The Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, one of the country’s top modern dance troupes, premiered the new work, Greenwood, at Manhattan’s City Center on Friday night. The piece, choreographed by Donald Byrd, recalls the slaughter of African Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. Known as the Tulsa Race Massacre, 36 people were killed and thousands injured in the city’s Greenwood area, commonly referred to as the “Black Wall Street” because of its concentration of minority-owned businesses. After a young black man allegedly attacked a white women, racist mobs used the incident as an excuse to plunder the community destroying 35 city blocks. Byrd’s ensemble work uses beautiful movement in the Ailey tradition to dramatize the tragedy of this sad chapter in U.S. history, giving us a portrait of grief from the victim’s vantage.


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