May 30, 1987 |
Philadanco's annual dance concert at the Zellerbach Theater last night was ambitious - two world premieres and two company premieres, plus two other works. All this novelty energized, rather than enervated, the group. Of particular local interest was the world premiere of At the First Stroke, because it was choreographed by Robert Weiss, whose work is usually seen with the Pennsylvania Ballet, which he directs. As might be expected, Weiss composed for Philadanco in an idiom much less classically minded than he does for his own ballet group.
August 12, 2001 |
The indomitable Joan Myers Brown and her dance troupe, Philadanco, are no strangers to travel. In the 1990s, they collected baggage checks from Turkey, Italy, Germany, Canada and Britain. Last year took them to a dance festival in Korea, which "had its difficulties," Brown allowed, "but was one of the best tours ever. Travel has two objectives: to introduce the company to new audiences and to allow the dancers to experience different cultures. " Last month, the troupe discovered a lot more about how the new world is ordered after spending 10 challenging days in post-communist Poland.
April 20, 2014 |
To a packed house, Philadanco brought back Donald Byrd's 1995 BAMM at its spring offering at the Kimmel's Perelman Theater Thursday night. I first saw it in 2004 with the now-retired force of nature Odara Jabali-Nash as the center of its centrifugal force. This time, six dancers revolve around veteran company dancer Roxanne Lyst like numbers on a spinning clock. The missing hands of this no-tick-tock clock are Mio Morales' quick-pulsed percussive score, which ultimately hurls the dancers from the circle and into various patterns around the stage.
May 30, 1990 |
The repertory that brought glowing reviews to Philadanco during its New York season at the Joyce Theater in April will be performed during the company's 20th anniversary season, at the Zellerbach Theater in the Annenberg Center. The season will begin with a gala performance tonight and run through Saturday. The Philadelphia run also will feature a special tribute - a piece choreographed by Harold Pierson, Philadanco's first choreographer. Called Continuum, it is set for eight alumni of the company, all of whom teach in the Philadelphia area.
May 2, 2009 |
"All new" sounds exciting, but it can also mean "not yet broken in. " Philadanco presented three world premieres and a company premiere in a program called "New Faces" Thursday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, and while all the pieces were promising, they were still rough around the edges. Philadanco turns 40 in 2010, and the plan leading up to the anniversary was to revisit its history last fall and present new choreography now. The program of older work was stunning; the dances felt custom-fit for the dancers.
April 23, 2013 |
What a smokin' program Philadanco gave at the Perelman Theater last weekend! On Friday, Danco veterans and newbies alike danced like a well-oiled machine, gunning to overtake the pack of dance companies on the Avenue of the Arts. Within the broad time-travel theme of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, artistic director Joan Myers Brown created a bill that began with the late Harold Pierson's 1971 Time/Space , set to Nina Simone's "Sinnerman. " (Pierson was once Danco's artistic director.)
July 5, 2013 |
Dancer and choreographer Joan Myers Brown, the founder of Philadanco and a commanding presence in the world of dance and arts education, and Laurie Olin, whose landscape-architecture firm is responsible for revitalizing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and many other public spaces in the city, have been named recipients of the National Medal of the Arts, the White House announced Wednesday. In announcing the 12 winners of the nation's highest civic honor for excellence in the arts, President Obama cited Brown, 80, for carving out "an artistic haven for African American dancers and choreographers to innovate, create, and share their unique visions with the national and global dance communities.
May 29, 1991 |
Philadanco, the city's premier showcase of black dancing talent, has weathered its share of storms over the last six months. It returns to the spotlight tonight as it opens its spring season at the Annenberg Center. Things are looking up: The dance company comes to the West Philadelphia stage fresh from a two- week residency at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Its headquarters in West Philadelphia is being renovated. And the troupe has signed on for a return to New York City for a second run at the Joyce Theater, one of dance's most important venues.
September 7, 1996 |
Four dancers garbed in the layers of the homeless move across the stage. They make small, slow individual circles as they cluster together; they make gestures of supplication. A mood that is wary, tentative, then curious envelops the theater as these silent searchers move across intricately pulsing rhythms. Over taped Steve Reich music, a high voice reading from Anne Frank's diary is occasionally heard. The dance is Kiamsha, which is Swahili for awakening. Kevin Thomas Malone, a company member of Philadanco, as the Philadelphia Dance Company is known, choreographed it following a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
September 12, 1987 |
Things picked up in the second half of the concert last night, but for a while it didn't look like the Philadanco dance troupe we have known. And that is not just because the performance at the Painted Bride Art Center featured only men. When you think of Philadanco's male dancers, images of brawn and sass and finely shaped movement come to mind. Last night, the mood was brooding, soft-spined and sentimental - in short, adolescent. The fact is, many of the choreographers are not much further along than adolescence.