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New York Live Arts presents the New York premiere of "TOUCH OF RED" by Shamel Pitts / TRIBE

New York Live Arts presents the New York premiere of "TOUCH OF RED" by Shamel Pitts / TRIBE


Shamel Pitts | TRIBE


New York Live Arts
219 West 19th Street


Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 7:30pm
Friday, April 28, 2023 - 7:30pm
Saturday, April 29, 2023 - 7:30pm



Shamel Pitts | TRIBE

Touch of RED is a new work by the award-winning movement artist Shamel Pitts, co-created and performed by his Brooklyn-based arts collective TRIBE. Drawing inspiration from two distinct arts requiring rapid-fire footwork – boxing and the African-American jazz dance style Lindy Hop – this ten-round duet is performed by Pitts and Tushrik Fredericks who debuted with the Afrofuturistic collective in the critically-acclaimed 2022 show BLACK HOLE: Trilogy and Triathlon.

Set in a stylized ring designed by the 2015 McArthur Fellow Mimi Lien and featuring cinematic video mapping by Lucca Del Carlo, original score by Sivan Jacobovitz, lighting by the veteran Australian designer Rus Snelling, and costumes by the acclaimed experimental fashion star Dion Lee, Touch of RED examines the way Black men are perceived and perceive themselves in contemporary society and how masculinity and vulnerability can be reconciled in a non-competitive, compassionate, and healing way. The multidisciplinary piece, developed as part of Live Arts’ Live Feed creative residency and commissioning program, as well as in a series of art residencies, and first performed at MASS MoCA in 2022, will have its NYC premiere at the New York Live Arts Theater.

Shamel Pitts remembers the origins of the work: “When I returned to the US, there was a lot of boxing on TV, and watching it, I never understood the appeal of two men beating the crap out of each other– especially two men of color; I found it revolting. But in my mind, every time I feel repulsion, I am also curious to dig deeper. A closer look at great boxing matches of legendary athletes like Muhammad Ali revealed something unexpected – a layer of camaraderie, almost tenderness, a kind of touch that felt profound, vulnerable, and consoling. At the same time, the form intrigued me: the footwork in boxing is often a reason why great fighters are described as “dancing in the ring”. (…) In Touch of RED, it’s important that the audience sits around the “ring” when it happens - we want them to feel a level of participation, closeness and warmth that is not theatrical, but rather a primordial gathering”.

The award-winning set designer Mimi Lien adds: “I felt a real kinship with Shamel when we first started talking about the design for Touch of Red – I was excited to realize that we both think about the nature of an event in spatial terms…  and for this particular event, asking what an expansive definition of ‘Arena’ could be.  We asked ourselves:  what modes of viewing could be designed to allow for both the public spectacle of boxing, as well as the intimacy of a tender duet between these two men?”

Touch of RED is the third installment of the “RED Series", comprising video art film, art residency installation, and live performance projects. It has been conceived and executed entirely by TRIBE collective and choreographer Shamel Pitts, largely during the COVID pandemic which brought the need for community and togetherness front and center. Named after Pitts’ childhood nickname and inspired by warmth and closeness, it continues the collective company’s research on the colorfulness within blackness.

For full credits, bios and more, please visit: itsatribe.org/touch-of-red.




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