8/18/17 (Repost) O&A NYC Shall We Dance Friday: Desmond Richardson- Lament and Encore Performance Precious Blood with Carmen de Lavallade

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Desmond Richardson is a dancer, co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has mastered a wide range of dance forms including classical, modern, contemporary ballet and jazz making him one of the most recognized performers of his generation. Continue reading

(REPOST) 12/19/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Jeroboam Bozeman Dance Warrior

By Walter Rutledge

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. Jeroboam Bozeman is living Roosevelt’s observation. At first glance Jeroboam is a quiet, reserved young man with a warm and genuine smile; on stage Bozeman is a dance warrior. This talented 23 years old performer will make his debut with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during the New York City Center season, which begins on Wednesday, December 4.

Jeroboam Bozeman part one

A native of Brooklyn, New York Jeroboam was one of those fortunate individuals who discovered his “joy of achievement” early in life. He began studying dance at the Ronald Edmonds Learning Center (Junior High School 113) in Brooklyn with Ruth Sistaire. It was Sistaire who soon introduced Jeroboam to Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn, a community based dance school and company.

Jeroboam Bozeman part two

Under Artistic Director Jamel Gaines’ guidance Jeroboam got his first real taste of the New York City dance scene. He trained in a nurturing family-like environment with working professionals including former Ailey dancers Shirley Black Brown and Raquelle Chavis. At age 16 he was asked to perform with the company and toured London, England. These experiences with Creative Outlet gave this young artist a chance to see the world, earn income and most importantly build a professional ethos.

Bozeman’s talents were rewarded with full scholarships to attend two of New York City’s most prestigious dance schools, the Joffrey Ballet School and Dance Theatre of Harlem. By age 19 his commitment and hard work paid off once again when he was chosen by choreographer Sarita Allen to performing in the Far East touring company of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical Aida. These experiences helped shape the aspiring artist, but his career defining moment can when Jeroboam joined Philadanco.

Jeroboam Bozeman part three

The venerable Philadelphia Dance Company known to the general public, as Philadanco was the environment that propelled Bozeman from neophyte to professional. He credits the no nonsense approach of Artistic Director/Founder Joan Myers Brown for his artistic growth. For over 40 years Brown’s strong repertory company has featured choreography by such dance luminaries as Talley Beatty, George Faison, Rennie Harris and Ronald K. Brown; during his three-year association with the company Jeroboam learned to dance beyond the footlights.

A turning point for Bozeman came during the rehearsals of the solo from Faison’s Suite Otis. Former Ailey dancer and current Philadanco Rehearsal Director/coach Debora Chase-Hicks pushed him to find that inner dance warrior. The sessions were a watershed moment for Jeroboam, helping him move his artistry to the next level.

Jeroboam Bozeman part four

Returning to New York in 2012 Bozeman danced with Ailey II under the direction of then newly appointed Artistic Director Troy Powell. Less than a year later he was invited to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As Bozeman makes this next career move he retains a humble teachable spirit, unpretentious demeanor and that exuberate smile. We wish this rising dance warrior much continued success.

Originally posted 12/2/13 for Harlem World Magazine

8/21/17 (REPOST) O&A NYC DANCE: Alvin Ailey- Cry

By Walter Rutledge

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In 1971, Alvin Ailey created Cry, one of his signature dance works, as a birthday present for his mother Lula Elizabeth Ailey. Ailey dedicated the ballet to “all black women everywhere — especially our mothers.” The three-part ballet, set to popular and gospel music by Alice Coltrane, Laura Nyro and Chuck Griffin, depicts a woman’s journey through the agonies of slavery to an ecstatic state of grace. Cry premiered at New York City Center on May 4, 1971. Continue reading

2/26/16 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Dudley Williams Dances Alvin Ailey’s Love Songs

BLACK MONTH

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In 1972, Alvin Ailey created the elegiac solo Love Songs for dancer Dudley Williams. The  sixteen minute solo, composed in three sections includes A Song for You by Donny Hathaway; Poppies by Nina Simone; and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother by Donny Hathaway. Many  thought of the work as the male equivalent of the female solo Cry (1971). Continue reading

3/24/15 O&A: Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars- Dance Of The Village Elders Perform Friday

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The Harlem Hospital Auxiliary, in partnership with the Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs, presents The Dance Of The Village Elders in Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars on Friday, March 27; 6pm in the Herbert Cave Auditorium located on the 2nd floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Pavilion at Harlem Hospital Center, 560 Lenox Avenue at 135 Street. The program title Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars was a statement made by Martin Luther King Jr. during the bleakest days of the civil rights struggle. Continue reading

2/3/15 O&A- A Conversation With Dudley Williams (Part Two)

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In this finale installment of A Conversation with Dudley Williams, Dudley continues to share anecdotes about working with Alvin Ailey, discusses training the next generation and takes questions from the audience. The evening hosted by Clack Center NYC and moderated by dance critic and author Jennifer Dunning, took place on Thursday October 23, 2014. at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Bruno Walter Auditorium. 

Continue reading

10/18/14 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: Dudley Williams- A Song For You (1986) An Excerpt From Love Songs

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Jennifer Dunning’s December 14, 1986 New York Times review of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began with an acknowledgement to dancer Dudley Williams. The title and opening paragraphs says it all. Continue reading

Fred Benjamin Memorial Planned for Saturday, August 23, 2014

By Walter Rutledge

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There will be a memorial service for dancer, choreographer and teacher Fred Benjamin on Saturday, August 23rd; 6:30pm at Saint Peters Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at the corner of 53rd Street. Friends, colleagues, former students and company members will speak including Gina Ellis, Marilyn Banks and Mercedes Ellington. The memorial will not present Benjamin’s choreograph through live performance, instead film and photos will be presented. Prior to the start of the service there will be a wine toast to Benjamin, who died of organ failure on December 14, 2013 in Manhattan. He was 69.  Continue reading

8/18/17 (Repost) O&A NYC Shall We Dance Friday: Desmond Richardson- Lament and Encore Performance Precious Blood with Carmen de Lavallade

Shall We Dance

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Desmond Richardson is a dancer, co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has mastered a wide range of dance forms including classical, modern, contemporary ballet and jazz making him one of the most recognized performers of his generation. Continue reading