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On Stage

Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, Touch of RED

April 06, 20238:00 pm

April 07, 20238:00 pm

April 08, 20238:00 pm

About the Event

Shamel Pitts and the Brooklyn-based arts collective TRIBE debut an electrifying new live performance in their ongoing Red Series exploring Black multiplicity and human connection.

The new work, titled Touch of RED, is a duet for two Black men set inside a contemporary boxing ring—a space that might traditionally suggest an aggressive competition between male athletes for entertainment purposes. Yet in Touch of RED, the two dancers imbue this boxed-in site with an intense energy drawn from the power of vulnerability, effeminacy, and the healing that occurs when Black men are allowed to soften, together. During the performance audiences will be seated around the four sides of the ring, which strategically conceals or frames the action. Transforming the space into a pulsing night club dance floor, Touch of RED invites the audience to experience the anticipation, energy, and collective softening that accompanies a good party—and reframe their expectations of time, space, and normative identity.

About the Artist

Shamel Pitts is the founding artistic director of Brooklyn-based arts collective TRIBE, a multidisciplinary collective dedicated to creative, live art projects that elicit human connection and imagine new futures for Black people. Pitts began his dance career in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance and BJM_Danse Montreal. Pitts danced with Batsheva Dance Company for seven years under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin, and is a certified teacher of Gaga movement language. He is an adjunct at The Juilliard School and has been an artist in residence at Harvard University. Shamel is the choreographer of the play Help by acclaimed poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, directed by Taibi Magar and commissioned at The Shed in New York. He is the recipient of a 2018 Princess Grace Award in Choreography, and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Access Information

This performance includes loud pulsing music and moving lights for the duration of the work. The piece runs 90 minutes with no intermission.

On Saturday, April 8, the performance will include ASL interpretation, audio description, and captioning.

Closed captioning provided.ASL provided.Audio description available.


Lead support for the 2022–23 season of MCA Performance and Public Programs is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.

Major support is provided by the Alphawood Foundation and by Julie and Larry Bernstein.

Generous support is provided by Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation; Ginger Farley and Bob Shapiro, Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation; N.A., Trustee; Susan Manning and Doug Doetsch; and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

The MCA is a proud member of the Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.


Support for this project:

Touch of RED is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow, YoungArts, Miami Light Project INC, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, New York Live Arts INC, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Office of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). Touch of RED is also made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. We’d like to also thank the Consulate General of Israel in New York, Trust for Mutual Understanding, GIBNEY, and The Harkness Foundation for Dance. Bubble residency guidance provided by Duke Dang and medical consultant Dr. Wendy Ziecheck.

Additional TRIBE commissioning, development and core operating support is provided by the Mellon Foundation; Arison Arts Foundation; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; The Howard Gilman Foundation; Dance/NYC’s Dance Advancement Fund, made possible by the Howard Gilman Foundation and Ford Foundation; 92Y Harkness Dance Center; National Performance Network (NPN) Creation, Development & Artist Engagement Fund Project. The Creation, Development & Artist Engagement Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency); New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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