The Thelma Hill Performing Art Center (THPAC) will dedicate their 40th Anniversary season to dancer icon and longtime THPAC supporter Loretta Abbott. The 4 day season, which runs from June 19 through June 22 at the Actor Fund Center 160 Schermerhorn Strret in downtown Brooklyn, will showcase 40 choreographers, and dance companies during the milestone 40th season. The artists presented range from early THPAC contributors including such dance luminaries as Emmy and Tony Award winner George Faison, Philadanco, Charles Moore Dance Theatre, and Rod Rodgers Dance Company. Mid-career choreographers Marshall Swiney, Ronald K Alexander, Germaul Barnes and Rodger C. Jeffery; and emerging artists Nijawwon Matthews, DaVon Doane, and Sidra Bell.
The 2015 season ended with A Conversation With Loretta Abbott moderated by THPAC Artistic Advisor Walter Rutledge. The evening featured Abbott sharing her artistic approach to dance and recounted her diverse career, which included dancing in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and performing as Ailey’s dance partner in Revelations. A truly gentle and sensitive soul Abbott could be fiercely protective of the people and dance works she treasured.
The evening culminated with a performance of Sentimental Reasons choreographed by Rutledge especially for Abbott and himself. The work was a tribute to the often comedic performances from Abbott and Al Perryman, who were given the monicker “The Dynamic Duo”. As part of THPAC’s celebration of Abbott Sentimental Reasons will be performed by Rutledge and Shirley Black Brown on June 22.
“Ms. Loretta Abbott, dancer extraordinaire, has died. I personally thought of her as the patron saint of Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC)”, states THPAC Executive Chairman Alex Smith Jr. “She was the first one I ever encountered at a THPAC event. It was 1985 on a warm late spring day. I had never heard of THPAC before. She was the MC at a special tribute honoring Al Perryman at BAM.”
Smith continued, “It was just by chance that I was there that day. I had no idea how significant that day would be in my life until many, many years later. That day Loretta was dressed in long white gown with sequence around the waist. She was of course quite elegant.”
“She was a close friend and confidant of THPAC’s founder, Larry Phillips. I also met him on that day for the first and only time. I would never see him again. In 1988 Loretta performed for THPAC at a major tribute we did for Larry. She wowed the audience as only she could.”
“Loretta’s presence at THPAC performances were always a source of grounding and comfort for me as I continued to lead an organization she cared so much for. Her passing is monumental for THPAC. We take great comfort in the legacy she leaves.”
Tickets are on sale for the 2016 Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center 40th Anniversary season. The tickets are $20/$15 (students and seniors) due to the exciting roster and limited seating advanced ticket sales is advised. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.thelmahill.com. or in the lobby 30 minutes prior to the performance.