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Wylliams/Henry dance company’s October show takes on current events, racial tensions

The Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company has never shied away from exploring social issues.

“Juncture,” a program of four works the company will perform Oct. 4 and 5 at White Recital Hall, will be a typically bold Wylliams/Henry presentation of thought-provoking and challenging works that cast light on contemporary issues.

“Juncture” will include the new piece created by Frank Chaves for Wylliams/Henry’s recent New Dance Partners concert, “Fragment” by Christian Denice and “The List” by Christopher Huggins, a work inspired by the Stephen Spielberg film “Schindler’s List.” ‘

Concluding the program will be an autobiographical work by the company’s artistic director and co-founder, Mary Pat Henry, called “Southern Exposure.”

First performed by Wylliams/Henry in 2010, “Southern Exposure” draws on Henry’s experience growing up in South Carolina. This will be the second time the company has done the work.

“It took me until 2010 to have the courage to do create it,” Henry said. “I decided to do ‘Southern Exposure’ again because of what is happening in the nation.”

Henry cites the riots in Ferguson and the massacre of nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston as just two examples of racial tension in the United States. She’s updating certain aspects of “Southern Exposure,” which is set in the ’60s, to allude to more current events.

“I’m going to try to use very subtle radio and television clips that will make reference to what has been happening recently,” Henry said. “I want to bring together where we were, how far we’ve come and how it’s time to come together again.”

Although “Southern Exposure” is based on her own experiences, Henry says she wanted her ballet to transcend her own viewpoint.

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