August 2, 1991 |
Joan Myers Brown isn't ready yet to walk out the door of Philadanco, the dance company she founded in 1970, but she'd like to be able to sleep until 8 a.m. sometimes. She'd also like to have the time to develop a curriculum of Katherine Dunham's unique African-Caribbean-American dance technique, which she says is fast dying out. And she'd like to know that if something happened to her, Philadanco would continue. So starting this month, Brown, 59, began to groom a successor to gradually assume the brunt of her administrative duties.
September 15, 1997 |
"Danco on 'Danco" is Philadanco's annual showcase that offers the results of its summer program, during which members of the company, of the apprentice Danco II program, and of the training program mix it up together, creating works "on" each other. This year's Thursday-through-Saturday program at the Arts Bank was shortened by a day. Why? The dancers were otherwise engaged all of Thursday in Baltimore on the set of Oprah Winfrey's movie-in-the-making, Beloved. They'll be returning to Baltimore for more singing and dancing later this week.
May 7, 2005 |
A single world premiere on a dance program is usually something to celebrate. The finale of Philadanco's 35th-anniversary season offers three, and all show off the best assets of the Kimmel Center's resident modern-dance company: speed, stamina, beautiful bodies, and mastery of many styles of dance. In the opening number of the performance in the Perelman Theater, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Between Earth and Home, eight women strut out dressed as birds. They pose, they fly, they flutter in quick contractions of the arms and abdomen.
June 1, 1996 |
The Philadelphia Dance Company, a.k.a. Philadanco, is emphasizing entertainment, athleticism and the theatrical quality of dance in its current program at the Annenberg Center. The dancers clearly enjoy the way dance has the power to raise the spirit, and their looks don't hurt in that enterprise. Male or female, Philadanco is by far the best-built dance group in the city, and the stark beauty of their sculpted bodies is transfixing. The program is a part of the Ailey Project, a tribute put together by Dance Affiliates in honor of the late choreographer Alvin Ailey.
November 22, 2003 |
Philadanco continues its high-altitude cruise with a phenomenal program at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, a balance of older and new work designed to show off this company's exuberant strengths. Managing director Vanessa A. Thomas dedicated the opening piece, Gene Hill Sagan's 1984 Elegy, to the late Willard G. Rouse III, the prime mover behind the Kimmel's development. Moving to the plangent strings of a Ralph Vaughn Williams recording, the 10 dancers exhibited an emotional esprit de corps that brought chills by the end. Antonio Sisk danced the solo Sweet in the Morning Thursday night with great, swiveling back arches and thigh rotations; guest artist Zane Booker will perform it at today's matinee.
May 19, 1989 |
It takes nerve to name a dance Joy, but in this case it is justified. Milton Myers' Joy, one of three premieres presented by Philadanco last night at the Annenberg Center, is precisely that. It swept through the theater like a breath of fresh air, standing in sharp contrast to all the other works on the program. Then again, Joy would probably be unique on many modern-dance programs these days. Set to a Bach Brandenburg concerto, Joy is all about the body in motion - lyrical motion.
December 3, 1990 |
Founder-director Joan Myers Brown spoke at intermission, telling her audience "not to worry too much about the problems you've been reading about that we're having. All the arts organizations in the city are having trouble. " She urged her listeners to support the Coalition of African- American Cultural Organizations, which has been raising funds for artistic programs in the black community. Philadanco's weekend programs reviewed what Brown called company favorites, and introduced a work in progress, Talley Beatty's Such Sweet Morning Songs.
May 31, 1991 |
La Valse, one of several pieces being presented by Philadanco through tomorrow at the Annenberg Center, was revived as a tribute to Gene Hill Sagan, a resident choreographer of Philadanco who died earlier this year. Opening with the sweetly mournful music of Sibelius' Valse Triste, La Valse turned out to be an appropriate, though unplanned, memorial to the dancer Corbett McNeil, who died on Saturday at the age of 27. McNeil began studying at Philadanco at the tender age of 16 and became one of the company's shining lights.
March 6, 1991 |
Gene Hill Sagan, 59, a resident choreographer of Philadanco for the last 15 years, died Friday at Albert Einstein Medical Center of respiratory failure, it was announced yesterday. He lived in Center City. Born Arthur Eugene Hill in Emporia, Va., on Sept. 28, 1931, the dancer and choreographer grew up in Philadelphia, where he studied art as well as dance. He joined Ballet Americana, the first black classical company in the United States, in 1959, and subsequently performed and choreographed works for many troupes around the world, including the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.