April 17, 2010 |
We often speak of Philadelphia treasures, and Joan Myers Brown has been one of the city's most valuable assets for the last 40 years. Forty years! As founder and artistic director of Philadanco - the Philadelphia Dance Company - her reach here and around the world has won her fond acclaim, including this year's Philadelphia Award. Thursday's 40th-anniversary opening performance at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater portended nothing but more smooth sailing for this helmswoman and her brilliant company.
January 15, 2010 |
Although deep into work with the Philadelphia Dance Company and her own dance school, Joan Myers Brown saw a problem that she could not ignore. Back then, in 1988, Brown also served on the board of Dance/USA (a national service organization based in Washington, D.C.). She noticed that such dance organizations were not interested in audiences of color, and they really did not want modern dance, preferring to focus on major ballet companies. "I knew there were problems that black companies were having and thought we might address them collectively," said Brown, the artistic and executive director of Philadanco in West Philadelphia.
January 12, 2010 |
"WHENEVER I have an anniversary it seems like I get crazy," laughed Joan Myers Brown over the phone last week from her studio in West Philadelphia. She expected to be working into the wee hours of the morning - and not for the only time that week - to prepare for the horde of dancers, teachers and students expected to stream into town for this week's International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference. Philadanco, the predominantly African-American dance company that Brown founded in 1970, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, culminating in a series of performances at the Kimmel Center in April.
November 14, 2009 |
It's Philadanco's 40th birthday, but the modern dance company looks as fresh and strong as ever. The troupe opened its season at the Kimmel Center Thursday night with a program that includes a world premiere, a cameo appearance, and a celebration of women's derrieres. Companies and choreographers all over the world have tackled Bolero, with varying degrees of success. Indeed, Philadanco's is the second new version in Philadelphia in just four months (BalletX premiered one in July)
May 5, 2009 |
Philadelphia hosts a redoubtable legion of dance-makers. Over the weekend, amid a swirl of other dance activity, Eleone Dance Theatre was onstage at North Broad Street's Freedom Theater, while across town the Painted Bride hosted Tania Isaac, Gabri Christa, and Marianela Boan. At 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Eleone held forth in the beautifully refurbished John E. Allen Jr. Theater (there's free, attended parking next door). With the early curtain, you could take in Eleone and still make it down to South Broad Street to catch one of the other big dance concerts.
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, 2009 |
On a frigid February evening there's a sizzle in the air at Philadanco's West Philadelphia studios. Hope Boykin has kindled the dancers' fire. A drop-dead-dazzling mover who performed with Danco from 1994 to 2000, Boykin has been a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for nine seasons. She is using a brief furlough from the Ailey 50th Anniversary Tour to rehearse Be Ye Not, the new work she choreographed for Danco, a highlight of the company's Kimmel Center program next week.
October 18, 2008 |
I am always surprised to see open seats when Philadanco performs at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. The company is one of the brightest jewels on the city's arts scene, internationally known, and in residence here only about eight days a year. If you miss a season, you might never see the ballets on that program. With that in mind, executive artistic director Joan Myers Brown decided to bring a program of audience favorites this fall to the Kimmel Center, where Philadanco is resident dance company.
July 6, 2008 |
Jeri Packman, 88, a dance educator who taught creative movement to Philadelphia schoolchildren and teachers for more than 60 years and was a leader in Philadanco and the Philadelphia Dance Alliance, died of heart failure Tuesday at her home in Center City. Mrs. Packman, born Gertrude Coplin, celebrated her 88th birthday with family members Tuesday night. After they left, she died. "My mother had a flair for the dramatic," daughter Hedra Packman said. "She was strong-willed and left this world when she was ready.
May 10, 2008 |
As Philadanco approaches its 40th season in 2010, it continues to travel the world annually, playing to appreciative crowds from Asia to Europe. In mid-March, the company returned from a four-week tour of 22 cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary to begin rehearsing for its current spring run at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, called "In the Black Tradition. " In Philadanco's West Philly studios earlier this week, founder and artistic director Joan Myers Brown talked about the program, and the spring tour.