1/11/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Interview with Gelsey Kirkland (60 Minutes 1987)

Former New York City Ballet dancer Gelsey Kirkland told “60 Minutes” in a 1987 interview. “[Balanchine] knocked on my chest and he said, ‘You know, dear, what is important is to see bones,”‘ … Down to the bone. That is what he believed was truly beautiful.” Continue reading

7/28/15 O&A REVIEW: The 2015 Fire Island Dance Festival

By Walter Rutledge

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The Fire Island Dance Festival 2015 took place July 17- 19 in Fire Island Pines. The three-day dance event has become Fire Island’s premiere summer dance showcase; spotlighting the talents of new, emerging and established choreographers, dancers and dance companies. This year the festival presented ten works by nine choreographers, and featuring forty-three performing artists.

Due to the high level of artistry and the picturesque setting (overlooking the bay) the entertainment element is the festival’s focal point; but the purpose and mission should always be reinforced and reiterated at every opportunity. The Fire Island Dance Festival is the successful result of two communities that have been greatly impacted by HIV/AIDS coming together to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. Dancer Responding To AIDS (DRA) was founded in 1991 during the bleakest days for the AIDS pandemic.

The Fire Island Dance Festival achieves its goal through the very essence of the art form- by sharing. The response and generosity of the dance and Fire Island communities has allowed DRA to surpass the previous year’s financial accomplishments. This year the festival raised $544,555 that will assist in their year round support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Due to the freelance nature of the “no business like show business”, many artists living with HIV/AIDS lack adequate health services, emergency financial assistance and contingency funds, lifesaving medications, counseling, healthy meals, and vital support systems. Through various programs including The Actors Fund, the HIV/AIDS Initiative and The Dancers’ Resource, artists and the community at large receive assistance.

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Festival host Desmond Richardson is quickly becoming dance’s eloquent elder statesmen. Richardson (who participated in the very first festival) is also co-founder of Complexions Contemporary Ballet; and along with Artistic Director Dwight Rhoden remain a staple throughout the festival’s 21-year history. This year Rhoden offered a solo set two Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, and performed by his present muse Clifford Williams. Williams gave an articulate and impassioned performance.

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The ten works ranged from lighthearted dance theatre to ballet bravura, which epitomized the range, scope and inclusiveness of the event and the mission. Choreographers: Joshua Beamish, Al Blackstone, Pontus Lidberg, Duncan Lyle, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Stephen Petronio, Jules Perrot, Dwight Rhoden, Manuel Vignoulle, and Charlie Williams.

Dance Companies: Ailey II, Ballet Hispanico, Intermezzo Dance Company, Joshua Beamish/Move: the company, Manuel Vignoulle Dance– M/motions, and Pontus Lidberg Dance.

And dancers: Paulo Arrais, Alex Biegelson, Biscuit, Shay Bland, Christopher Bloom, Mary Carmen Catoya, Chloe Cambelll, Marc Cardarelli, Mario Ismael Espinoza, Mark Gieringer, Jacob Guzman, Christopher Hernandez, Jakob Karr, Justin Keats, Dimitri Kleioris, Lindsay Janisse, Adrian Lee, Pontus Lidberg, Kourtni Lind, Reed Luplau, Chase Madigan, Raymond Matasamura, Johan Rivera Mendez, Adam Perry, Karine Plantadit, Kleber Rebello, Isaies Santamaria, Logan Schyvynck, Nicholas Sciscione, Corey Snide, Terrell Spence, Manuel Vignoulle Clifford Williams, Stephanie Williams, and Joshua Winzeler should all be commended for donating their time and sharing their artistry.  

The Fire Island Dance Festival is a once a year event that take place on the third Saturday of July, but the services provided by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are year round. DRA supports more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states.To find out more about the programs and service provide or to make a donation visit dradance.org.

1) 2015 Fire Island Dance Festival 2) Desmond Richardson

Daniel Roberts Photographer

On Carousel  1) Pontus Lidberg Dance 2) Mary Carmen Catoya and Kleber Rebello 3) Manuel  Vignoulle Dance M/motions 4) Joshua Beamish/Move: the company 5) Charlie Williams 6) Ballet Hispanico 7) Al Blackstone 8) Ailey II 9) 10 Hairy Legs

Whitney Browne Photographer

 

2/20/15 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: Dances From The Cotton Club

Shall We Dance

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Out and About NYC Magazine is proud to present three dance and music clips from the legendary Cotton Club. Opened in 1923, the Cotton Club on 142nd St & Lenox Ave in the heart of Harlem, New York. The Cotton Club was operated by white New York gangster Owney Madden who used the club as an outlet to sell his alcohol to the prohibition crowd. 

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The Cotton Club at first excluded all but white patrons although the entertainers and most of staff were African-American.  Dancers at the Cotton Club were held to strict standards; they had to be at least 5’6” tall, light-skinned with only a slight tan, and under twenty-one years of age.

The Apollo Dancer sat the Cotton Club Revue in 1938.

Shows at the Cotton Club were musical reviews that featured dancers, singers, comedians, and variety acts, as well as a house band. Duke Ellington led that band from 1927 to 1930, and sporadically throughout the next eight years. The Cotton Club and Ellington’s Orchestra gained national notoriety through weekly broadcasts on radio station WHN some of which were recorded and released on albums. In this clip Duke Ellington and his orchestra perform  Rockin in Rhythm & Bugle Call Rag with dancers Bessie Dudley and Florence Hill from 1933.

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Cotton Club Dancers Bessie Dudley and Florence Hill

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The entertainers who played at the Cotton Club were some of the most widely known blues and jazz performers of their time including Cab Calloway. This is one of Cab’s broadcasts from The Cotton Club in the 30’s after Duke Ellington took to touring on the road. They later became co- house bands at the club.

Cab ( Cotton Club) Calloway 1934 Zaz Zuh Zaz

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Elegant black show girls ditch Opera for Jazz as they get seduced by a hot jazz tune in Red Hot. You’ve never seen this kind of action from the 1930s main stream Hollywood before, it was cut by the Hays Code. Red Hot stars Dorothy Salter and Maurice Rocco.

Red Hot 1930s Cotton Club Show

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The Silver Belles of Harlem are dancers who performed at the Cotton Club during its heyday era. Group members include Marion Coles, Elaine Ellis, Cleo Ellis, Fay Ray, and Bertye Lou Wood were featured in the 2006 documentary directed by Heather Lyn MacDonald, entitled Been Rich All My Life.

Been Rich All My Life