At TED Talks Live, our first series of events on Broadway, ideas will be shared in all forms. Yes, in classic TED Talks. But also in music, poetry and dance.
On November 3 and 4, during the War & Peace program, expect many great talks — including bold new ideas from author Sebastian Junger and actor Adam Driver of the show Girls. Rufus Wainwright will play a short set of songs, and Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa will share poems with roots in his personal experience. But one of the most powerful moments of the night will come courtesy of the Martha Graham 2 dance company.
On a recent night, the TED Blog stopped by a rehearsal to watch as choreographer Amanda Kreglow fine-tuned a piece with dancers from the company. The piece, called “In the Mist of Dying,” is a lyrical reflection on how war affects individuals as well as families.
“The dance is about a young man who is on the battlefield. He’s been mortally wounded,” said Kreglow. “In order to deal with the pain, he brings his wife in. At first, it’s like a perfume, a scent. Then the remembrance of his last days that he had with his wife — which did not go well.”
The dance is challenging. “It’s an exhausting piece,” said Kreglow. “It’s constant motion, with a lot of turns. It’s swirling, a push and pull.”
TED Talks Live curator Juliet Blake discovered the piece on YouTube, and spent weeks tracking down Kreglow to add the piece to the program. Kreglow contacted the Martha Graham Company, and Martha Graham 2 artistic director Virginie Mécène was thrilled to be a part of the performance. The piece will be performed on the TED Talks stage by dancers Ricardo Barrett and Jessica Sgambelluri. The two will spend the next month rehearsing it, to get every movement just so.
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War & Peace is one of three TED Talks Live themes. The Education Revolution will run on November 1 and 2, and Science & Wonder will follow on November 5 and 6. Each night will be a thought-provoking mix of talks, performances and special surprises, hosted by author and comedian Baratunde Thurston.
The video above was directed by Andrew May. It stars choreographer Amanda Kreglow, dancers Ricardo Barrett + Jessica Sgambelluri, and understudies Jean-Baptiste Ferreira + Maria Vittoria Villa.