Firestone to Host The Black Card

Alum is Back With a Message
Posted on 09/07/2018
Image of the Black Card Project(Cassaundra Smith writing for akron.com/West Side Leader)

After spending two-and-a-half years working on it, West Akron resident Dominic Moore-Dunson is preparing to stage the world premiere of his show, “The ‘Black Card’ Project.”
The premiere will take place Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Firestone Community Learning Center, 470 Castle Blvd.

Moore-Dunson is a dancer and choreographer for Inlet Dance Theatre, a Cleveland professional contemporary dance company. He describes the show as autobiographical — filled with experiences, images and memories he’s had throughout his 28 years.

According to show officials, “The ‘Black Card’ Project” tells the story of a young homeschooled black boy named Artie Alvin Beatty III, whose mother is concerned about his lack of awareness of his cultural identity. He gets sent to Booker T. Malcolm Luther Parks Academy of Absolute Blackness, where he must pass classes such as “How to Dance on Beat” and “Thuggin 101” in order to earn his “black card.”

The “black card” is described as an African-American metaphor for one’s black identity, authenticity or belonging, according to show officials.

In creating this show, Moore-Dunson recalled a situation while attending Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. While eating lunch with his black friends, they began talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. His friends began speaking about their dreams of becoming NFL and NBA players.

He then told them that he either wanted to dance in Paris or play soccer in England, and his friends informed him “that ain’t black.” Moore-Dunson said prior to this moment, it had not occurred to him that the color of his skin had anything to do with his future plans.

So he began hiding the activities he enjoyed from his friends, even though he still participated in them while attending high school at Firestone. He even picked up track, feeling like it was a more “black” sport, he said.

“It was hard to hide,” he said. “I would never talk about it to any of my friends.”

Now that he’s become a professional dancer, he has the chance to share his story, which was made possible with a Knight Arts Challenge grant that Inlet received, Moore-Dunson said.

“Those things I went through, I bet I’m not the only one that’s gone through them,” he said.

As part of the Knight Arts Challenge project, Miller South and Firestone students were able to help create choreography for part of the show. The Goodyear Headquarters Black Network also had a hand in helping shape the show’s choreography into its finished product, Moore-Dunson said.

“The ‘Black Card’ Project” is described by Moore-Dunson as a live action dance theater cartoon. Moore-Dunson said it has a Saturday morning cartoon feel, complete with sound effects like the running of feet. It also has a ’90s black sitcom effect, he said.

The two-man show is comprised of Moore-Dunson and fellow Inlet Dance Theatre member Kevin Parker. The two each portray several characters.

“The ‘Black Card’ Project” is geared toward middle and high school students, and Moore-Dunson said he hopes it will start a conversation among families on identity and limitations.

“We want people to really be thinking about what limitations we put on ourselves because of our culture,” he said. “… and how are those limitations holding us back?”

The school students who worked on the show will get the chance to view it Sept. 14, then the next night, following the world premiere, there will be a question-and-answer session.

While the performance is free, tickets are required. For tickets, visit eventbrite.com and search The “Black Card” Project: WORLD Premiere.

Image of the Black Card Project
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