9/21/20 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Hellzapoppin’ (Lindy Hop Scene In Full Color) 

Lindy hop is the granddaddy of all swing dances, a blend of African and European dance influences that is both uniquely American… and now spans the globe.  Lindy hop takes its name from the Charles Lindbergh’s flight to Paris in 1927. 

If Tango is sultry, and Ballroom dancing is aloof, lindy hop is joyful and playful.  Lindy has a grounded, flowing style that closely reflects its music — from the late 20s hot jazz to the early 40s big bands. Harlem, New York, and in particular the Savoy Ballroom (“The Home of Happy Feet”) is where the dance was developed and innovated from the 1920s onward. Based on earlier dances such as the Charleston, the Black Bottom and the Breakaway, the dance evolved and spread over the decades along with the new swing music. 

Hellzapoppin’ (In Full Color) 

And while the dance continues to evolve today, contemporary lindy hoppers still strive for that same spirit, inventiveness, and musicality of the pioneers of lindy hop like Norma Miller, Dean Collins, Frankie Manning and many more.

9/11/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Yanis Marshall “Love Hangover” Diana Ross- Heels Intensive Paris

“I’m so excited to share some of the material I’ve been working on earlier this summer for 3 weeks with my Advanced heels intensive program in Paris, France !” @yanismarshallheelsintensive.
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9/10/20 O&A NYC WILDIN OUT WEDNESDAY ON THURSDAY: James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party – SNL

On Nov. 5, 1983, James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub Party wound up becoming one of the most famous sketches of Eddie Murphy‘s time on the show.
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9/9/20 O&A NYC GOING BACK TO AFRICA WITH WaleStylez: Masaka Kids Africana Dancing African Dance

The Masaka Kids Africana is composed of Uganda-based children’s group, from the age of 2 and up. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. They represent all the children of a continent and they demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land.
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9/3/20 O&A NYC WILDIN OUT WEDNESDAY ON THURSDAY: #WAP #LGBTQ

Lead choreographer Nicole Kirkland leads a cast of male dancers in this fun cover of the Cardi B hit WAP. Continue reading

9/1/20 O&A NYC GOING BACK TO AFRICA WITH WaleStylez: Burna Boy – Wonderful

Wonderful is a song by Nigerian singer Burna Boy. It was released on June 26, 2020, as the lead single from his fifth studio album Twice as Tall (2020). Continue reading

8/31/20 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Pie Pie Blackbird (1932) | Eubie Blake Nina Mae McKinney Nicholas Brothers

Pie Pie Blackbird, like a lot of classic shorts from the time is nothing more than an excuse to spotlight some great music from the period. Continue reading

8/28/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Creative Outlet Offers Free Outdoor Classes

By Walter Rutledge

The bright late morning sun was still drying the dew off the grass, but Fort Green Park was already bustling with energy. As I climbed the white marble stairs the sound of music greeted me halfway up. Patiently waiting at the base of the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument was Jamel Gaines, a tall man sporting a retro curly “fro”.

Soon the large plaza in front of the monument begin to fill with dancers of all ages, shapes and sizes. Gaines, the founder of Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, has spent the more than 25 years building and cultivating the performing arts in Brooklyn. Long before Starbucks, trendy bars and little ugly dogs found Brooklyn’s urban landscape; Gaines had established an artistic foothold in the Fort Green section at 138 S Oxford Street.

If you have ever visited the Creative Outlet school, it has a feeling of a community/village. Parents monitor classes and assist with moving younger students between classrooms, there is a lunch concession that offers affordable hot meals and healthy snacks to the participants and family members. The focused classes resembled the most disciplined arts academy; the biggest difference of was the amount of melanin.

The pandemic put an end to the communal learning approach, and the use of traditional performing venues. Creative Outlet was forced to close its studios, but not suspend activities. Staying true to form Gaines began teaching free classes outdoors at Fort Green Park three days a week.

 
Creative Outlet Free Dance Class

On Thursday and Friday at 6pm and on Saturday at 11am Creative Outlet offers free classes dubbed as, “Culturally Healing and Movement Classes”. There are classes for all ages including a fun jazz-based movement class for children on Saturday morning. One of the most reassuring elements about these classes is that Gaines has brought Creative Outlet’s feeling of community with him. The first outdoor class had only six attendees; now there are over forty artists of all ages.

In addition to dance classes the Creative Outlet Queens, an interdisciplinary and multi-generational performing ensemble that also rehearses at Fort Green Park. The “Queens” will perform at Peace One Love a Black Lives Matter celebration on Saturday August 29th from 2-5pm at the Black Lives Matter Mural at Restoration Plaza (Fulton Street between New York Ave. and Brooklyn Ave). Although this is an outdoor event please practice social distancing whenever possible and please wear a mask.  

8/24/20 O&A NYC DANCE… AND MORE: Peace One Love- Bringing Brooklyn Together

By Walter Rutledge

Dance has always been a catalyst for change. In 1936 Martha Graham created her masterwork Chronicles as a weapon against the rising menace of fascism in Germany. In 1959 Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder evoked the hopelessness and inequality of Black men on a southern prison chain gang. On Saturday August 29 Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn (also known as Creative Outlet or just C.O.) will also use the power of dance to heal a community with Peace One Love, an afternoon of the arts celebrating the spirit of the now internationally recognized Black Lives Matter movement.   Continue reading

8/21/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Shelter is a passionate statement about the physical and emotional deprivation of homeless people.  Continue reading