Charlie Wilson performs his song “I’m Blessed” featuring T.I live at the Apollo Theater. Continue reading
Dinah Washington singing at the Apollo Theater with the Louis Jordan Band on March 8th 1960. Continue reading
Josephine Baker was an entertainer, civil rights activist, French Resistance agent and the first Black international superstar. Her career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France. Continue reading
Moms Mabley performing a comedy act (1948) one of her lines “Cab Calloway once call me a dog. I would like to be a dog if Cab Calloway would be my tree.” Continue reading
By Adewale Adekanbi Jr.
Triumph is a single released by Wu-Tang Clan, from their 1997 album Wu-Tang Forever. The song does not have a chorus. Instead, it solely consists of verses from the nine living Wu-Tang members, as well as an intro by Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
By Walter Rutledge
The 31st New York Dance and Performance Awards, affectionately known as The Bessies, will be held on Monday, October 19, at 7:30pm, at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City . Jock Soto (former New York City Ballet principal) and performance artist and playwright Carmelita Tropicana will host the event. This is the fifth year The Bessies will be held at the historic Harlem landmark Theater.
This year The Bessies have nominated over thirty-five artists in seven catagories, which include: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Music Composition/Sound design, Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Emerging Choreographer, Outstanding Visual Design, and the 2015 Juried Bessie Award. There will also be special presentations to Steve Paxton, recipient of the 2015 Bessie for Lifetime Achievement in Dance; and Movement Research, for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. The ceremony will feature performances by Bessie Award-winning artists Camille A. Brown, Lisa Nelson, and Storyboard P, recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award.
Here is an opportunity to meet five nominated artists:
Meet The Artists
David Neumann/advanced beginner group– Outstanding Production for I Understand Everything Better.
David Neumann has been a featured dancer in the works of Susan Marshall, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers, Irene Hultman, Cathy Weiss, Big Dance Theater, and the late club legend Willi Ninja. As Artistic Director of advanced beginner group, Neumann’s work has been presented in New York at PS 122, New York Live Arts, Central Park SummerStage (where he collaborated with John Giorno), Celebrate Brooklyn, Symphony Space (where he collaborated with Laurie Anderson), The Whitney, The Kitchen and BRIC Arts. His work has also been presented at the Walker Art Center and MASS MoCA. He’s currently a professor of Theater at Sarah Lawrence College.
Lauren Grant– Outstanding Performer for her overall body of work with Mark Morris.
Grant has danced with MMDG since 1996. Performing leading roles in The Hard Nut and Mozart Dances, Grant has appeared in over 50 of Mark Morris’ works. She is on the faculty at The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center, leads master classes around the globe, sets Mr. Morris’ work at universities, and frequently leads classes for the company. Grant has been featured in Time Out New York, Dance Magazine, the book Meet the Dancers, appeared in PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center and ITV’s The South Bank Show and was a subject for the photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Storyboard P– Emerging Choreographer (Winner)
Storyboard P has fused various styles of Hip-Hop, (the latest American born art form) with elements of modern and jazz dance, cinematography and thematic choreographic form to create new dance narrative and abstract movement based works. His work embodies the collaborative ethos enlisting artists, fashion designers, musicians, DJs, filmmakers and street performers. Storyboard P’s art is reminiscent of another American art form- Jazz. Both were inspired by popular urban trends; but then manipulated codified techniques and experimented through improvisation to move in new directions. This 24 year-old phenom’s recent collaborations include fashion designer Marc Jacobs, recording artists Jay Z and Miguel, documentary filmmaker Frendy Lemorin, and renowned photographer Marc Baptiste. He calls this artistic movement amalgam Mutant; and in his own words, “Really my vision is just to speak, just to move, it’s just the aesthetic of it.”
600 Highwaymen– Outstanding Performance for Employee Of The Year
600 Highwaymen is a Brooklyn-based theater company under the artistic direction of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone. In Employee Of The Year Nominee five young girls perform one woman’s journey, from beginning to end. Intimate and arresting, Employee of the Year asks what it is to discover your own path and find your own way in life.
Tei Blow– Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design for I Understand Everything Better
Tei Blow is a performer and media designer born in Japan, raised in the United States, and based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tei’s work incorporates photography and video with a focus on found media artifacts. He has performed and designed for The Laboratory of Dmity Krymov, Mihail Baryshnikov, Jodi Melnick, Ann Liv Young, Big Dance Theater and David Neumann. “As a designer and composer, I create intentionally derivative works from original and existing recorded material. Sounds are transformed through their contextual placement in space and time. My work illuminates the ties between design and subject by reframing familiar, found and original sounds; asking the viewrs to draw sensorial connections between the present moment and their own memories.”
Tickets for the 2015 Bessie Awards start at $10 and can be purchased in person at the Apollo Theater box office; by phone through Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000; or online at Ticketmaster.com. The Apollo Theater is located at 253 West 125th Street , New York , NY 10027.
Soldier is a collaboration between filmmaker Cinque Northern and Brooklyn born, street dance battle champion Storyboard P. The freestyle dance is set to Sade’s Soldier Of Love and shot in the Mojave desert. On Wednesday July 15 the New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies), honored Storyboard P with the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award.
By Walter Rutledge
The Frank Sinatra classic New York New York declares “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”. For a brother and sister their dreams of dancing on stage at the legendary Apollo Theater are about to come true. Jelani and Arnese Britton (who reside in the Bronx) will get a chance to strut their stuff tonight at Amateur Night At The Apollo.
Jelani (age 24) and Arnese (15) have a special big brother little sister bond. The self-trained duo rehearse their routine in Jelani’s living room. His apartment provides them unlimited rehearsal hours, but lacks the space and mirrors that would help hone the dance.
The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Genex Program provided Jelani and Arnese studio time and an advisor for professional feedback. “Its been our mission for almost 40 years to assist new and emerging dancers, choreographers and dance companies”, says Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Executive Chairman Alex Smith Jr. “Our Genex Program is designed to offer young artists one-on-one assistance and technical support.”
You could see the excitement on the dancer’s faces as they began rehearsing at DANY Studios on 38th Street in Manhattan. “This was our first time ever working in a real studio”, Jelani explained. “We were able to get a feel for dancing in a big space with mirrors. It is something I’ll never forget.”
Jelani, the choreographer, has wanted to one day dance on the Apollo stage for as long as he can remember. His sister Arnese dances at church and at school, but this is the first time on a public stage. “I can’t wait to dance at the Apollo, I’m a little nervous; but I know it’s a once in a lifetime experience and I want to have fun”, says Arnese.
The Apollo amateur night is the oldest continuous talent shows in the world. Ella Fitzgerald won the first Amateur Night in 1934, and received a prize of $25 and work for one week. The list of other Amateur Night winners include Billie Holiday, the Isley Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, and the Jackson 5.
The selection process for the The 81-year-old Amateur Night hasn’t changed, participants from all disciplines audition for chance to perform. Amateur Night At The Apollo remains an incubator for talent, and is also one of New York City’s most acclaimed live performances. The world-renowned weekly performances attract an international audience, who can either make or break a performer.
Jelani and Arnese hope to go to the next round and eventually win the Amateur Night competition. They are all ready winners for having the courage to turn their dreams into reality. Whatever the outcome they are performing tonight on the stage “Where stars are born and legends are made.”
For tickets for Amateur Night At The Apollo at $21, $27, $33 and are available in person at the Apollo Theater Box Office, online at Ticketmaster.com, and by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000, for Groups Call (212) 531-5355.
By Walter Rutledge
On Wednesday July 15 The New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies), announced the nominees for the 2014−15 season at its annual press conference. For the second consecutive year the Gibney Dance at 280 Broadway hosted New York City’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work in the field. Two 2015 awards, Juried Bessie Award and Outstanding Emerging Choreographer were presented at the press conference. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
The Bessies- the New York Dance and Performance Award is the Oscars for dance. Named in honor of pioneer dance educator and choreographic mentor Bessie Schonberg, the Bessies has become one of the most prestigious awards one can receive in the world of dance. On Monday October 20, 7:30pm the Bessies will be held at the Apollo Theater, 325 West 125th Street. Continue reading