Girard College’s Campus for the City Presents
Meditating on Black Genius, Justice, and Joy
BE HOLDING is an original performance created by poet Ross Gay, composer Tyshawn Sorey, New Music Ensemble Yarn/Wire, and director Brooke O’Harra.
Be Holding was developed in residency as part of Girard College’s Campus for the City Program and will premiere in Philadelphia on May 31 2023 at Girard College.
Ross Gay’s poem Be Holding is a love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving—known as Dr. J—who dominated courts in the 1970s and ‘80s as a small forward for the Philadelphia ‘76ers. But this book-length poem is more than just an ode to a magnificent athlete. Through a kind of lyric research, or lyric meditation, Ross Gay connects Dr. J’s famously impossible move from the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to pick-up basketball and the flying Igbo and the Middle Passage, to photography and surveillance and state violence, to music and personal histories of flight and familial love. Be Holding wonders how the imagination, or how our looking, might make us, or bring us, closer to each other. How our looking might make us reach for each other. And might make us be reaching for each other. And how that reaching might be something like joy.
This performance of Ross Gay’s poem is scored and conducted by Tyshawn Sorey for improvisation by the ensemble Yarn/Wire. The text is performed by poets Yolanda Wisher and David Gaines accompanied by a three-channel video installation designed by Catching on Thieves and Matt Deinhart. Lighting is by Itohan Edoloyi. Sound design by Eugene Lew.
Students from Girard College will join the company on stage and off – and are an integral part of the event.
Production Manager is Max Pendergast. Stage Manager is Nic Labadie-Bartz. Associate Lighting is Isaac Pollack. Assistant Producer is Carlos Diaz Stoop (CDS Creative Productions).
Produced by Girard College
Be Holding has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
Be Holding Trailer (above) – see full video HERE
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