1/6/18 O&A NYC DANCE: Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer- A Retrospect On A Life Devoted To Dance

By Walter Rutledge

Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer will open at Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 615 W 129th St, on Saturday January 13, 2018. The exhibit is presented in collaboration with Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where Mitchell donated his archive in 2015. This is the first major exhibition devoted to celebrating the life and accomplishments of   New York City Ballet’s first African American principal dancer and the co-founder and longtime director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Curated by Lynn Garafola, Professor Emerita of Dance, Barnard College the collection will be on view through March 11, 2018

“This exhibition pays homage both to Mitchell’s creative magic and to his visionary achievements, revealing to those who never saw him dance his charismatic stage presence and the full scope of his career as an artist,” said Garafola. “At the same time, it places the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which he co-founded and directed for more than 40 years, at the crossroads of political, artistic and racial change in the United States and beyond.”

Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer will feature objects from Mitchell’s archive, including the telegram from Lincoln Kirstein to Mitchell inviting him to join the New York City Ballet, an Al Hirschfeld drawing of Suzanne Farrell and Mitchell in Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Mitchell’s 1952 Four Saints in Three Acts souvenir program and posters from the 1961 Spoleto Festival, where Mitchell both choreographed and performed.                                                                  

Other highlights are photographs of Mitchell and fellow dancers by Anthony Crickmay, Peter Basch, Martha Swope and Antony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon), and an eight-foot-long Dance Theatre of Harlem puzzle, created by Frank Bara in 1991, that chronicles the first two decades of the company’s history with illustrative detail of its artists, heroes and friends. Dancer Charmaine Hunter’s costume and headpiece designed by Geoffrey Holder for Firebird (1982), one of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s signature works, will be on view, as well as performance footage from a number of sources including the New York Public Library’s Jerome Robbins Dance Division.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Dance Pioneer Arthur Mitchell

“I am a political activist through dance,” said Mitchell, who received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Columbia in May of 2016. “I believe that dance, and the arts more broadly, can be used as a catalyst for social change—this is why I started the Dance Theatre of Harlem. With my archive at Columbia, artifacts of American dance history and African American history are accessible to young scholars, academics and the general public. The exhibition at the Wallach Gallery will further this push for change.”

The Wallach Art Gallery advances Columbia’s historical, critical and creative engagement with the visual arts. Serving as both a laboratory and a forum, the Wallach offers opportunities for curatorial practice and discourse, while bridging the diverse approaches to the arts at the University with a welcome broader public. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, noon until 8pm and Saturday and Sunday, noon until 6 pm. The Wallach Art Gallery is free and open to the public.

“Our grand re-opening year at the Lenfest Center for the Arts is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Mitchell’s artistic genius, through the holdings of Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Wallach is proud to collaborate on this presentation, offering a glimpse of these treasures to the public, while also appealing to those interested in the history of ballet, the history of Harlem and, more broadly, modern American race relations,” said Deborah Cullen, Director and Chief Curator of the Wallach Art Gallery.

For more information about the Wallach Art Gallery and the Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer exhibition and related events including: An Afternoon with Arthur Mitchell (January 20, 2018, 1pm) and Panel Discussion with former dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem (February 24, 2018, 1pm) visit wallach.columbia.edu. 

To watch the complete Agon featuring the original cast click below

http://outandaboutnycmag.com/1-7-18-oa-nyc-dance-agon-new-york-city-ballet-1960/

 

 

12/28/17 O&A NYC DANCE/HEALTH AND WELLNESS: The Village Elders Celebrate First Year In New Home

By Walter Rutledge

The Dance Of The Village Elders ended their first fall session at St. Philip’s Church with a performance and a party. The dance and fitness program, which began in 2010, was forced to disband in 2015. In February 2017 the program reorganized as a “Fitness Cooperative”, and relocated to St. Philip’s Church, 204 West 134th Street.

We didn’t have any funds, but we had the will to stay together; so money became the least important reason not to work together. St. Philip’s Church came to the rescue offering us space in the Harlem community, which kept to program accessible to many of our participants. On Thursday December 14 the “Ladies” presented a holiday celebration demonstration/performance to a standing room only crowd of family and friends. The 60 minute presentation, which included a warm up with audience participation, and performances by the Ladies and Three Jazz Kings (Andrew Damakakos, Bless Goode and Judah Marable) courtesy of the Dance Program at Harlem School of the Arts.

Dance Of The Village Elders- Santa Baby excerpt

The celebration continued the following Thursday, December 21, during our last class  Everyone brought a dish, and I shifted responsibilities from instructor to disc- jockey. This is always one of my favorite sessions it gives us an opportunity to fellowship. Everyone is relaxed and even more jovial than usual,  still reveling in the success of our performance a week earlier. 

We will resume classes on Thursday January 4, 2018 2- 3:30pm. The classes are free to the public and all are welcome. Have a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year! We hope to see you in January. 

 

12/7/17 O&A NYC DANCE: NewSteps 2017 Begins Tonight- Meet The Choreographers- Keith Comley

By Walter Rutledge

Newsteps begins their 35th bi-annual emerging choreographers showcase December 7 through December 9 at the Chen Dance Center, 70 Mulberry Street in Chinatown. Newsteps offers new and emerging dance makers the opportunity to develop and present works in a low pressure, nurturing environment. Each choreographer is given rehearsal space, an honorarium, mentoring from a member of the selection panel, and multiple (three) performances to give the works time to “find its own voice”. Continue reading

12/5/17 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Michael Jackson Jr.

By Walter Rutledge

Michael Jackson, Jr. has spent his career working in the Black dance genre. The gifted dancer, choreographer, teacher, and this season’s Ailey “poster God” began his dance training at age 14 at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. under the direction of Charles Augins. His irrepressible curiosity, athletic physique and pliant musculature help Jackson Jr. quickly excel. Continue reading

11/3/17 O&A NYC THIS WEEK: Chez Lucienne Reopens

By Walter Rutledge

Chez Lucienne celebrated it’s reopening on Wednesday, November 1st. The restaurant, which has been closed for the last two month, is back with a new look, a new menu and under new management. Located at 308 Lenox Avenue (one door south of Red Rooster) this quaint little French Bristo has returned with great panache and West African flair.

The remodeled décor has a freshness that accommodates both the happy hour revelers and intimate dining. A serpentine shaped communal seating area framed by ceiling to floor French doors provides an excellent area to mingle. Window shutters uniformly adorned with mirrors lined the long white washed brick wall.

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The revamped menu has retained some Chez Lucienne staples. Great burgers ranging from the Le Burger Classique (angus beef) to a veggie burger with chipotle mayo, and French cuisine favorites as Steak Frittes in a signature peppercorn sauce have survived the transition. And new dishes such as La Grillade D’Agneau (lamb Dibbi Mbacke style) Les Boulettes de Poisson Sauce Dakar (Senegalese fish balls in a tomato stew) offer patrons an exciting West African alternatives to French inspired dining.

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Chez Lucienne offers lunch beginning at 11am, happy hour 4pm- 7pm and late night dining until 2am. For reservations call (212) 289-5555. Bon appetite.

Kerby Jean Photographer

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

7/29/17 O&A NYC GOING BACK TO AFRICA WITH WaleStylez: Top 10 Nigerian Male Models

In the past African models optimized the industry’s exotic element; today they have moved into the fashion mainstream.   Continue reading

(REPOST) 6/23/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Ronald K. Brown and Evidence, A Dance Company- 30 Years In The Making (Part One)

By Walter Rutledge

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Ronald K. Brown and Evidence, A Dance Company will celebrate the 30 anniversary of the company February 24 through March 1, 2015 at the Joyce Theater. Brown realized his gift as a choreographer and his desire to express him by making dances at the  beginning of his dance career. At age 19, when most dance artists are concentrating on performing, Brown formed Evidence. Continue reading

6/16/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Dudley Williams last Performance- Dance Of The Village Elders

By Walter Rutledge

Dudley Williams was a performing artist, and teacher and a friend. I often referred to him as the “Lyric Prince of Modern Dance” a moniker that he enjoyed. In reality Dudley was a fighter. And the bantamweight dancer was in a battle with time, he simply refused to let it stop him from dancing. Continue reading