M.L.K. 20: Dr. King's Message in Words, Dance, and Song

The Juilliard community gathered on Monday, January 21, 2008, in Paul Hall for the 20th annual celebration of the life and work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The evening’s performance, which was directed by alumna Rosemary K. Andress, was a collaboration among the Dance, Drama, and Music divisions and featured students and alumni from all three. The inspiring program focused on themes that permeated Dr. King’s life and work, including war, violence, poverty, racism, respect, and hope. It included commissioned works by choreographer Robert Battle, composer Wayne Oquin, and actor Maxwell de Paula. Oquin’s song cycle, A Time to Break Silence: Songs Inspired by the Words and Writings of Martin Luther King Jr., provided the golden thread that wove the evening’s themes into a vibrant fabric as singer and alumnus Barrington Coleman—who participated in Juilliard’s first M.L.K. celebration in 1989—delivered Dr. King’s powerful message to Mr. Oquin’s accompaniment.

Current Juilliard students were highly involved in bringing their art to the stage using dance, drama, and music to highlight the importance of Dr. King’s vision in the 21st century. They were Maechi Aharanwa, Francisco Alvarez, Charlie Barnett, Jonathan Batiste, Kris Bowers, Danielle Brooks, Jamal Callender, Amari Cheatom, Lloyd Dillon, Brandon Gill, Shalita Grant, Corey Hawkins, Patrice Jackson, Joaquina Kalukango, Aaron Moten, Tyrien Obahnjoko, Nija Okoro, Teyonah Parris, Stacey Scott, Shayna Small, Samira Wiley, and Sheldon Woodley. Juilliard alumni in the performance (in addition to Andress, Battle, Coleman, and de Paula) were François Battiste, Shalanda Bond, LaFredrick Coaxner, LisaGay Hamilton, James Martin, Mark Miller, Christopher Reaves, Samuel L. Roberts, Stacey Robinson (who helped inspire the development of the first M.L.K. Celebration), J.D. Webster, and Krislyn World.

—Robert Rankin Brooks, Director of Educational Outreach