6/24/18 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK JUNE 24 THRU JULY: Art, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre and More

Summer has finally arrived and New York City and the arts are heating up. Inspiring visual art is drawing them in from Harlem to the Bowery. Dance swirls around Brooklyn, Lincoln Center, Chelsea and Lower Manhattan. While a famous DJ spins music  in Crown Heights and jazz get’s down in Midtown. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

8/8/17 (Repost) O&A NYC DANCE: Loretta Abbott

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Loretta Abbott, dancer, actress, singer and choreographer passed away on Sunday June 5, 2016. A natural performer Abbott had two passions: her love for dance that spanned over 70 years, and her allegiance to the Harlem community where she lived her entire life. Continue reading

10/14/16 O&A NYC WHAT HAPPENING THIS WEEK: Friday, October 14 through Thursday, October 20, 2016 Art, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre … And More

By Walter Rutledge

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Fall is in full swing and is quickly ushering in the holiday arts season. This week we honor dance in Brooklyn, celebrate Jazz on Staten Island, and watch Denzel Washington save a western town. Here are a few of the many events taking place in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to get you Out and About. Continue reading

7/5/16 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Abdiel Jacobsen- A Walk In Our Heels

By Walter Rutledge

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A Walk In Our Heels began as a dare by one of Abdiel Jacobsen’s private ballroom students. Jacobsen acquired a pair of high heels took up the challenge starting a blog called A Walk In My Heels (awalkinmyheels.com). The blog documented his travels throughout New York City as a man wearing high heels for over a year. This experiment became the catalyst of his choreography A Walk In Our Heels, one of the works performed during the 40th anniversary of the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center on June 22, 2016. Continue reading

6/30/16 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Bones The Machine

By Walter Rutledge

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Bones The Machine has become one of the most visible members of Flex dance community. Bones style of contortion, illusion, and an urban theatrics has caught the eye of the public, and the notoriety has propelled him and his crew, The Next Level Squad, to worldwide acclaim. Bones and Next Level Squad have introduced their special brand of Flex to international audiences with performances in London, Japan, and Germany and recently starred in an ad campaign with Diesel for Joog Jeans. Continue reading

6/17/16 O&A NYC- A CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Loretta Abbott

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Loretta Abbott, dancer, actress, singer and choreographer passed away on Sunday June 5, 2016. A natural performer Abbott had two passions: her love for dance that spanned over 70 years, and her allegiance to the Harlem community where she lived her entire life. Continue reading

5/24/16 O&A NYC DANCE: The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) Kicks Off 40th Anniversary Season With PEEKS Tonight

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The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) will kick off their 40th Anniversary season with its works-in-progress showcase entitled PEEKS on Tuesday, May 24, 8pm at the Faison Firehouse Theatre (6 Hancock Place). THPAC offers choreographers an opportunity to present dance works in varying degrees of development in front of a live audience. An audience talkback, which provides constructive feedback for both dancers and dance makers follows the showing. Choreographers Marshall Swiney and Walter Rutledge will presents works at this PEEKS showcase.  Continue reading

9/2/15 O&A NYC Magazine: Brother And Sister Make Dreams A Reality

By Walter Rutledge

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/29/15 O&A Dance: Souls Of Our Feet Dance Festival Continues Tonight

By Walter Rutledge

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The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center concludes their 2015 Souls Of Our Feet Dance Festival with two events Monday, June 29 and Tuesday, June 30 at the Actors Fund Arts Center 160 Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn, 7:30 pm. On Monday the third dance presentation will featured three New York based Hip Hop companies, Full Circle Souljah, Jendog/YalinDream and Special Ops/Flatbush Bullies. Tickets for this event are $20 and can be purchased online at wwwthelmahill.com and at the box office prior to the performance.

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Each group brings a different favor of this American art form that was born in urban NYC. Full Circle Souljahs, under the direction of Bronx native Rokafella, blends Hip-Hop with traditional dance styles and compositional forms to produce dances ranging from pure street dance to concert style urban dance narratives. Jendog/YalinDream are a music with a message duet that combines rap, spoken word and hip hop imagery. Special Ops/Flatbush Bullies mixes flexing, bone breaking, and break dance in a street battle format , this high-energy “in your face” style will make you want to bust a sag and pull your hoodie over your head. In Lieu of a formal post performance Q&A, each company director will provide brief statements detailing their organization’s mission and aesthetic philosophy.

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On Tuesday June 30 at 7pm the series will conclude with A Dancer’s Life, a conversation with dancer Loretta Abbott. Abbott, whose career spans over six decades. Abbott holds the distinction of dancing the Wade In The Water section of Alvin Ailey’s masterwork Revelations with Ailey himself (she was Ailey’s last partner). In addition to concert dance she was in the original Broadway cast of Purlie, Raisin and Liza With A Z. Abbott will discuss her career and artistry with Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Artistic Advisor, and Out and About NYC Magazine Editor in Chief Walter Rutledge.

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Abbott and Rutledge will open the evening with a duet entitled Sentimental Reasons. The work choreographed by Rutledge and commissioned by Dancers For A Variable Population 10027 Project is a tribute to the partnership of Abbott and the late Al Perryman. Named the Dynamic Duo they had special onstage chemistry, and impeccable comedic timing. This free event will include a closing night reception. For more information visit thelmahill@msn.com or call (718) 875- 9710. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4/28/15 O&A Dance: Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Presents PEEKS-Works In Progress

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Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC), continues its on-the-edge PEEKS-Works in progress choreographers showcase April 30 at The Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, NY 7:30pm. The second installment in the 2015 season will present three accomplished artists who are at different stages of exploring “the art of making dances.” Sidra Bell – Artistic Director of Sidra Bell Dance NYC, Da’Von Doane- original member of the revived Dance Theatre of Harlem and Lloyd Knight- principal dancer, Martha Graham Dance Company. All of these artists are making their choreographic debut with our PEEKS program. The showcase is free to the public, with donation suggested at the door.

Da’Von Doane will present Interconnected. Interdependent, a quartet he describes as the imbalance between man/society and nature. Dance Theatre of Harlem dancers Ashley Murphy, Jorge Villarini, and Jenelle Figgins will join Doane. In the tradition of Martha Graham’s Lamentations Lloyd Knight will choreograph and perform Lost a solo set to Gudrun Gut & Myra Davies, Doug Fullington & The Tudor Choir. rendering directed by Sidra Bell will also featuring four dancers. Dancers Jonathan Campbell, Austin Diaz, Alexandra Johnson, and Rebecca Margolick will perform this new work.

PEEKS-Works in progress is a laboratory environment designed for artists to present concepts and ideas and receive audience feedback. The developed works receive consideration the annual Souls of Our Feet: People of Color Dance Festival. PEEKS is designed to give THPAC a year round presence on the dance scene, and produce and identify an ever-expanding talent base of new artists and new work.

The program presents works-in-progress by emerging, New York City-based choreographers and dance companies with a special emphasis on artists of color, women and LGBT. This PEEKS Works in progress program is curated by THPAC artistic advisor Walter Rutledge. For more information about the PEEKS-Works in progress email atthelmahill@msn.com or call 718-875-9710.