Contemporary Color is a performance event and now a major motion picture inspired by the phenomenon of color guard, colloquilally known as "the sport of the arts"—conceived by David Byrne, co-commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music and Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and with support from WGI Sport of the Arts. Ten 20-40 person teams from the US and Canada will perform at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, alongside an extraordinary array of musical talent—performing together live.
In David Byrne's words:
Color guards are, well, high school (and college-level) "dance" groups who perform during half time at football games, and then compete amongst themselves later in the school year—usually in their school gymnasiums. They are, in my way of looking at them, a sophisticated folk art form that flies under the official cultural radar. They never get reviewed in the culture pages of the papers and most New Yorkers, I would wager, have never even heard or seen them (unless the New Yorkers grew up in one of the hundreds of towns where this culture thrives and evolves). I think it's a wonderful, peculiar, under-appreciated and very creative artform and that deserves to be seen and experienced—in a slightly different context, by a wider public.
But how? The interesting thing about color guard is that the community is very insular, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be kind of great to ask some friends to collaborate with the team’s creative folks to create original music for these guys?” That idea blossomed into the event that is now being commissioned by BAM and Luminato Festival—CONTEMPORARY COLOR is a performance event, where the result of a year-long musical collaboration between 10 color guard teams and 10 composers will be presented live at the Air Canada Centre and Barclay’s Center in June 2015.
The performances will mimic the energy and granduer of the color guard World Championships that take place in Dayton, OH every April—but without the competitive aspect. Instead, the exhibition event will put these amazing teams on the stages of two premiere North American venues, to perform their programs alongside a live performance of the original score by the composers themselves—and accompanied by a live band. Elaborate costumes, professional athleticism combined with modern dance, and rock starsin their element—all culminating in the biggest glitter cannon show of your life.
Our primary goal is to enhance an already extremely compelling experience, and bring it to a brand new audience in two of the world’s most visible cultural centers. My experience with this Sport of the Arts, and those of my colleagues, has been so inspiring and amazing that we feel compelled to share it with as many people as possible. Luckily, we’ve found some other folks that agree.