Quiet As It’s Kept

Quiet as It's Kept 2015 (Re-developed in 2017)

Deneane Richburg, Artistic Director & Choreographer

Set to a soundscape created in collaboration with and performed by actress and Twin Cities vocalist, Thomasina Petrus, Quiet As It’s Kept (which premiered in May 2015) captures the complexity and turbulence of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period and the rise of Jim Crow “governance” and draws parallels between these time periods and contemporary racial struggles.


Quiet as it’s Kept: The African American Response to Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow

A Teaching Guide by Dr. Emma Buffington Duren

Quiet as it’s kept is a phrase or saying use to indicate that something is a secret or not suitable for public discourse. Often this is the case when presenting the complex role of African Americans in the history of this country. The era known as Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow played a critical role in this country’s racial oppression of African American. Its residual impact can be seen in modern lives and events.

Lee Graham (movement artist/collaborator, 2017)

Lee was so emotionally moved by Michelle Kwan’s 2002 Olympic Exhibition program that he expressed a desire to begin figure skating to his mom. At the age of 15, his parents saw his new interest as a possible distraction from his academics, but his mother could only express that concern in a manner that only a southern mother could; “NO! Dat’s not a black people thing!” Lee utilized the school library to research figure skaters of color which led to a Figure Skating magazine with a full photo spread of a cast of Black skaters called Ebony On Ice. including the two other Brownbody movement artists Carrie and Steven. Lee finally bought his first pair of figure skates at the age of 19 while working as the Zamboni Driver at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he received an academic scholarship in biological sciences and visual arts. Lee would stay late into the night and teach himself movements that he’d studied from televised recordings. It was the beginning of a love affair with movement and self-expression. Lee was scouted by Disney On Ice to star in their touring production of High School Musical, which toured for two years in North, Central, and South America. Followed up by 5 years touring Europe with Holiday On Ice, Lee continued to explore other forms of artistic expression, including modeling, acting, dancing, comedy, singing, puppetry, drag, fire spinning, and aerial silks. His 2008 impersonation of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” performed in the snow-covered forest of Alaska went viral, was featured in Beyonce’s live European tour and was highlighted by Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360”. Lee is now a figure skating coach and choreographer in Denver, Colorado. His team of skaters is currently #1 in the state of Colorado in the basic skills circuit.

Carrie Maultsby-Lute (movement artist/collaborator, 2017)

Carrie Maultsby-Lute began skating at 18 months old when she discovered a pair of roller skates at daycare and refused to take them off. Shortly after, her uncle took her to ice skate and thus began her lifetime love of the sport. Carrie is a USFSA gold medalist and has held titles such as Indiana State Champion, Tri-State Champion, and YMCA athlete of the year. Following her competitive years, Carrie skated professionally as a principal performer with Ebony On Ice, Disney on Ice, and the Snoopy Show as well as being asoloist and choreographer for the bi-annual Friends of Minority Figure Skaters show. Carrie has a B.A in Anthropology from the University of California Berkeley and an M.B.A from Mills College. Carrie wears many hats as a creative entrepreneur and has just as much fun producing visual art exhibitions for international painters as she does creating marketing plans for startups. Carrie was inspired to leave skating retirement to work with Brownbody and Urban Bush Women, as they highlight cultural and sociopolitical themes that break boundaries on the ice.

Steven Smith (movement artist/collaborator, 2017)

Steven Smith started skating at the age of ten. His love and dedication to the sport allowed him to excel; competing at the US National Championships six times, while earning two medals. After retiring from competition, Steven used his athleticism and acclaimed performance abilities to create a flourishing career as a professional figure skater and has amassed amazing experiences and triumphs in his two decades of performing. He has toured the world skating for the most regarded companies in show business and has worked with award winning skating and dance choreographers. Steven has skated in television specials and performed in front of over 80,000 people in the principal cast of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The memory that Steven holds closest to his heart is performing in the history making all black figure skating show Ebony on Ice. The experience changed his life—every performance he has done since then has been to inspire people of color to explore nontraditional sports. Steven came out of retirement for this special production by Brownbody to not only inspire, but to show the world there is an innovative kind of skating that is emerging. Quirky Tidbit: Steven’s personal goal is to land a triple toe loop by the end of the show’s run; not just for personal bragging rights, but to prove old dogs can still do great tricks!

Thomasina Petrus (2017 & 2015)

Thomasina is a 25-year equity actor and professional jazz vocalist, a com-pany member at Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, and Park Square The-atre, and has performed with the Twin Cities most beloved artists. Mentors and friends, James “Cornbread” Harris, Sr., Javetta Steele, T. Mycheal Rambo, Stokley, Walter Chancellor, Austene Cleopatra Van, and Prince, have encouraged her to continue creating exceptional music and theatre by launching Thomasina Production. Highlights include: Lady Day @ Emerson’s Bar & Grill by Lanie Robertson, Etta James… Dreams to Remember, Hot Chocolate Holiday musical series, and the 5-women a cappella ensemble “The Sound Effects,” HOLD a play on incar-cerated women thru music and poetry, and Five Points by Harrison David Rivers. Petrus is a 2015/2016 Playwright Center McKnight Theatre Arts Fellow. A suc-cessful departure from performing, Petrus has also created Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle. Her delicious melt-in-your-mouth Cashew Brittle and new Apple Brittle, have been featured at the MN State Fair and US Bank Stadium, and online. Visit Thomasinascashewbrittle.com & ThomasinaProduction.com

Deneane Richburg, ( 2017 & 2015)

Deneane is the founder and Artistic Director of Brownbody. She received her MFA in dance and choreography from Temple University in 2007, an MA in Afro-American Studies from UW Madison, and a BA in English and African American Studies from Carleton College. Working with Lela Aisha Jones, Richburg was also the Co-founder of The Requisite Movers, a Philadelphia based program that supports the work of Black female choreographers. Deneane has danced for a number of artists including, Chris Walker, Jose Francisco Barroso, Dr. Kariamu Welsh, Lela Aisha Jones and has performed with Off Leash Area, Flyground, and Kariamu and Company. Richburg is a grateful recipient of a 2017 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, administered by the Cowles Center, funded by The McKnight Foundation, a 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, and a Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Simeon Hanks (performer, 2015)

Simeon, born in DallasTexas, fell in love with skating at age 7 while enrolled in Learn-To-Skate classes at the Galleria in Dallas. Simeon passed many skating USFSA tests and won the Novice Men’s silver medal at the 1997 US Nationals. In 2000 he joined Disney on Ice for the first time with 100 years of Disney Magic and enjoyed it very much. His passion for skating has taken him around the world performing professionally on tour for thousands and to 16 different countries. “Being able to travel and experience so many different cultures has been a blessing.” In 2010 Hanks had the privilege as a principal performer in residence with the cast of QI at the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin Germany. Now with Brownbody, Simeon aims to connect with the audience his graceful yet powerful and smooth skating style.

Devinai Hobbs (performer, 2015)

Devinai started her skating career as a rollerblader and then moved into figure skating at the ripe age of 6, after her grandfather signed her up for classes at McFetridge Sports Center in Chicago, IL. Her first coach, Henk Green, inspired her to work hard and push past obstacles; providing her with opportunities that she never imagined. As an amatuer skater Devinai climbed the ranks to become a U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist in Freestyle and Moves in the Field. She received a Gold Blade Award from the DuPage Figure Skating Club and has also competed at 3 Midwest Regional Competitions. As a professional skater Devinai has toured across the U.S with Universoul Circus as a featured performer. Aspiring to pass along her knowledge and love of skating, Devinai’s goals include coaching the next generation of skaters to empower them to believe in themselves and achieve their goals.

Chrissy Lipscomb (performer, 2015)

Chrissy was born and raised in Chicago, IL. At the age of 7, she discovered figure skating while enjoying winter festivities located in downtown Chicago with her father. Soon after falling in love with the sport, Chrissy’s talent prevailed and she placed 4th in her first Regional Competition and mastered all of her triple jumps at an early age. A natural jumper, she became one of the first and youngest African-American skaters to complete a four revolution (quad) jump; landing her on the pages of Lake Placid News and Chicago Tribune. Following her competitive accomplishments, Chrissy decided to focus her career development as a professional skater. She has been a featured performer in numerous world renowned ice shows such as: Ebony on Ice (Rory Flack), Miracles of Gold (Tara Lipinski), Universoul Circus (Soul on Ice), Disney on Ice(High School Musical), Being Bounded(BBC), POI(BBC).

Isaac “Ike”Russell (Bass Player, 2015)

Ike’s skating experience began with Matthew spark board hockey and ended when he broke his jaw on the ice with South High. He started on electric bass playing reggae and graduated to upright to play jazz and blues with local legend Cornbread Harris. Ike directs music at Minnehaha United Methodist Church, he teaches music from birth to high school and moonlights at occasional bar gigs. Ike raises his three children and any other drop-ins from his south Minneapolis home with his wife Madeleine.

Rohene Ward (performer & artistic consultant, 2015)

Born and raised on the North side of Minneapolis, MN graduating from North High School in 2001, Rohene Ward started playing hockey whenhe was 7 years old and started figure skating at the age of 8. Rohene has been skating for 17 years; he is a 9 time Regional Champion, 7 time national competitor, U.S. team member for 3 years, has performed with the Ebony on Ice Tourin 2002, Soul Spectacular on Ice Tourin 2003, Champions on Ice Tourin 2006, Italian Champions Tourin 2006 and the Russian Olympic Tourin 2006, he was the 2004 Puerto Rican National Champion, and in 2007 did a piece with the Guthrie called the Triangle of Need with Catherine Sullivan, the main artist and producer. Rohene has been teaching for 7 years and has trained in classical ballet and modern dance for 7 years.

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