Detroit poet and producer jessica Care moore invites audiences to zoom 1,052 years ahead and visit the Metro Detroit of her imagination.
We can take that trip Thursday night through Sunday afternoon as she and the Charles H. Wright Museum present "Salt City -- a Techno Choreopoem."
On Facebook, moore calls the dance, music and spoken word work a "ballet" and "my dream come true." It's set in the real-world salt mines under Allen Park, Melvindale and Detroit's west side.
The lifelong Detroiter, who's nationally known, wrote the multimedia production. It's directed and co-choreographed by Aku Kadogo, theatre and performance department chair at Spelman College in Atlanta.
The show is promoted as "an Afrofuturistic fantasy -- a tale of love, gentrification and the future that features the music of several Detroit techno giants," including Mike Banks, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Nick Speed, Drummer B and John Dixon
In the playwright's recent post, she says:
I have been workshopping this script with my fierce sister Aku Kadogo for many years. It is so important as we have this difficult conversation about colonization and gentrification so that indigenous people can see their stories in the beautiful future.
The work is visually stunning and the techno soundtrack is the only way to tell this coming-of-age story about a girl named “Salt” who travels to 3071 in search of her sound, her tribe, her people.
It premiered in 2015 as a work-in-progress at Spelman, where moore was a visiting scholar for a semester. She and Kadogo staged it there again in 2016, and last year won a $64,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant to develop it further for this week's presentation. (In 2006-10, Kadogo was a theater faculty member at Wayne State.)
Eight actors and five chorus singers will present "Salt City" on three evenings and at one matinee. (See schedule and ticket link below. Friday night's show is followed by a "talkback" with moore, Kadogo, co-choreographer Marlies Yearby and cast members.)
Alex Washington of Model D describes a recent dress rehearsal:
Dancers surround a warrior named Musa. His presence is demanding and pronounced, yet strong and gentle as he speaks of his people in Salt City.
“We are a sound. We are a pillar of a people. . . . Combined light of these tunnels, you can taste us in the air.”
Through the twists of the dancers’ hips and bends of their bodies to the faint pulsating thump of a techno beat, you see the energy and connection between Salt, Musa’s daughter, and her lover Aingkhu, on their journey to the Electric Forest.
Moore tells Washington:
"Knowing that I grew up on top of salt mines, I wanted to create a fairytale about a brown girl who wasn't right now, who was about the future. . . .
"I'm definitely Salt, and the father-daughter relationship written in there is very important to me. You don't get to see a lot of brown girl coming-of-age stories where the father is a core figure in her life. I wanted that to be there."
On Facebook, the Cody High School graduate posts:
The character Salt is the answer, is the healing, is the future. I am so honored to be premiering this full-length poetic dance theater work in Detroit. . . .
We must find a way to see ourselves in the beautiful future.
-- Alan Stamm
How to attend
► Performances: Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- 8 p.m. (doors open at 7p.m.) | Sunday -- 3 p.m. (doors at 2 p.m.)
► Cost: General admission, $20; Wright Museum member, $15; student, $10
► Where: 315 E. Warren Ave. (Cultural Center)
► Tickets: Purchase here.