On Friday, May 29, 2015, UF School of Theatre and Dance faculty and students graced the stage of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Visiting Assistant Professor Trent D. Williams, Jr. and students Jerel Hercules, Daniel Morimoto, Larry Rosalez and Esrom Williams, Jr. performed in a collaborative work by Robert Priore and Trent D. Williams, Jr. The work was a continuation of an existing project Trent D. Williams, Jr. worked on as a commissioning artist for Dance Place in 2012.
“In 2012, I did a work called Profiling, which was a piece that looked at how African-American males were treated without justice in America,” said Trent D. Williams, Jr. “It was right before the Trayvon Martin shooting or any of the other recent events started.”
Before joining the UF School of Theatre and Dance faculty, Trent D. Williams, Jr. received the local commissioning project grant awarded to artists in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas. It was through that grant proposal that he was selected to participate in this collaborative performance at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The creative process spanned a six-month period.
In addition to the four dancers Trent D. Williams, Jr. recruited who were enrolled in the school’s Agbedidi class, he also worked with filmmaker and adjunct lecturer, Tiffany Rhynard, to create a dance film to accompany the live performance.
“We didn't know exactly if we wanted it to be a film or just interviews,” said Trent D. Williams, Jr. “We needed movement to keep people intrigued by the work. That’s when it became a dance film with movement.”
Trent D. Williams, Jr. used the opportunity to allow University of Florida students the chance to perform on the Kennedy Center stage. For Esrom Williams, Jr., it was a life-changing experience.
“This experience has taught me that dance meets people where they’re at and then transforms them into who they want to become,” Esrom Williams, Jr. said. “It has humbled me to realize that everyone has the potential to become something great.”
To view the performance, click here.