A living memorial of emotionally charged, virtuosic choreography will be discharged when “PATRIOT” dancers take to the stage of the Black Box Theatre inside the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 14.

“PATRIOT” examines the service and sacrifice of U.S. veterans, active-duty military and their families.

The performance includes the stories of Alfredo, a Purple Heart veteran injured by a 400-pound bomb in Iraq; Roy, a non-combat veteran who was drafted out of school; Nikki, a military spouse and mother who carries the stress of her husband’s deployments; and Steven, a war protestor who struggles with supporting his brother, who recently joined the Army.

“We’re taking the stories of not one person but every single person, both in the company and from people we have met along the way,” said Ronald West, founding member of Black Box Dance Theatre. “It’s a true representation of real events. It’s a dramatization, but we’re not making up material. It’s all real, lived experiences.”

The performance comprises multimedia, theater and storytelling to address the ongoing mental wellness challenges of military life. Black Box Dance Theatre pushes the limit physically, technically and artistically, telling powerful stories through movement and creating meaningful work of the highest quality.

In 2019, partnering with the N.C. Arts Council and the USO, Black Box Dance Theatre began the creation of “PATRIOT,” premiering the work in 2021 to veteran and military communities across North Carolina and beyond.

Black Box Dance Theatre has a long history with the USO of North Carolina as part of its nationally recognized Warrior, Spouse and Family Reset Programs. Aimed to build resiliency, Resets support military service members and their families through movement, dance and storytelling workshops to help them deal with the ongoing mental wellness challenges of military life, including deployment and reintegration.

“PATRIOT” is inspired by the non-fiction stories collected during Resets, as well as the firsthand experiences of Black Box Dance Theatre’s dancers. The choreographed framework of “PATRIOT” allows for the integration of community performers — bringing authentic voices to this collaborative piece of art.

Moments of pageantry, humor, physicality and humility have surfaced in the making of “PATRIOT,” using a full spectrum of differing views, differing abilities, differing voices to tell a broader story of what it means to serve.

Tickets are $35, with discounts available for military service members and their families. In addition to its full-length evening performance, part of Black Box Dance Theatre’s weeklong residency at the Wortham Center includes a series of writing and movement workshops with local veterans’ groups.

The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Ave. For more information, call the Wortham Center Box Office at 828-257-4530 or visit worthamarts.org.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.