On April 5th 1968, James Brown gave a free concert at The Boston Garden which became a thing of legend. Only 24 hours earlier civil rights activist Dr Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated resulting in widespread violence across the United States. The mayor of Boston was persuaded to let the concert go ahead and it was broadcast live across the city by WGBH-TV. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge
There is only one George Faison! Dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, playwright, social activist, entrepreneur and friend. George has been one of my inspirations and artistic standard bearers for most of my career. In 2017 the Ailey American Dance Theater presented an excerpt of Suite Otis, his iconic tribute to Otis Redding. Faison sat down to talk about this masterwork, experiences in the Ailey Company and his arts aesthetic. Happy Birthday George.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present an excerpt of George Faison’s masterwork Suite Otis at their New York City Center season opening night gala, Wednesday, November 29 2017. Choreographed in 1971 for the George Faison Universal Dance Experience the work joined the Ailey repertoire in 1977. 40 years after it’s Ailey debut Suite Otis continues to excite and entertain audiences with verve, aplomb, fleet footed technique and imaginative Euclidean storytelling.
The company will perform the finale section set to Otis Redding’s Tenderness. The full cast section reintroduces the dancers creating a visually exciting yet compelling epilog. Throughout the work Faison (the imperial storyteller) does what every choreographer should do- invites us into his vision and delivers with clarity, focus and impeccable choreographic timing.
Balletomanes still long for the return of old fashion honest storytelling- the hallmark of Ailey’s original company. In Suite Otis Faison’s articulate use of the dance narrative genre captures the majesty and universal humanity of both Otis Redding’s music and the black dance experience. This gave him a voice in an era when Black American dance and culture had started to becoming a global force.
Suite Otis- George Faison
What Faison did (and continues to do) is to keep the dance/theatre aesthetic in the forefront of the arts conversation. Tenderness will be performed for one performance only on Wednesday, November 29 for tickets and a complete schedule of the five-week New York City season visit ailey.org.
By Walter Rutledge
Louis Johnson’s passing marks the end of an era in Black dance. Johnson was the last of the of his generation of 20th century American choreographers of African descent and International renowned. His contemporaries, Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Geoffrey Holder, Donald McKayle, and Arthur Mitchell, all forged through the restrictive Jim Crow era of hatred and segregation; that unfortunately included the arts- and dance. Continue reading
Billy Porter has made history at the 2019 Emmys! The “Pose” star became the first openly gay person of color to win an Emmy award for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Pray Tell in the acclaimed FX show. “The category is love, y’all!” he gushed. “I am so overwhelmed and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day!” Billy broke down in tears while delivering his acceptance speech just one day after celebrating his 50th birthday! Continue reading
Billie Jean was a released by Epic Record on January 2, 1983 as the second single from his sixth studio album, Thriller. It was written and composed by Michael Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. Continue reading
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
Raven Wilkinson the first African-American to join a major international company had passed, she was 83. Continue reading
Nancy Wilson, song stylist and three-time Grammy-winning artist has died. Wilson passed away peacefully Thursday at her home after a long illness. She was 81. Continue reading
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
By Walter Rutledge
Arthur Mitchell, dancer, teacher, choreographer, social activist and founding director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem passed on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at age 84 from complications of heart failure. Mitchell’s career can only be described as trailblazing. In 1956 he crossed what E.B. Debois referred to as the “color line” to become the first ballet dancer of African decent to join the international renowned New York City Ballet.