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What Did You Think of The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence

Thank you for joining us for The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence from Step Afrika!

We are proud to have this incredible company back at the Emerson Cutler Majestic, bringing to life the history of the Great Migration through the lens of Jacob Lawrence’s art. Please share your reflections on the performance in the comments. To hear stories of migration in our own community or to learn more about the Great Migration, see these posts on our blog.


  1. Sumru ErkutMay 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Excellent performances and performers did justice to honoring Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series. My one concern was that the lighting had to keep the performances in a dimmer light than I would have wanted. I assume the lighting designers had to do that to be able to show the artwork. Could there have been other solutions?
    The composition of the audience by age and and racial/ethnic mixture showed me that ArtsEmerson’s community engagement efforts are working. You are doing a good job, keep it going.

  2. What captivated me the most about this performance, and moved me deeply, was the passion & power & Spirit flowing through their every movement. No move was wasted. Every part of their entire bodies were fluid, beauty-in-motion, telling universal stories that must continue to be told. Beyond the “technical” expertise of the dance, which was superior, I felt I was witness to a deeper, primal expression of life and love and community and a shared, profound experience over the ages. This was more than simply a “performance”. This was a Spiritual; Awakening. My heart-felt thanks to all of you beautiful Souls.

  3. We enjoyed this thoroughly – even more than the last time we saw this troupe here at ArtsEmerson. We loved the talent – dancing, choreography, drumming. It was a pity that there was an intermission – we were so drawn into it that we wanted it to go on.

    To be honest, we were not particularly taken by the paintings, which meant less to us than they obviously did to those involved in putting the show together. The choreography, dancing and drumming carried the narrative without them.

  4. Arlene BryerMay 6, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Congratulations on an amazing performance. I was in awe of the energy and athletic abilities of the artists. I was exhausted just watching them! It was a wonderful journey and I was also thrilled to be part of such a diverse audience.

  5. Jeanette CallahanMay 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    A breathtakingly beautiful, energetic and soul tugging performance honoring the power and richness of the African Diaspora in American culture.
    I appreciated the diversity in the audience! We need more venues for these kinds of shared experiences.

  6. Matti Kniva SpencerMay 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    I enjoyed every moment of The Migration. The dancers really delivered the goods. You can tell that they spent hours and hours practicing the dance moves. Wow!!! The musicians backing them up were also superb. Both the dancing and the music complimented each other…perfectly. What a great tribute to Jacob Lawrence.

  7. Parmie PolkMay 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Outstanding performances by both dancers and musicians. I was swept up in the melodies of the steppers. I did not relate the dancing to the art work. It wasn’t until I read in the playbill and The Migration Piece-by-Piece references that was provided, that the show took on a new life for me. It was unfortunate that I didn’t read these references before seei g the performances. I think that I would have had a deeper feel for what was really going on, with the projection of the artwork and the dancers. However, in reading it today, I am reminded of my family’s migration from Mississippi to the north and the opportunities that their migration has afforded me; such as being a part of the Arts Emerson community and living out my enthusiasm for the Arts. Thank you for all you do to reach out and provide access for all communities to participate.

  8. Jacq clarkMay 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Wonderful interaction between brilliant art, magical dancing and music from the soul. Thank you !

  9. Kevin KaneMay 6, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Excellent performance much appreciated by the audience with Emerson providing a special addition to the Boston Arts scene

  10. David, having seen and studied the Migration Series, I thought the pictures added something, but I could see that if you are not familiar with the Migration Series, the snippets of the paintings may not have been as powerful. I hope you will get to see them, if you have not already. They are incredibly powerful.

  11. Sandra JohnstonMay 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    It was inspiring and lovely. I especially loved the drumming and the dancing. I wanted it to continue. Now how about something similar that includes R&B and Hip Hop? After all that music evolved into those genres. Add some cutting edge African American art and you’ve got it!

  12. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts here. I’ve also let the company know to look here to follow your responses.

    It is particularly gratifying to see the appreciation of the work we’ve been doing in cultivating the ArtsEmerson audience. We’ve made a sustained investment in this part of our mission, the part about trying to build an audience that reflects the glorious diversity of the city of Boston, and we are so excited to see the momentum building in that direction at this point. It’s a wonderful surprise to hear so many of you talking about it as well. At the season preview the other night we heard a lot more of these comments and at last night’s Mr. Joy performance in Scituate we were introduced by someone who spoke as much about our audience as our programming. This is precisely what we had envisioned, and to see it coming into the equation is thrilling.

    If you are so inclined, we’d love to have your help in building on this momentum. Your cosign, among your friends, colleagues, and networks, and followers is the most powerful form of outreach we can have. Word of mouth is far and away the most effective audience development tool. Let us know if you can help us in spreading the word.

    Thank you for stepping in!


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