choreographer juel d lane brings classic painting to life

December 17, 2018
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Award-winning choreographer Juel D. Lane is closing out the year in celebration of the life of painter Ernie Barnes.

Lane’s tribute, which uses the medium dance-on-film, draws inspiration from Barnes’s 1978 painting, “The Maestro.” It depicts a Black man as the conductor of sounds spilling out of a jukebox style radio. Early in his career, Barnes stated, “We are blind to one’s humanity.” This may be why he often painted depictions from his community.

Lane, too, is committed to highlighting and honoring his communities (particularly Black folks & queer folks), and with this dance-on-film piece, he takes on the role of the conductor, one who lives a robust life filled with hopes and dreams. Lane offers, “As a Black man I’m deeply moved by the language Barnes paints; from the lanky extremities flowing freely in space to a bold sense of culture, color, and pureness on the canvas. Now I’m bringing that all to life. It’s really exciting.”

The Maestro is directed & choreographed by Juel D. Lane, cinematography by James R. Wiley, animation by Evan Finch, music composition by Munir Zakee, and makeup by Allyson Kochanek and Taylor Speagle. Jule D. Lane IG: @jueldlane