Twenty-twenty was a year that shook the world in many ways; social justice and the pandemic brought massive changes to society. This change is exactly what Earl Mosley wanted to touch upon in his new piece “Unconquered,” a nonfiction account that showcases expressive and powerful movement to communicate ideas that are at the forefront of society.
Mosley himself actually doesn’t describe it as a piece in his talk following a screening on Sept. 24, he describes it as “a moment encapsulated like a message in a bottle and then one day someone would find that note and read what happened.”
He wants “Unconquered” to inspire others to be what the title says: Not be conquered; not by society, not by people, but instead to embrace oneself and not be chained down. Mosley went on to describe the creative process of how “Unconquered” came to be, bringing up instances when he watched the news during the Black Lives Matter protests in May and June of 2020. Mosley describes watching people dance in the streets. Even in a time of unrest, people were able to move and use their bodies to send a message, and more importantly to spark meaningful change in a manner that inspired his own work.
An important message Mosley touched on was the relationship between the ways different generations protest. This is highlighted in “Unconquered” where the opening dance is set to a speech given by George W. Bush, which, as Mosley points out, isn’t who you’d first think of when discussing Black Lives Matter. However, Mosley found his speech very moving, and that juxtaposition spoke to him.
Mosley stated that this was his “way of moving forward and not judging a book by its cover.” The speech from Bush at the beginning is mirrored with a speech from the late John Lewis at the end. These two speeches from two different times, and more importantly two different, yet similar, Americas, shows the power protest has. The power that comes from change, something that lasts eternally and transcends generations. He also used the audio of a speaker at a Black Lives Matter march to hammer home this idea of protests, speeches and the need for change being the common thread that binds us together.
“Unconquered” briefly touches on the effects of the pandemic as a whole, featuring some news segments about COVID-19, and an incredible dance set to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and performed by Mosley’s husband dressed as a healthcare worker. These moments add to the overall message of the production since the pandemic helped bring many issues to light and along with it, major social change. Mosley brought “Unconquered” to Muhlenberg because, similar to him talking about breaking down the barriers of generation, he wishes to do a form of “Unconquered” here as well. Mosley said he wants to use a variety of disciplines to represent who students are as a generation, how change and protest fit into our day and age to create something that maintains the same flow of ideas yet presented in a way that is unique to ourselves as a community and as a generation.
“In terms of existing as a person with privilege, I felt that I could also use my privilege for something better…”-Robin Title ’25
“I’ve seen that argument and I’ve seen that portrayal [social justice through dance] many times, probably because I was in a gap year primarily focused on social justice issues and racism, especially in Portland, Oregon. So, it was everywhere. But it didn’t hit me as much as I was expecting it to,” said Maddie Davidson ‘25.
As a film and performance, “Unconquered” was truly something to marvel at and almost acted like a peephole into a larger project, which it very well seems to be. “Unconquered,” using little dialogue and an ecstatic, empathetic and energetic form of movement, produces so much engagement and interesting images through dance. It also demonstrates an interesting visual style from a filmmaking perspective, using different locations, backgrounds and formats to show the dances and poetry samples. Mosley has created something special that could act as a framework for further art in the vein of “Unconquered,” art to bring about awareness and most importantly, change.
“…a moment encapsulated like a message in a bottle and then one day someone would find that note and read what happened.”-Earl Mosley
“In terms of [existing as] a person with privilege, I felt that I also could use my privilege for something better,” said Robin Title ‘25. “He did a really brilliant job with everything.”