The Pittsburgh Foundation

Kontara Morphis

Left: Kontara Morphis in motion, image credit Bodiography. Right: Kontara Morphis, image credit: Jasmine Leftwich (Visionary)
Left: Kontara Morphis in motion, image credit Bodiography. Right: Kontara Morphis, image credit: Jasmine Leftwich (Visionary)

2023 grant amount: $20,000 over two years

This grant supports the development of a contemporary ballet, “The Wonders of Alice,” which is a take on Tim Burton’s motion picture Alice in Wonderland. This reconfiguration embodies an original plot written, directed and choreographed by Kontara Morphis. It’s a choreographed reimagining of Black wealth in the 1920’s and Black culture to date. 

It is told through the lens of the African Diaspora.  Alice’s family, a group of affluent Black borguesie (Black elite), gather for a party in their home. As members of the Greenwood District, they are the picture of Black wealth in the 1920’s. Bombings suddenly erupt outside interrupting the party. In an attempt to escape, Alice lands in a place that is familiar but very unusual. African- diasporic movement guides this story, as she encounters members of her family in their unguarded true forms.

"This story at its core is about visibility,  a journey of self-realization and discovery," says Morphis. "We will mirror this core throughout the preproduction and production process by being intentional in how we create space."

The Wonders of Alice will be presented in spring 2024 at New Hazlett Theatre as a CSA Residency work.

About her work, the artist says, "I believe that dance has the power to communicate complex ideas and emotions in a way that words cannot. Dance also has the ability to connect people across cultural and linguistic barriers."


INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/kontara/

2023 AWARDEES LIST ADVANCING BLACK ARTS IN PITTSBURGH MAIN