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651 ARTS Premieres Poignant Performance '3 RITES: Happiness' This Week

The final installation of epic performance trilogy "3 RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness" by Edisa Weeks will take place this week at Weeksville Heritage Center.
3 RITES: Life. Photo: Provided/651 ARTS.

The final installment of Edisa Weeks' epic performance trilogy, "3 RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness," is debuting this week at Weeksville Heritage Center.

The performance series is put on by 651 ARTS, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and presenting contemporary performing arts rooted in the African diaspora.

Weeks, the renowned Brooklyn-based choreographer, has crafted a captivating series consisting of three distinct interactive performance rituals. These dynamic presentations seamlessly blend dance, live music, text, visual installations, community discussions and communal meals.

Titled "3 RITES," the performances delve into the profound exploration of the inclusion of life, liberty, and happiness as unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

Each installment explores what these rights mean today, who has access to them, and how they manifest in the body.

"3 RITES: Life" premiered in September; "3 RITES: Liberty" premiered in October, and "3 RITES: Happiness" will take place this week, from Nov. 16-18. 

“In '3 RITES,' I’m seeking to reckon with America’s past, present and potential future, by engaging people in the ideals that are a core part of America’s foundation and generating a dialogue about what needs to be done to ensure these ideals apply to everyone,” said Weeks.

In the first two installments of the work, Weeks emphasizes ethical stewardship of nature and explores the history of African Americans with a steady blend of humor and poignancy. 

The final installment, "3 RITES: Happiness" will debut at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center and will explore how laughter and pleasure manifest in the body. This final piece revolves around the concept of self-care and making time to relax, laugh and recharge for the labor of upholding the values of life, liberty and happiness. 

The performance features four dancers and commissioned music by Nathaniel Braddock, played live by the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International.

“I am interested in bringing diverse groups of people together through dance, song, installations, storytelling, laughter, food and conversations. I truly believe that art revitalizes the everyday to reveal something new about ourselves; and that revelation has the power to change the world," Weeks said. 

3 RITES: Happiness Schedule

Location: Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213.

  • Thursday, Nov. 16, 6:00pm
  • Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, 6:00pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 18: two performances, beginning at 1:00pm and 6:00pm.

Tickets are $30 for students and $35 for all other attendees. Buy tickets here. 


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