The Dance Of the Village Elders will present Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars the spring performance/fundraiser on Saturday, April 28, 3pm at St. Philip’s Church 204 west 134thStreet. The performance will celebrate Village Elders friend and supporter Ailey icon Dudley Williams, who danced the role of the elder minister at the works premiere April 30th, 2015, sadly this was Williams’ last performance. Joining the celebration are Harlem arts organizations Harlem School of the Arts dance division (under the direction of Aubrey Lynch), Uptown Dance Academy (Robin Williams Executive Director) pianist Charles Lovell (St. Philip’s Church) singing phenom LaFredrick Coaxner (Abyssinian Baptist Church) and Reverend Tykym Stallings (Lighthouse Ministries Inc., Harlem N.Y.).
The work deals with the civil rights movement and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Starting with slavery through the underground railroad and culminating after the Lorraine Motel tragedy the work includes both live and recorded music including such iconic as Motherless Child, Steal Away, Wade In The Water, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round, We Shall Overcome and Dr. King’s favorite Precious Lord Take My Hand. The 60-minute presentation will be followed by a courtyard reception with many of the dishes created by the Village Elders (and we know there is nothing better than your grandmother’s potato salad).
Dance Of the Village Elders- Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars
Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars bring generations together in an entertaining, informative, each one teaches one moment. The program uses dance, theatre and music to emphasize healthy living at every age; and what better context to present it than this important era in American history and African-American self determination. This era of civil disobedience, cultural pride and civic awareness provides a template for the present age of resistance.
After the popular four-year Harlem program lost funding in 2015 its sponsor organizations were unable to continue. “Overnight the music stopped”, stated Walter Rutledge. Rutledge, the instructor decided that money was the least important reason not to continue. “St. Philip’s Church came to the rescue offering the program a home in Harlem just blocks away from the original location”, continued Rutledge. “ Founded in 2017 the new program is a dance and fitness cooperative. Every contributes to the success of classes. We presently receive no outside funding these bi- annual performances assist in covering equipment costs and some administrative expenses.”
Dance Of The Village Elders is offered free to the public. Participants dance, exercise and sing along to music from the 50’s through present day in all genres. Classes are held on Thursday from 2 to 3:30pm at St. Philip’s Church. Tickets for Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars can be purchased at the door on Saturday prior to the performance, the suggested donation is $10. For more information about the April 28 performance and the dance/fitness classes contact Walter Rutledge at (917) 744- 2601.