By Walter Rutledge
Clark Center NYC will present a week of dance and related activities Monday September 28 through Friday October 2 at City College Center for the Arts, Aaron Davis Hall. The event is part of the “rebirth” of the Clark Center for the Performing Arts; the venerable New York City dance institution that closed 26 years ago. The new Clark Center NYC returns as a virtual dance center instead of a brick and mortar facility. Its mission is to not just honor past accomplishments but to offer opportunities to the next generation of dancers and dance makers.
The five day event will open with a 4 pm Hip Hop Dance Master Class with Robin Dunn followed at 6 pm with a panel discussion entitled Dance on the Forefront of Social Change with Celia Ipiotis, Ella Thompson Moore, Martial Roumain and Anna Kisselgoff. On Tuesday there is a 6pm Horton Master Class with Iquail Shaheed and Wednesday, Stories that Explore Memories” with Jamie Cunningham also 6 pm. The week will culminate with two performances on Thursday and Friday (at 7pm) of From The Horse’s Mouth. Artists to perform include Loretta Abbott, Carmen de Lavallade, Meredith Monk, Ted Berger, Sheila Rohan, and Sandra Rivera.
Before the age of multi-culturalism Clark Center for the Performing Arts nurtured a new and more diverse generation of artists. Founded in 1959 by Alvin Ailey at a Westside Manhattan Y.W.C.A., Clark Center offered dance instruction, and the support and presentation of young choreographers and small, developing dance companies of multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and African-American origins. Prices for all classes were kept deliberately low, while a Scholarship Program was available by audition to promising performers, dance teachers or choreographers. Among the Clark Center faculty were Alvin Ailey, Fred Benjamin, Pepsi Bethel, Thelma Hill, Mary Hinkson, Carmen de Lavallade, Anna Sokolow and Bertram Ross.
The roster of artists and organizations that received support from Clark Center include George Faison, Bill T. Jones, Meredith Monk, Eleo Pomare and Kei Takei, Dance Theater of Harlem and Ballet Hispanico. Among the Clark Center faculty were Alvin Ailey, Fred Benjamin, Pepsi Bethel, Thelma Hill, Mary Hinkson, Carmen de Lavallade, Anna Sokolow and Bertram Ross. Clark Center for the Performing Arts remains an important part of the dance history. Its direct influence on the art form during the second half of the twentieth century still resonates today.
Come watch, listen and dance the Monday through Wednesday the events are free. The Thursday and Friday performances are $20 general public and $10 students. Tickets can be purchased at the Aaron Davis Hall box office, by phone (212) 650- 6900 or on line at www.citycollegecenterforthearts.org or www.clarkcenternyc.org. For discount tickets Mailing List Code: CLARKCENTER – $10 Ticket (50% off regular price ticket) Facebook Code: CLARK50 – $10 Ticket (50% off regular price ticket) Students: STUDENT – $5 (50% off student price ticket) Artist: CLARKARTS – $10 Ticket (50% off regular price ticket).
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