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Hartford performers take on race, immigration issues through dance

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HARTFORD – When Arien Wilkerson and his Hartford-based dance company Tnmot Aztro first started rehearsals for their latest show, they could not have predicted just how relevant its themes would be to today's headlines. But the group is embracing the current climate and hoping its performance will add to the conversation.

Wilkerson said, “I wanted to kind of talk about immigration and migration told through my grandparents` eyes and told through my eyes as an urban kid living in an urban city.”

The show called "Black Boy Jungle," which is based on Richard Wright’s memoir "Black Boy," tackles issues surrounding race and immigration and how they affect identity.

He said, “It’s a story about urban migration, talking about the social injustice themes that we are facing currently right now.”

The dancers hope their audiences find it not only entertaining, but also thought provoking. It’s why they’re hosting a private, free show for several local youth groups on Thursday, including CT Students for a Dream, Hartford Youth Scholars, and Grow Hartford. The dancers plan to hold a talk back after the performance with the children.

“I hope that when the youth see the show too they go home and they ask more about themselves and ask their parents more about who they are and what their grandparents’ lives were,” said Wilkerson.

The message is that no matter who you are or where you come from your story is worth telling. They just happen to tell their stories through dance.

Wilkerson said, “I want [audiences] to realize how much their identity matters.”

Tnmot Aztro will be performing "Black Boy Jungle" on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Town and Country Club. Ticket information can be found here.

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