College of Visual and Performing Arts
George Mason University
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George Mason University

Hylton Center Supports Artists in New Ways

October 6, 2020

We’re pleased to support artists in their creative work during this time when they need it most. Over the past six months, the Hylton Center has invested in state-of-the art video equipment and our production team has been learning new skills so that we can welcome artists into our spaces to record performances to share online. This fall, we are partnering with several groups to film their full-scale productions on stage in the Gregory Family Theatre and Merchant Hall, including Step Afrika! and Manassas Ballet Theatre. We’ve also collaborated with George Mason University and its many health and safety experts to establish new procedures for both artists and staff to produce this work safely during the pandemic. These in-house projects with the artists and crew will take place without an audience and will be presented for later online viewing. The tools and techniques we’re developing will also be useful for livestreaming selected artistic programs and other events in the future.

Washington D.C.-based Step Afrika!, the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, will film a production in Merchant Hall that will be available to watch, free-of-charge, this December (exact date with details to come). Information on how to watch this high-energy, holiday event will be shared on the Hylton Center's website soon! This dance ensemble’s polyrhythmic, percussive dance style, which is a celebrated tradition in Black fraternities and sororities, uses the body as an instrument, and integrates song, storytelling, and humor into the performance.  As a 2020-2021 virtual Artist-in-Residence, Step Afrika! will bring their trademark percussive style to Hylton at Home through this lively, pre-recorded performance.

Before the event, Subscribers and Friends of the Hylton Center are invited to tune in for a special conversation with Step Afrika! founder C. Brian Williams. Become a Friend of the Hylton Center now and gain access to this exclusive talk!

The Hylton Center is also excited to bring one of our Arts Partners, Manassas Ballet Theatre, (MBT) and its talented cast of dancers to Merchant Hall stage just in time for Halloween to film the chilling, time-honored tale, Frankenstein, with an original score by the Kim Reynolds Band. Using the same filming safety protocols, this performance will be pre-recorded on Merchant Hall stage for streaming on Saturday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m. Learn more about how to purchase tickets to this online performance. Be sure to also catch Manassas Ballet Theatre’s Artist Chat: Frankenstein two days earlier on Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m., featuring  Artistic Director/Choreographer Amy Grant Wolfe and Composer/Musician Edward Kim Reynolds of the Kim Reynolds Band, who will provide insight into their 20+ years of collaboration as they discuss the creative process of choreographing and composing Frankenstein. This discussion will be moderated by Dancer/Instructor Hannah Locke.

Get all the most up-to-date information about the Hylton Center’s digital programming at

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