4/8/20 O&A NYC MAGAZINE: Remembering Louis Johnson

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

2/14/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY- CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Rainbow Round My Shoulder- Donald McKayle with Mary Hinkson

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Donald McKayle’s 1959 masterwork, Rainbow Round My Shoulder, is acclaimed as a modern dance classic. A searing dramatic narrative, it is set on a chain gang in the American south where prisoners work, breaking rock from “can see to can’t see.” Their aspirations for freedom come in the guise of a woman, first as a vision then as a remembered sweetheart, mother, and wife. The songs that accompany their arduous labor are rich in polyphony and tell a bitter, sardonic, and tragic story. It was created for the Donald McKayle Dance Company, and has been in the repertoire of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva Dance Company and Dayton Contemporary Dance, among others. The cast in the video excerpt includes Donald McKayle and Mary Hinkson. Continue reading

11/22/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Diana Ross & Donald McKayle – Soulful Strut at the Hollywood Palace [3/8/69]

Diana Ross and Donald McKayle perform Soulful Strut at the Hollywood Palace March 8, 1969 

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8/5/19 O&A NYC DANCE: It Don’t Mean A Thing from Sophisticated Ladies- Phyllis Hyman, Gregg Burge And Hinton Battle

It Don’t Mean A Thing from Sophisticated Ladies features a  knockout cast including Phyllis Hyman, Hinton Battle, Gregg Burge and Mercer Ellington. Continue reading

4/23/18 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: The Great White Hope (1970)

The Great White Hope, the film and play are based on the true story of Jack Johnson and his first wife, Etta Terry Duryea and the controversy over their marriage and Duryea’s death by suicide in 1912. 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

2/20/17 O&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: The Great White Hope (1970)

The Great White Hope, the film and play are based on the true story of Jack Johnson and his first wife, Etta Terry Duryea and the controversy over their marriage and Duryea’s death by suicide in 1912. Continue reading

10/14/16 O&A NYC WHAT HAPPENING THIS WEEK: Friday, October 14 through Thursday, October 20, 2016 Art, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre … And More

By Walter Rutledge

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Fall is in full swing and is quickly ushering in the holiday arts season. This week we honor dance in Brooklyn, celebrate Jazz on Staten Island, and watch Denzel Washington save a western town. Here are a few of the many events taking place in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to get you Out and About. Continue reading

7/21/16 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Rainbow Round My Shoulder Receives Bessie Award For Outstanding Revival

By Walter Rutledge

On Wednesday June 14, 2016 Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder received a New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessies) for Outstanding Revival. The 32 Annual Bessies Awards will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. This review was originally posted by O&A NYC Magazine on April 11th, 2016.

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Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance presented Donald Mckayle’s masterwork Rainbow Round My Shoulder during their 2016 New York City season. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed the work as guest of the Taylor Company. This marks the second year of Taylor’s new dance initiative, which presents modern dance classics often performed by guest companies.  Continue reading

7/21/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Bessie Award Announces 2016 Nominees (With Video)

 By Walter Rutledge

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The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, announced the nominees for the 2015-16 season at a press conference on Wednesday July 14 at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. Continue reading