Comanche: Hero Complexities

Comanche: Hero Complexities, is an evening length dance and video installation created by Duane Cyrus that is inspired by the heroic acts of Charles W. David Jr., an African American United States Coast Guardsman who sacrificed his life helping to save nearly 100 drowning servicemen in the icy waters off Greenland during World War II. It investigates the possible confluence of questions surrounding themes of rescue, self-sacrifice, and heroism when black male bodies are positioned in hegemonic spaces. What does it mean to be problem and savior at the same time? And how do contemporary black bodies negotiate the dynamics that arise when intention meets perception? This project encompasses ethnographic research, documentation of histories, creative work, and educational components to contextualize African American perspectives and give voice to legacies that are not often represented in mainstream American culture. 


Comanche: Hero Complexities will generate pathways of meaning through the juxtaposition of dance with film. The interplay and manipulation of recorded images and live performers connects to the implicit inquiry as they relate to perception and black bodies. Work will premiere at University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s 1500 seat Auditorium, September 2017 with subsequent performance dates pending. An ensemble of 3 collaborating dance artists and filmmaker Lamar Barber complete the team. Duane Cyrus uses an improvisation based collaborative process he has developed called Theatre of Movement to create dance, imagery, and spatial design around complex, thinking human bodies exploring questions in “unexpected space.”

Comanche: Hero Complexities is supported by The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Provost's Strategic Seed Grant, Faculty First Summer Excellence Award, College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean's Discretionary Fund, and the School of Dance