Austin Project

Renee Davis

THE SISTER MOSES PROJECT was conceived in 1998 when Renee Davis reluctantly relocated to Austin, Texas with her husband and children from Phoenix, Arizona.  After 14 years of working with Desert Dance Theatre as dancer, teacher, rehearsal director, choreographer, costumer and later as one of the company’s three Artistic Directors, Renee wanted to share the exciting work they had collaboratively created, most notably their multidisciplinary dance/drama “Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman.” 

Austin welcomed the first Texas performances of “Sister Moses” to sold-out crowds at the State Theater and Shoreline Center in February of 2000.  The production returned again to Shoreline Center in 2009 & 2010. The City of Austin Cultural Contracts program has provided major funding for all past tours and will  once again provide support  for 2019. Other past sponsors have been ProArts AAATRC and Shoreline Center along with loyal returning sponsors, Soulciti, MWA Public Relations and The Austin Area Heritage Council. We are proud that 2019 performances will also add Ballet Afrique and Huston-Tillotson University to our family of sponsors. 

Sister Moses was originally designed to provide opportunities to cast extra performers, young and old, alongside Desert Dance Theatre professionals from the various communities where the production is performed.   Our 2019 Austin performances will be the same with a number of the main dance roles being performed by talented Austin dancers. Desert Dance Theatre loves providing this unique opportunity to create more meaningful experiences for all involved!!

Harriet Tubman is the most widely recognized symbol of the Underground Railroad. When she escaped on September 17, 1849, Tubman was aided by members of the Underground Railroad. To her, freedom felt empty unless she could share it with people she loved so she resolved to go back and rescue friends and family. Harriet was nicknamed “Moses” by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.  The name was used as an analogy to the biblical story of Moses who attempted to lead the Jews to the Promised Land and free them from slavery.

In April, 2016, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill, becoming the first woman in more than a century and first African American to grace the front of a paper note. The nation is anxiously awaiting an update on this exciting news!

The Sister Moses Project


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