In response to domestic coronavirus developments, Stanford University is strongly discouraging all large-scale university gatherings, effective March 4 through May 15. Stanford Live, in compliance with the university’s decision, is moving to cancel large-scale performances within this time frame. This performance has been canceled—read more.
THE APOLLO, directed by Oscar® and Emmy® winner Roger Ross Williams, chronicles the legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater, covering the rich history of the storied performance space over its 85 years. What began as a refuge for marginalized artists emerged as a hallowed hall of black excellence and empowerment. In the film, Williams reflects on the struggle of black lives in America, the role that art plays in that struggle, and the part the Apollo Theater continues to play in the cultural conversation.
Join us for a post-film discussion with Vaughn Williams and Aleta Hayes on the historical significance venues like The Apollo served to support black artists and the importance of supporting work by contemporary artists of color.
Vaughn Williams graduated from Stanford Law school (JD 1969) where he served as president of the Stanford Law Review. Before that he graduated from Harvard University (AB 1966).
Mr. Williams has been an active Stanford alumnus, serving on the Stanford board of trustees, The Stanford Law School Dean’s Advisory Council and the board of directors of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and other Stanford organizations. He is currently a member of the Stanford Arts Council which is hosting the March 2020 Convening.
From 1978 through 2015, Mr. Williams was a litigation partner resident in the New York office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. A New York resident, he has been on the boards of several performing arts not-for-profit organizations, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Inc., the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Apollo Theater and the Harlem School for the Arts. He has also been on the boards of other not-for-profit organizations. “
Aleta Hayes is a lecturer in the Theater and Performance Studies program at Stanford. Additionally, she is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer, and teacher. Before her appointment at Stanford, Ms. Hayes taught for eight years at Princeton University in the Program in Theater and Dance and the Program in African American Studies. While at Princeton, Ms. Hayes developed pedagogically innovative courses that combined cultural and performance history, theory, and performance. She has also taught at Wesleyan University, Swarthmore College, and Rutgers University. Ms. Hayes holds an M.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A., with Departmental Honors, in Drama, Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford University (1991).
Aleta Hayes lived and worked in New York City for fifteen years, choreographing solo and group dance pieces, in which her performances often interpolated acting and singing. Highlights include: Hatsheput, presented at the Place Theater, London and St. Marks Church, New York; Tarantantara, presented at Jacob’s Pillow; and La Chanteuse Nubienne (written by playwright Daniel Alexander Jones), performed for Movement Research at Judson Church. Ms. Hayes collaborated, as choreographer and dance/vocal soloist, with the poet Yusef Komunyakaa and composer William Banfield, on Ish-Scoodah, a chamber opera with dance about the nineteenth century African American sculptor, Edmonia Lewis. She also had leading roles in major works by other artists such as Jane Comfort (the trip-hop dance/opera Asphalt, with a book by Carl Hancock Rux) and Robert Wilson (the opera The Temptation of St Anthony, with gospel and other African American spiritual music forms and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon). Ms. Hayes has continued to perform in the subsequent international presentations of The Temptation of St Anthony.
In 2004, Ms. Hayes returned to Stanford on a Ford Foundation Resident Dialogues Fellowship through the Committee on Black Performing Arts, for which she created The Wedding Project, a performance piece of multiple genres illustrating the evolution of American social dance through the narrative of African American wedding traditions. She extended this “theater of mixed forms” (the critic Anna Kisselgoff’s term) into community dialogue when she was a 2005 Peninsula Community Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Eastside Preparatory School in East Palo Alto. That residence culminated in The ReMix Project, where she collaborated with students to create and perform a montage of music, monologue, and movement examining student aspirations in a low-income, racially-mixed neighborhood.
The Chocolate Heads Movement Band, founded by Hayes in 2009 to the present, is a platform for performers of many genres. The troupe’s name is a descriptor for a “movement driven band” comprised of dancers, musicians, visual artists, performance poets and writers—referencing both dance and social movement as motivating forces for the work. In 2011, the Chocolate Heads were invited to perform at STAN: Society, Technology, Art and Nature—a prototype TED X talk at Stanford University.