Juneteenthis the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This observance should hold the status of an African- American Independence Day. Juneteenth 2020 will take place on Friday; and to commemorate the 155 anniversaryof independence Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Company of Brooklyn and NYC Summerstage with present a virtual celebration entitled Hanging Tree. This virtual event will take place on Friday June 19, 7pmon Summerstage YouTube.
The production brought together the talents of dancer James “Banks” Davis, musician Talu Green, vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley, poet Carl Hancock Rux, choreographer/director Jamel Gaines and members of the Creative Outlet family. Mothers and fathers performed with sons and daughters, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews, and present and former company members brought love, creative, reverence and community to the steps, plaza and base of the Doric styled Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Brooklyn’s Fort Green Park. Immediately following the performance there will be a panel discussion lead by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer/choreographer Hope Boykin.
O&A NYC attended the filming of the presentation and brings you a sneak preview of Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet’s Hanging Tree.
Preview Hanging Tree: A Juneteenth Celebration
On June 19th, 1865 a regiment of Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. One of Granger’s first order of business was to read to the people of the city a document entitled General Order Number 3. The proclamation began:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Juneteenth honors the memory of all people who have broken the chains of oppression and dehumanizing servitude. It is celebration of those who have the obtained freedom, either through the joys of emancipation or the unfortunate inevitability of death. On Friday June 19 we wish you all a joyous Juneteenth and a happy African- American Independence Day.
James “Banks” Davis is a real New York success story. Banks grow up in the urban environment of Queens and Brooklyn and as a teenager found acceptance and recognition as an urban street dancer. A natural athlete Banks quickly excelled in dance and gymnastics. He loved entertaining people often turning a street corner into a stage.
Then on Halloween night 2009, gun fire erupted on a crowded Brooklyn street and Banks was shot in the knee- another innocent victim of a random shooting. His injuries would have been a death knell for anyone pursuing a career in dance. Instead, Banks treated this not as a detour, but the course appointed.
The original diagnosis was amputation; but miraculously sensation returned to his leg and Banks immediately turned his attention toward recovery. Through mediation, prayer, dedication and hard work Banks was able to return to dance. Banks broaden his aesthetic horizons through his association with Jamel Gaines and his dance company
For over 26 years Gaines has used dance to inspire inner city youth to achieve; and often his prodigy has aspired beyond their own expectations. Gaines has the unique gift of working with dancer from many diverse disciplines. And Banks (whose specialty was the L.A. street dance style called Krump) developed his art under Gaines holistic approach to dance.
Banks combines the refined, codified styles of modern and jazz with the raw edginess of Krump. In 2014 Banks stole the hearts of many on social media as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11. Banks played the role of the angel Gabriel in the English National Opera’s The Gospel According To Mary and toured New Zealand with the Park Avenue Armory’s production FLEXN. In 2019 Banks was featured in the groundbreaking Revelation of Proverbs Reggie “Regg Roc” and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring at The Shed.
Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Behind The Scenes
On June 19 Creative Outlet and Summerstage will present Hanging Tree, an on-line celebration of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. The virtual presentation will take place on June 19, 7-8pm on Summerstage YouTube. In addition to Banks the production (choreographed, staged and conceived by Gaines) also features vocalist Marcelle Davies Lashley, poet Carl Hancock Rux, and musician Talu Green. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion entitled The Importance of Juneteenth’s History & How It Affects Our Community’s Lives Today. The panel will feature RestorationArt Executive Director Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Gaines and Rux.
For more information about Creative Outlet’s programs, classes and upcoming event visit jgcodance.org.
July 4th is the start of a four day summer holiday weekend and New York is just getting warmed up. We will have a hot dog eating contest at Coney Island and a seafood boil festival in Brooklyn. Tap dance in Chelsea and Afropop in Central Park. Not to mention a jazz brunch in Harlem. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About.
Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing The Boundaries performances were held on August 15th and 16th at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. This is the second year SummerStage and the Faison Firehouse has collaborated on the outdoor, free to the public performing arts presentation; and it has already become one the most anticipated and well attended events offered in the summer series. This year the eclectic roster of performers included Baoku & The Image Afro-Beat Band, Cecilia Marta Dance Company, George Faison Universal Dance Experience, Jamel Gaines’ Creative Outlet, and Lotus Music & Dance Multicultural Artists. The well curated production lived up to its title offering a diverse and well-paced program with an international flavor.Continue reading
We are midway through August and the arts are in full “summer swing”. There are art events abounding throughout the city many are outdoors and free to the public. Here are a few of the many arts events happening in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading
By Walter Rutledge The first week of August is the height of the summer, and the same is true for the arts. This week an old master of modern art returns to midtown, while an up and coming dance company debuts in Central Park. 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
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