Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced its lineup of dynamic programming for the 2021-22 season, which features dance, theater and multimedia performances by influential contemporary artists and ensembles from around the world, as well as groundbreaking national and local artists. The season advances OZ’s commitment to bringing significant performing and visual works by prominent artists to Nashville and includes performances from companies based in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Havana and Berlin, in addition to local projects.
During a year when many arts organizations hosted limited or no programming, OZ developed creative ways to work with local and national artists, presenting a diverse array of virtual content and welcoming audiences back into its flexible space for an astounding 66 live performances in Spring 2021. Now heading into its 9th season, OZ’s forthcoming presentations represent an artistic renaissance, with projects that embody creative experimentation and explore urgent themes, including racial justice and climate change.
“I’m inspired by the profound work of the artists we will host at OZ next season. They are at the forefront of their performing arts fields, and many of them are confronting some of the most important issues of these times in beautiful and inspiring ways,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive and Artistic Director. “During a year with no touring or travel, it was gratifying to find ways to focus on creating opportunities for Nashville artists and virtual events — but it is a thrill that we can now invite influential guest artists and their companies from around the world and experience their powerful work live and in-person.”
The season kicks off on October 14th with a life-giving mix of contemporary dance, hip-hop, and street dance by Philadelphia native Rennie Harris and his internationally acclaimed company Puremovement. His incredible work, Nuttin’ But a Word, comes to OZ Arts the week before it’s featured at New York City Center's prestigious Fall for Dance Festival. October wraps up with a ghostly cabaret party, Festival of Ghouls, by Nashville-based theatrical rockers Fable Cry on October 30th. Following a memorably spooky bash at OZ Arts in 2019, the local cult favorites return to conjure an unpredictable and extravagant event celebrating the eeriest day of the year.
Surrealism meets science as the season continues in November with Miwa Matreyek’s Infinitely Yours and Myth & Infrastructure. This kaleidoscopic, dreamlike merger of the fanciful and the scientific uses layered projections and live performance to confront the climate crisis, weaving poetic narratives of conflict between humanity and nature. A new contemporary music-theater-opera hybrid, Steal Away, takes the stage in December in a dynamic collaboration between Emmy-nominated Nashville composer, arranger, and director Dave Ragland, choreographer Shabaz Ujima, Inversion Vocal Ensemble, Diaspora Orchestra, and shackled feet DANCE. The long-awaited production tells a story of hardship, redemption, and spiritual renewal.
Named “one of the most profound choreographers of his generation” by the New York Times, Ronald K. Brown’s extraordinary work fuses the form, rhythm and history of African dance with contemporary and urban dance styles. OZ will present his piece The Equality of Night and Day, which examines balance, equity and fairness for young people, women and people of color in modern society, in addition to his legendary dance work Grace in February of 2022. The massive soft sculptures of renowned Nashville visual artist Vadis Turner will be installed throughout OZ Arts Nashville’s expansive creative warehouse in early March, creating an environment for pop-up performances by a diverse array of Nashville choreographers, spoken word artists, musicians and media artists for Portals: A Performance Party.
For the first time in over a year, OZ Arts will once again host international artists in March and April of 2022. Gob Squad, an acclaimed multimedia collective of ingenious artists from the U.K. and Germany, travels back in time in an attempt to remake Andy Warhol’s Kitchen. Acted out on bare-bones sets and viewed as a live black-and-white film, Kitchen: You’ve Never Had it So Good deploys an inventive arsenal of live video and performance techniques to celebrate the culture-bending King of Pop himself. Then in April, Malpaso Dance Company, a groundbreaking force in the contemporary dance world from Havana, Cuba, will present original works from a number of prominent North American choreographers.
To wrap up the high-impact season, teams of daring Nashville artists transform OZ Arts into a laboratory for the creation and premiere of new works and works-in-progress during the Brave New Works Lab throughout May 2022. The program will feature a bold mix of dance, theater, music, and more from a diverse lineup of established and emerging voices.
Many of the artists presenting work throughout the season will also participate in a variety of community events, including free workshops and community engagement activities.
Full details for all 2021-22 programming are below. OZ Arts remains committed to ensuring its programming is accessible to all audiences. Individual tickets for performances range from just $20-$40, and season packages are available starting at $100.
The 2021-22 Season at OZ Arts Nashville is made possible, in part, by funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the HCA Foundation, The Hays Foundation and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the upcoming season, visit www.ozartsnashville.org.
OZ Arts 2021-22 Season Lineup
Rennie Harris and Puremovement’s Nuttin’ But a Word | October 14-16, 2021
With a life-giving mix of contemporary dance, Hip-hop, and street dance forms, Philadelphia native Rennie Harris creates breathtaking and profound choreography with his internationally acclaimed company Puremovement. He’s been honored with prestigious awards including the Alvin Ailey Black Choreographers Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Arts Award, and the Dance Magazine Legend Award. Harris is renowned for creating work that is fresh and surprising, yet rooted in deep knowledge and a scholarly background in the history and traditions of many Hip-hop forms. This joyous new work, Nuttin’ But a Word, comes to OZ Arts Nashville the week before it is featured at New York City Center's prestigious Fall for Dance Festival. The company’s Nashville residency will include free workshops and community engagement activities.
Fable Cry’s Festival of Ghouls | October 30, 2021
Put on your ghoulish best for this immersive Halloween party and over-the-top cabaret created by Nashville-based theatrical rockers Fable Cry. Following a memorably spooky bash at OZ Arts Nashville in 2019, the local cult favorites return with this macabre alt-rock party, enlisting the talents of artists from the worlds of burlesque, cabaret, puppetry, and circus to conjure an unpredictable and extravagant event celebrating the eeriest day of the year.
Miwa Matreyek’s Infinitely Yours and Myth & Infrastructure | November 11-13, 2021
This kaleidoscopic, dreamlike merger of the fanciful and the scientific takes you to a world rich in surrealism and metaphor. Miwa Matreyek creates live, one-of-a-kind staged performances where she interacts with her animation as a shadow silhouette, at the intersection of cinematic and theatrical, fantastical and tangible, handmade and tech. With her latest work, Infinitely Yours, the Los Angeles-based multimedia performance artist uses her signature technique of layered projections and live performance to confront the climate crisis, weaving poetic narratives of conflict between humanity and nature. The new work arrives at OZ Arts Nashville following its acclaimed 2020 premiere at Sundance Film Festival New Frontiers.
Dave Ragland, Shabaz Ujima, Inversion Vocal Ensemble and Diaspora Orchestra’s Steal Away | December 2-5, 2021
Dozens of Nashville artists are featured in this dynamic collaboration between composer Dave Ragland, choreographer Shabaz Ujima, Inversion Vocal Ensemble, Diaspora Orchestra, and shackled feet DANCE. Steal Away is a new contemporary music-theater-opera hybrid inspired by traditional spirituals and art songs. Emmy-nominated Nashville composer, arranger, and director Dave Ragland leads the piece with new arrangements, orchestrations, and original music to tell a story of hardship, redemption, and spiritual renewal. Ragland’s acclaimed work was featured as part of Nick Cave: Feat. Nashville in addition to his work with Nashville Opera, Nashville Ballet, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and many others.
Ronald K. Brown and EVIDENCE’s Grace and The Equality of Night and Day | February 10-12, 2022
Hailed as a “modern dance savior” by the New York Times, Ronald K. Brown’s extraordinary work fuses the form, rhythm, and history of African dance with contemporary and urban dance styles. Coming to Nashville following its world premiere at the prestigious Kennedy Center, Brown’s latest work The Equality of Night and Day features an original score by acclaimed jazz pioneer Jason Moran, set to spoken word by educator and activist Angela Davis. This new work is the third installment in a trilogy examining balance, equity, and fairness for young people, women, and people of color in modern society. The program also includes Brown’s legendary dance work Grace, originally choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, set to a score featuring powerful music from Duke Ellington, Fela Kuti, and Jennifer Holliday, among others.
Vadis Turner’ Portals: A Performance Party | March 4-5, 2022
The massive soft sculptures of renowned visual artist Vadis Turner are installed throughout OZ Arts Nashville’s expansive creative warehouse, creating an environment for pop-up performances by a diverse array of Nashville choreographers, spoken word artists, musicians, and media artists. The lively “art bash” brings together some of the best local talent to respond to the resonant themes in Turner’s provocative work, most notably the role of women as makers of culture and the tension between what's perceived as feminine and masculine.
Gob Squad’s Kitchen: You’ve Never Had it So Good | March 24-27, 2022
It’s 1965 and everything is just about to happen. Pop, subculture, superstars, feminism, drugs, bright lights, and sex are about to rock the world like never before. The acclaimed multimedia collective of ingenious artists from the U.K. and Germany playfully deploys an inventive arsenal of live video and performance techniques to celebrate the culture-bending King of Pop himself, Andy Warhol. Gob Squad travels back in time in an attempt to remake Warhol’s Kitchen, acted out on bare-bones sets and viewed as a live black-and-white film. But as none of the performers have actually seen the original, they enlist audience members in a quest for the authentic. Shrewdly crafted and frequently hilarious, Gob Squad’s cinematic creation collides with the immediate here-and-now to surprising effect.
Malpaso Dance | April 29-30, 2022
A groundbreaking force in the contemporary dance world since bursting on the scene in 2012, Malpaso Dance Company has already become one of the most sought-after Cuban dance companies, with a growing international profile. Emphasizing a collaborative creative process, Malpaso is committed to working with top international choreographers while also nurturing new voices in Cuban choreography. Now an Associate Company of New York’s famed Joyce Theater, Malpaso — led by Artistic Director Osnel Delgado — has commissioned original works from a number of prominent North American choreographers.
Brave New Works Lab | May 12-21, 2022
Teams of daring Nashville artists transform OZ Arts into a laboratory for the creation and premiere of new works and works-in-progress. Encouraging multimedia experimentation and collaboration across disciplines, the lab creates a safe space for high-risk artistic adventures. The program will feature a bold mix of dance, theater, music, and more from a diverse lineup of established and emerging voices.