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O-pa Pro-Tip: Beyond-the-Stage Conversations

Posted On Feb 26, 2020, 15:07 PM by Mary King

Beyond the Stage Conversations with Ailey II and O-pa Teaching Artist Aaron Gregory
Ailey II Beyond-the-Stage Conversation with O-pa Teaching Artist, Aaron Gregory (right) and Troy Powell, Artistic Director - Ailey II (left)

It’s one thing to watch your favorite show on stage, but when you get to talk to your favorite artists and performers face-to-face – now that’s icing on the cake! In this edition of O-pa Pro-Tip, we highlight our Beyond-the-Stage Conversation series and why it’s worth the wait to show up early or stay after for talk backs. Oh, and did we mention that they’re free to attend? 

Every season,  m ore than  2,700 patrons attend Beyond-the-Stage Conversations –  including nearly 300 Girl Scouts. From breaking down the meaning of a piece to the technical aspects of a production, talk backs give patrons the opportunity to gain further insight into artists'  creative process.  

“These conversations help build context and understanding of the artists and their performances. Whether it’s a pre-show talk for our main stage jazz performances or a post-show conversation for our dance series, we hope patrons leave more engaged in the artform,” says Dominic Green, Community Engagement Manager at Omaha Performing Arts.  

Ailey II BTSAiley II Beyond-the-Stage Conversation - November 2019

This season, we have hosted conversations with a jazz musician expert along with talk backs featuring a few company members from Ailey II and Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD). Most recently, after the CABD show, two dancers talked about their dance pieces and the social topics addressed in their selections. Audience members asked questions and had the chance to further explore themes related to the production and the artists.  

Aaron Gregory, dancer, O-pa teaching artist (TA) and TA for the Ailey Arts in Education program says talk backs are also meaningful from an artist's perspective.  

“It’s great because I get to see my audience – literally and figuratively. I see what they look like, where they come from and I also get to hear about the impact my work had on them, which typically does not get to happen,” Gregory said.  

Coming up on March 12, we have a conversation planned with Che Malambo. The all-male troupe celebrates the South American tradition of the gaucho. We will also host a pre-show talk back for a couple of our jazz shows including Yellowjackets featuring Luciana Souza and ARTEMIS.  

Interested in checking out a talk back? View upcoming Beyond-the-Stage Conversations here.