Jeremy McQueen’s ‘WILD: Act 1’ dares audiences to think about juvenile justice

Jeremy McQueen’s 'WILD: Act 1' dares audiences to think about juvenile justice
Choreographer Jeremy McQueen (Photo courtesy of Jeremy McQueen)

In 2016, choreographer Jeremy McQueen launched his ballet collective, The Black Iris Project, with the mission of uniting Black professional dancers from companies around the country to create new ballets that are engrained in the Black experience. His latest work, WILD: Act 1, takes its inspiration from a photograph by Richard Ross and Maurice Sendak’s famous children’s story, Where the Wild Things Are. The film is a performance piece that explores systemic racism and injustices through the eyes of youth trapped in the justice system.

What is The Black Iris Project about and what was its genesis?

I first created the ballet, “Black Iris,” as a tribute to my mother, godmother, and aunt. Black Iris III was a painting that struck me as being strong, vibrant, resilient, courageous—very effervescent. It reminded me of my mother, when she was going through breast cancer treatment at the time and of so many strong Black women throughout history, specifically those who raised me and helped me become who I am.

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