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Delaware Art Museum hosts premiere of 'The Bridge of Our Roots' dance performance

The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington premieres a new dance performance Thursday night.


Bridge of Our Roots features the museum’s dancer in-residence Dara Meredith.

Meredith says the dance is inspired by “Southern Souvenir II” - a piece  from African American modern artist Eldzier Cortor currently at the museum.


"I was asked to do a commission based on this particular  visual artwork," said Meredith. "And so one of the things Cortor said was that the Black woman references the Black race. She is the Black spirit and she conveys a feeling of eternity and continuum of life.”


Meredith adds that the painting sprang from Cortor’s studying and training with the Gullah and Geechee peoples in Georgia and South Carolina.


The painting depicts the disembodied figures of Black women, torn apart physically and stripped of their identities according to Meredith.


“For me - it really hits home for me because it represents a lot of things that I have gone through as a Black woman in the South, as well as things that I have seen my mother and/or grandmother go through and it’s still relevant to today.”


Meredith adds that her performance speaks to the experiences of people of color, especially following the police shootings of unarmed Black women such as Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in March 2020.

The pre-recorded performance was filmed in Fusco Hall at night with the painting in the background while Meredith and 5 other dancers express the themes and emotional energy of Cortor’s piece. 


Tickets to see Thursday’s 8 p.m. performance on-site or virtually are still available.


Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.