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Dance and Spoken Word Coming to Weeksville for September BEAT Festival

 The BEAT Festival is coming to the Weeksville Heritage Center in September.
The BEAT Festival is coming to the Weeksville Heritage Center in September.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — How does contemporary artwork mix with the history of a 19th century free black community in Brooklyn?

That’s what a group of artists is looking to find out next month in a weekend-long performance at the Weeksville Heritage Center as part of the fourth annual Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater (BEAT) Festival, organizers said.

On Sept. 11 and 12, a group of artists including poet Keisha-Gaye Anderson and dancehall choreographer Blacka Di Danca will perform at the Crown Heights historic site where free black people settled and lived during the mid- to late-1800s. The piece, titled “Fertile Grounds,” aims to move “from the historic to the modern, presenting words, movement and song” that reflect the time period of each building at Weeksville, according to a press release.

The artists will share oral histories from 1800s-era residents of the community, deliver speeches and perform modern spoken word poetry and dance at various spots around the center, which is comprised of multiple 19th century rowhouses and a large, modern museum on the same block of Buffalo Avenue.

The performance is one of many in the ten-day-long BEAT Festival, to take place at multiple venues in the borough including the Brooklyn Museum, the MetroTech complex and Manufacture New York, located in the Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park.

The BEAT Festival will run from Sept. 10 to 19; "Fertile Grounds" will take place on Sept. 11 and 12. Though some of the festival’s events are free, tickets for “Fertile Grounds” at Weeksville cost $20. For a complete run-down of performances, venues and ticket costs, visit the festival’s website.