3/31/20 O&A NYC IN MEMORIUM: Dancer, Choreographer Louis Johnson Died at 90

By Walter Rutledge

Dancer, choreographer and director Louis Johnson passed away he was 90 years old. Born March 19, 1930 in Statesville, North Carolina Johnson’s parents moved to Washington D.C. and he became a standout in the D.C. school system for his artistic and gymnastic abilities. While in high school Johnson enrolled and trained at the Jones Haywood School of Dance, where he blossomed under the tutelage of Doris Jones and Clair Haywood.

Johnson moved to New York City and continued his dance training at the famed New York City School of American Ballet, where he was mentored by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. Johnson performed on Broadway in Four Saint in Three Acts, House of Flowers (George Balanchine choreographer) Damn Yankees (Bob Fosse) and Hallelujah Baby. The success of one of his early choreographic works Lament for the New York City Ballet Club led to offers to choreograph the Broadway production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. This lead to additional theatrical productions including Lost In The Stars, Treemonisha and Purlie, which garnered Johnson a Tony Award nomination.

Johnson choregraphed La Giaconda (starring Martina La Rowe) and Aida (starring Leontyne Price) for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Johnson also choreographed two motion pictures the 1970 Cotton Come To Harlem and The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Johnson never lost his love for concert dance choreographing for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Philadanco and the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater. In 1980 Johnson started the dance department at the Henry Street Settlement (New York City), where he remained until 2003. He also taught the first Black theater course at Yale University and stated dance department at Howard University (D.C.). His directorial credits include Porgy and Bess, Miss Truth and Jazzbo Brown.

1/1/19 O&A NYC SONG OF THE DAY: Diana Ross- Missing You (In Memory of Hector)

Missing You performed by Diana Ross and written, composed and produced by Lionel Richie as a tribute to Marvin Gaye shortly after his untimely death.  Continue reading

1/1/19 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Ballroom icon Hector Xtravaganza (1958- 2018)

By Adewale Adekanbi

Ballroom icon Hector Xtravaganza passed away on December 30, 2018 in New York City, he was 60 years old. A dancer, activist, and HIV/AIDS advocate Hector used his art of vogue and love of ballroom (combined with his special flair for the “extravagant”) to enhance the lives of countless individuals in the  ballroom community for over thirty-five years. His death was officially announced Sunday on the House Of Xtravaganza’s facebook page- the house he loved so much that he adopted Xtravaganza as his legal surname. Continue reading

12/20/18 O&A NYC IN MEMORIUM: Raven Wilkinson Ballet Pioneer Dies at 83

Raven Wilkinson the first African-American to join a major international company had passed,  she was 83.  Continue reading

12/11/18 O&A NYC MILESTONE- SPECIAL TRIBUTE DANCE: Aubrey Crawford aka Kassandra Ebony S.I.P

On the behalf of Out and About NYC Magazine we acknowledge the death of Aubrey Crawford aka Kassandra Ebony. This young man had a flare beyond its limit. Aubrey Crawford was treacherous within the dance world. Continue reading

4/8/18 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Donald McKayle (July 6, 1930 – April 7, 2018)- Rainbow Round My Shoulder with Mary Hinkson

Dancer, choreographer, educator and author Donald McKayle passed on April 7, 2018 at age 87.  In honor of this dance icon O&A NYC posts his 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder. Continue reading

7/9/16 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Stanford – The Other America (1967) For Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

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The Other America, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s address from Stanford University’s Memorial Auditorium on April 14th 1967. Dr. King speaks out about racism, civil rights and inequality in America.  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

6/14/16 O&A NYC IN MEMORARIUM: Honoring Orlando- Don’t Cry

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Don”t Cry, an excerpt from On The Block (After Bearden) a full evenings one act dance work choreographed by Walter Rutledge and based on the six panel mural The Block by Romare Bearden. In the section a man, who deeply loved his wife, visits her grave. Her spirit returns one last time. The images were derived from the second panel of the Bearden rural. Continue reading