Be Holding is an original performance created by poet Ross Gay, composer Tyshawn Sorey, new music ensemble Yarn/Wire, and director Brooke O’Harra. Produced by Girard College in Philadelphia, the performance premiered on May 31, 2023 with student performers inside a gym at Girard College. Inspired by Philadelphia 76ers basketball legend “Dr. J” and his iconic baseline scoop in the 1980 NBA Finals, Be Holding meditates on America’s history of racial violence in search of Black genius, justice, and joy. (Be Holding project website)
of the New York Time's writes:
Sorey’s music here revels in a dreamy consonance during Gay’s first extended description of Dr. J’s drive to the basket. But as the poem explores tangential ideas and metaphoric asides, Sorey’s score trends chromatic — while making use of Yarn/Wire’s facility with the experimental techniques that Greenberg mentioned in his email. Later, there is a return to the opening’s beatific energy while the text of “Be Holding” lands on its expanded conception of communal joy.
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Photo credit: Ryan Collerd