Joy of Motion Dance Center Presents “DE/RAIL: The Underground Truth” Touring Performance to Celebrate Black History Month


Washington, DC (January 25, 2016) – To celebrate Black History Month, Joy of Motion Dance Center is excited to present “De/Rail: The Underground Truth”, a theatrical dance production exploring the myths and realities of the Underground Railroad. A preview will be shown at an invitation-only event on February 4, and the first public performance is scheduled for March 7, 2017 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. This is the first audience-centric dance production presented by Joy of Motion Dance Center. “De/Rail: The Underground Truth” is a touring performance available for booking from February through October 2017. 

Directed by Ayanna Williams, Joy of Motion’s Director of Neighborhood Steps, and choreographed by Jocelyn Isaac, Joy of Motion’s faculty member, De/Rail’s choreography pays homage to African American aesthetic in dance, mixes the elements of contemporary modern, African, and Afro-Diaspora, and utilizes dance, music, poetry and character works into a multi-media theatrical dance performance. The story is constructed in three acts, highlighting a cast of historical characters who escaped to freedom and explores their individual and collective pursuits for freedom and equity.

Designed to be an educational touring performance for students of ages 8 and older, De/Rail will engage young audiences in a historical and artistic journey of dance, and acquaint them with the meanings of the Underground Railroad in our current cultural landscape.

“This project is our small effort to honor those brave Americans who strived and struggled to liberate slaves during the last years of a dark era in American history,” stated Ayanna Williams, Joy of Motion’s Director of Neighborhood Steps and director of De/Rail. “De/Rail will be a fun, enriching way for our audience to learn more about a pivotal moment in America’s cultural and political history.”

The Golden Doors to Freedom – ArtWorks for Freedom’s participatory arts initiative to fight human trafficking in partnership with survivor and community groups – will install its final, completed piece, the Golden Doors, on De/Rail’s stage. DC artist Molly Gochman will also bring the red sand from her “Red Sand Project”, which invites audiences to connect and take action against human trafficking, to the performance. Audiences can later use it to fill the sidewalk and post a photo on social media as an opportunity to interact with this powerful show. De/Rail also provides a curriculum guide to partner schools upon booking the show. Every performance will be followed by a Q&A session between students and panelists, performers and teachers.

According to Steve Barberio, Executive Director at Joy of Motion Dance Center and Executive Producer of De/Rail, “In its performances, Joy of Motion seeks to serve younger generations by enhancing their life experiences through dance, increasing their awareness of the lives, hardships, and heroism of their forebears, and improving their understanding of the society in which they are growing up. We anticipate that De/Rail will affect audience members’ sense of self and pique their interest in learning more about how history continues to shape their lives.”

From February to October 2017, De/Rail: The Underground Truth” will be open for booking by schools and other venues. For more information, contact Ayanna Williams at

Other De/Rail: The Underground Truth” events include:


  • Private Preview, February 4, 2017 at Joy of Motion’s Jack Guidone Theater.
  • Public performance, March 7, 2017 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
  • Workshops with ArtWorks for Freedom on the Golden Doors to Freedom project. Date/Time TBD.

All events are open for television, radio, print and online news coverage. Media crew can request press access at least one week prior to the event dates.

Steve Barberio, Ayanna Williams and Jocelyn Isaac are available for interview upon request. To RSVP to the private preview or request press access, please contact Karen Zhang, Director of Marketing and Communications at