. The lecture takes place in O’Donnell Hall, Room 2130 of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. For further information call 214-768-3695. The O’Neil Lecture Series is presented by the Division of Journalism at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Overholt serves as editor-in-chief of both ESPN The Magazine (since February 2016), a biweekly print publication, and espnW (since April 2014), a digital product suite targeted to female athletes and their fans. At espnW, she is responsible for developing comprehensive content strategies through digital, mobile, social, print, video and events. At ESPN The Magazine, she drives collaborative, innovative approaches to storytelling, with oversight of producing ESPN’s multiplatform enterprise content. Under her direction, ESPN The Magazine just won the magazine industry’s highest honor, the 2017 National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

Overholt first joined ESPN in 2005 as general editor, sports business and lifestyle for ESPN The Magazine. In 2007, she was elevated to senior editor, special projects, ESPN The Magazine, overseeing its enterprise and investigative team, as well as managing the publication’s Olympics and X Games coverage.  In 2009, Overholt was part of ESPN’s early efforts to research and develop a sports media offering for women and was espnW’s founding editor.

She began her career as a writer and editor at Fast Company magazine, and her writing has also appeared in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, O: The Oprah Magazine, MORE,Working Mother, Cosmopolitan, Inc.,Sports Illustrated: Women and Fitness. In 2011, she launched her own digital content strategy company, 183Ink, LLC, working with organizations including Hearst Publishing, NASDAQ OMX, The Robin Hood Foundation, Trinity Wall Street, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation to develop apps, craft digital and social media content strategies, and manage digital redesigns. Overholt has also served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management since 2012.

She was twice named to the TJFR/News Bios 30 Under 30 Rising Stars list (2003 and 2004), and received the AAJA National Print Journalism Award (2005, Unlimited Subject Matter) for her writing in Fast Company. Overholt was the editor on ESPN stories that earned the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award (2007) and both magazine and internet category wins from the New York Press Club Awards for Journalism (2010). She was a member of the ASME National Magazine Award-winning team for General Excellence at ESPN The Magazine in 2006. She graduated with honors from Harvard University with an A.B. in government.

The William J. O’Neil Lecture Series in Business Journalism brings outstanding business journalism professionals to the SMU campus each semester. It is part of a cooperative program in financial reporting developed in 2007 by the Meadows School Division of Journalism and the Cox School of Business at SMU, through funding from William J. O’Neil, an SMU alumnus and chairman and CEO of Investor’s Business Daily.

The Division of Journalism, under Belo Distinguished Chair Tony Pederson, offers concentrations in all media – broadcast, print and internet – through its convergence journalism program. With the help of a gift from The Belo Foundation, the Division has become one of the few journalism schools in the country to provide hands-on experience through a new digital newsroom, television studio and website.



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 The SMU Meadows School of the Arts opens it's Fall Dance Show Wednesday with three fantastic works including a world premiere. The show will run through Sunday afternoon November 13, with an evening performance at 8pm Wednesday through Satruday and a 2 o'clock matinee on Sunday.  This year's show
Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
Join the Meadows School of the Art for a concert featuring the music of Winnie-the-Pooh and more.  There will be free cookies and milk at intermission and wonderful music to entertain and inspire!

The SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble invites you on a magical Journey to the Hundred Acre Wood where, regardless of age, for one evening everyone becomes a child! The program celebrates that “Bear of Very Little Brain,” Winnie-the-Pooh, and features music composed for and inspired by children. Repertoire includes Stephen Jones’ ru2or3?, written on commission for the MWE and dedicated to the composer’s daughter Rachel on her third birthday; Anthony Plog’s Animal Ditties; longtime Meadows composer Simon Sargon’s setting of the Grimms’ fairy tale The Town Musicians of Bremen; Percy Grainger’s Children’s March; and, of course, Oliver Knussen’s iconic Hums & Songs of Winnie-the-Pooh. Cookies and milk will be served at intermission – for real!  For more information call 214.768.2787.

For more information and for tickets:     CLICK HERE
Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
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The final event of the SMU Meadows season features a world premiere with full symphony orchestra and dance. Tickets are extremely affordable.
For detailed information about this fantastic event
and to purchase tickets
Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
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The Seniors in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Dance Department will present a show of original choreographed works this weekend. The show will take place in the Bob Hope Theatre in the Owens Art building located at 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Eight seniors will be featuring their work using fellow students to present their vision. The show will take place on Friday evening Friday April 22, and Saturday evening April 23. Both shows are at 6:00 p.m. and tickets are just $5. For a taste of what is in store, check out
Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
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 What are you doing tomorrow night?  Join us for a great Jazz Concert featuring music by Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Count Basie and more.  Tickets are extremely affordable!
You can call 214 -768-2787 for information.
SMU’s Meadows Jazz Orchestra, led by Dylan Smith, will present an evening of big band favorites and contemporary jazz compositions in Dallas City Performance Hall on Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. Three distinguished guests and alumni will join the Meadows Jazz Orchestra
Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
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New Visions New Voices new play festival at SMU 20

This spring playwriting festival, now in its 22nd season, presents one performance each of six full-length plays written by graduating theatre students. Directors

include faculty members and  alumni who are active in local theatre. The plays are presented as staged readings, without costumes or sets, bringing the writers’

raw stories, characters and language to the audience without filter. Each performance will be followed by an audience discussion session with the playwright,

director and actors. Previous New Visions, New Voices playwrights are now producing and writing TV shows, leading theatre companies in Dallas, Chicago,

New York and elsewhere, acting on stage and screen, and producing and writing independent films. The festival is produced by SMU Associate Professor

and Head of Theatre Studies Gretchen Smith.


The plays are as follows:


Wed., March 30 at 8 p.m.:       Tough Love - by Holly Settoon, directed by Jacob Nice ’15:

The play looks at the lives of three young people who meet in a teen detention center

somewhere in the American heartland, all of whom are struggling to survive the boredom,

emptiness and anarchy of their time in the system. Adult language.


                        Thurs., March 31 at 8 p.m.:     Filth - by Isaac Young, directed by Alia Tavakolian ’12:

In a tiny Virginia town, a young woman struggles to keep the family farm afloat. But

between the memories that haunt her and the introverted ways that make her unable to

keep a job in town, she’s going to lose everything. That is, until a man needs her farm for his

low-budget porn films – and offers to make her a star. Based on an unbelievable true story,

the play is a tale of survival in the face of tragedy. Adult language and situations; not

suitable for children and pre-teens.


                        Fri., April 1 at 8 p.m.:              Finale- by Dylan Guerra, directed by Samantha Rios ’13:

                                                                        If they can survive the Dolphin Apocalypse, how bad can graduation be? When the seam

of the universe opens, four best friends and one uninvited guest find themselves sucked into

an alternate world on the eve of their college graduation. Secret loves are revealed, lies are

uncovered, milkshakes are shaken and tickets to the Sunday Church Carnival are sold. Will

they make it home in time to graduate, or will they become insignificant casualties in the

bloody uprising by man’s favorite mammal? Adult language and substances.


Sat., April 2 at 2 p.m.:              Siren’s Song- by Sasha Davis, directed by Kristen Kelso ’14:

                                                Eager to escape the ghettos of Detroit, Wren studies to get into any college far away. When

tragedy destroys her plans for a future with Thomas, she disappears into her grief for a decade,

until awkward, funny Arthur drops into her life. The play considers the questions of lost love,

new love, and self-love: which one is the hardest to accept?


Sat., April 2 at 8 p.m.:              Knew You - by Laura Dupper, directed by Jenna Hannum ’15:

                                                What is love? What makes it spark between one couple, and fade between another? In

Knew You, James and Ellie ask the questions people have been asking for centuries. They

fall in love as they interview friends and dissect classic romances for a school project. But

as they fall out of love, will they find the answers they need or will love stay as elusive and

enigmatic as ever?


Sun., April 3 at 2 p.m.:             Tiber- by Jeremy Arata, directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Sara Romersberger:

                                                At a minor way-station in space, seven strangers find themselves gathered on the 25th anniversary

of the Ceasefire. Old wounds and new griefs arise as former enemies and feuding family

members confront one another. When the life and communication systems fail, everyone’s

lives are threatened. The group will have to pull together – but can they forgive to survive?


When:              March 30-April 3; 8 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sat. & Sun.

Where:             Greer Garson Theatre in the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on SMU campus, Dallas (75205)

Cost:                FREE

Info:                Call 214-768-2787.


Lee Gleiser
Event Marketing Manager
SMU Meadows School of the Arts