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Students fight social injustice through song, dance

Kimberly Brown | 12/20/2013, 6 a.m.
Mass shootings across the country and more localized daily violence take a psychological toll on the nation and the community. ...
For the performance of “Skittles & Sweet Tea: a choreopoem for social justice,” these students from ConneXions, a community based arts school in the Greater Mondawmin area dressed in hooded sweatshirts “hoodies” and some held packages of Skittles candy reminiscent of Trayvon Martin. ConneXions aims to cultivate academic and artistic excellence, cultural identity and community awareness in its students. Courtesy Photos/ConneXions

Mass shootings across the country and more localized daily violence take a psychological toll on the nation and the community. While these issues may stir emotions of anger or revenge, students at ConneXions, a community based arts school in the Greater Mondawmin area, are using their talent to express their feelings through theater, dance and the written word.

“Skittles & Sweet Tea: a choreopoem for social justice” was directed by Tracie M. Jiggets and is based on the Trayvon Martin trial, Emmitt Till’s murder and black-on-black violence in Baltimore.

The choreopoem, which is told through the voices of students in grades six through 12, expresses young people’s opinions on social justice while giving hope to the Baltimore City community.

Jiggets, who has been teaching and directing theater for over 15 years said, “The fusion of theater, music and dance provides the perfect platform for the youth to express their thoughts on current affairs.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with this talented cast, and I’m excited about the healing this production will bring to the students in this community.”

Choreographers included Kwame and Diedre Dawkins-Opare, Kutia Juwara as well as a host of creative professionals who dedicated their talent, time and passions to the production.

In addition, several members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Coppin State University volunteered and offered their support. Alpha brother Joshua Ned says, “I just love seeing kids have an opportunity to shine through their talents despite all that is happening in their surroundings. This is an honor to be able to support the kids in the communities surrounding Coppin State University.”

Since 2002, the community based art school ConneXions has been educating students in grades six through 12 in areas such as dance theatre, visual arts, martial arts and African drums. In January 2014, the school will also host a fashion show “Artistik Couture.”

ConneXions: A Community Based Arts School is located in the former William H. Lemmel Building, 2801 Dukeland Street in West Baltimore.

For more information about the school, visit: http://www.csfta.org.