Illuminating Tragedy With Film and Dance

At the Parrish Art Museum

In recognition of Black History Month, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill has joined with the Edge School of the Arts in Laurelton, Queens, and the Hamptons United Methodist Church in Southampton to screen “4 Little Girls: Moving Portraits of the American Civil Rights Movement” on Saturday at 2 p.m. The film will be accompanied by an interpretive performance of African dance and drumming.

Directed by Kerri Edge, “4 Little Girls” is an experimental narrative film that combines historical authenticity and contemporary dance movements — tap, modern, hip-hop, ballet, and African — to tell the story of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, the young black girls who were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan when a bomb exploded in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.

During the 45-minute program, the story will unfold onscreen and onstage through imaginative interpretations inspired by 1960s protest songs and spoken word. Thirty-six performing arts students from the Edge School will move throughout the museum’s theater to create a immersive experience for the audience. Afterward, Ms. Edge, the artistic director of the school, and several performers will participate in a discussion with the audience.

The program was conceived by Ms. Edge to challenge her students to revisit history and recreate the moments leading up to the tragedy. An activist who uses dance and film as vehicles to shed light on issues of social importance and to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans, her mission at the school is to bring the art and discipline of African-American dance to aspiring artists, the community, and international audiences.

The Edge School of the Arts, founded in 1996, is owned by Beverly Edge and her three daughters, Kerri, Donna, and Wendy. All four studied at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, which operated in Queens for almost 50 years and served as a model for the Edge School.

Tickets to Saturday’s program are $12, free for children, students, and members of the museum and the Hamptons United Methodist Church.