This Car Up

“This Car Up” is a film by Tulsa Modern Movement commissioned for the Greenwood Art Project and Bloomberg Philanthropies to activate civic healing around the 100-year mark of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The film explores the nature of perception by looking at the story of Sarah Page and David “Dick” Rowland and their possible interaction in the Drexel Building elevator, the catalyzing event of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. In the mix are questions about the politics of these two bodies together (White woman and Black man) and America’s general paranoia about these two bodies in contact.

In the face of ambiguity about what happened in the elevator, Choreographer Ari Christopher sees a certainty about perception: “What is true for a person is heavily influenced by their position in society and the accompanying fears, resentments, and beliefs — crafted and delivered by our storytellers and meaning-makers.”

  • Ari Christopher
    Choreography & Concept
  • Jessica Vokoun
    Director of Photography & Editor
  • Tulsa Modern Movement
  • Greenwood Art Project
  • Kevyn Butler
    Key Cast
    "David Rowland"
  • Roma Catania
    Key Cast
    "Sarah Page"
  • Adam Crossman
  • Jessica Vokoun
  • Christa Patrick
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 24, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    10,300 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Greenwood Art Project
    Tulsa, OK
    United States
    May 26, 2021
    North American Premiere
  • Arkansas Art Academy
    Rogers, AR
    United States
    November 12, 2021
Distribution Information
  • Tulsa Modern Movement
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography

Ari Christopher is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She is the founding Director of Tulsa Modern Movement, teaches Modern at Tulsa Ballet CDE and Art Infusion with Oklahoma A Plus Schools, and the former Director of Project CREATES.

Ms. Christopher’s work generally centers around themes of identity and belonging - asking questions about race, gender, and privilege in America - and themes related to our humanness and connection to each other and the earth. Her choreography has been commissioned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Greenwood Art Project, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and ahha Tulsa, among others; and won Best of Fest at Exchange Choreography Festival in 2016.

Ms. Christopher attended the BFA Dance program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she trained with Merle Holloman (Limón Company), Lone Larsen (Graham Company), and Gerald Otte (Nikolais Dance). She has performed for McDuffie/Jones and Vanessa Paige in works presented at New York venues such as the Downtown Dance Festival, the 92nd Street Y, and Soundance, as well as with Tulsa choreographers Megan Miller and Alicia Chesser, among others. She continues her professional development by studying with masters in the field and participating in collaborative endeavors with professionals from a variety of disciplines.

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Director Statement

My choreography draws upon classical modern dance, release technique, and weight sharing. I like to play with the pushes, pulls, weight and initiation points throughout and between connected vessels. I often prefer to work in collaboration – usually with an artist or thinker from a different domain, art discipline or life experience – because I find fruitful ground in the overlaps and enjoy the discovery process.

When I make work for public spaces, I am interested in shifting the environment and tuning into a state of being that amplifies the audiences’ ability to be here now.

My recent work for the stage explores the possibilities of storytelling with immersive dance-based theater. I'm interested in how movement in time and space can affect text and vice versa to tell an embodied story. The main purpose of this work is to offer my audience permission to reflect upon difficult issues across disparate and historically unequal groups - not just speak, but also to ask questions. I operate with the understanding that every person balances the need for safety with the need for truth. I take risks in my work to give the audience a safer place to sit in truth, and take a risk toward their own truth and vulnerability.

I am deeply grateful to each person - dancer, collaborator, donor, friend and family - who have given of themselves - in time, talent, encouragement and funds - to help make this company and my work possible.