Dance company tackles tough issue through choreography

At once addressing realities and desired common goals, that the Oyo Dance Company’s upcoming program title includes (and combines) the words equality and inequality is deliberate.

“Parallel: A Show About (In)equality” will be presented twice on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Columbus Performing Arts Center.

“The arts can educate and start conversations, especially in these polarized times,” Oyo Artistic Director Rachel Nace Maynard said. “Sometimes just talking isn’t enough. You need to see or feel something to think about it in a new way.”

The program speaks to issues of equality as it concerns gender, race and class. Maynard’s piece, “Rat Race,” focuses on economic and social inequality and how various classes interact, or don’t, with one another. A piece choreographed by Abdiel Jacobsen titled “Fractured Fervor” is inspired by “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Maynard said the choreography is both literal and metaphorical and is intended to be appropriate for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Oyo will be joined by Goree Drum and Dance for a West African dance piece about African-American womanhood. A panel discussion featuring community leaders from Ohio State University, Stonewall Columbus and other organizations will follow each performance.