7/10/17 O&A NYC OUT AND ABOUT: PICKS OF THE WEEK- What’s Happening This Week July 10- July 17, 2017

Summer is here and the city is abounding with activity “24- 7- 365”. We have art celebrating popular culture in Brooklyn. Dance honoring dancers downtown. Blockbuster and Indie film share the silver screen, music blends with movement to reflect on Asian culture at Carnegie Hall, and the swashbuckling continues in Harlem. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

6/10/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Announce 2016 Artist Roster

Shall We Dance

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The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) announced the roster of artists they will present for their 40th Anniversary season June 19 through 22 and June 28 at the Actors Fund Center, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn based THPAC has presented companies and choreographers of color for 40 consecutive years making it the oldest continuous presenting organization in the country. The list of artists reaches back to the past with established artists while remaining true to its credo offering performance opportunity to the new and emerging.

“When you put it in prospective back in 1976 there were very few presenters programming artists of color,” states THPAC Executive Chairman Alex Smith Jr. “Dance Theatre of Harlem had made their premiere only five years earlier in 1971, The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (Ailey II) was two years old, and the George Faison Universal Dance Experience was one of the hottest emerging companies in town. We presented the controversial Eleo Pomare and female powerhouse Dianne McIntyre when mainstream presenters were looking elsewhere. We have planned an exciting season for 2016, look for some surprise appearances from our dance family.”

Over the last forty years THPAC has made it a mission to seek out the new and cutting edge. The organization has helped introduce many of today dance notables including Complexions, Ronald K. Brown Evidence, Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown and Sidra Bell. This year promises to be more than a retrospective; it remains a referendum on dance programming for artists of color.

 The 2016 40th Anniversary Season:

Sunday June 19
Darrel Grand Moultrie                                                                                                                                                                               George Faison
Germaul Barnes
Gierre Godley
Johnnie Mercer
Rodger C. Jeffery
Tiffany Rea-Fisher

Monday June 20
Alpha Omega
Andre’ Zachery
Bloodline Dance Theater
Creative Outlet
DaVon Doane
Judah International Dance Theatre
Patricia Carby
Rod Rodgers Dance Company
Sidra Bell

Tuesday June 21
Charles Moore Dance Theater
Earl Mosley
Francesca Harper
Nehemiah Spencer
Nijawwon Matthews
Special Ops
Takeshi Ohashi
William Isaac

Wednesday June 22
Abdiel Jacobsen
Bones The Machine
HSA Dance Ensemble
Jamal Story
Jean Emile
Orlando Hunter
Ronald K. Alexander
Walter Rutledge

Tuesday June 28
Marshall Swiney with Beauty For Ashes Contemporary School of Dance

Tickets are on sale for the 2016 Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center 40th Anniversary season. The tickets are $20/$15 (students and seniors) due to the exciting roster and limited seating advanced ticket sales is advised. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.thelmahill.com. or in the lobby 30 minutes prior to the performance.


1/18/16 O&A NYC REVIEW: newsteps: a choreographer’s series

By Walter Rutledge


newsteps: a choreographer’s series presented by the Chen Dance Center showcased the work of five emerging dance makers in three performance, Thursday January 14 through Saturday January 16. The showcased marked the 22nd consecutive year of bi-annual performances that support the creative process defined by Doris Humphrey as “The art of making dances”. The juried series provides rehearsal space, mentoring, technical support, and a small stipend that culminates with multiple public performances.


What We’re In Now by Hannah Garner got the evening off on a strong note. Set to the music of Italian film composer and pianist Armando Trovajoli, the duet opened with a seated Garner and Will Noling. Right from the beginning the dancers established a persona that clearly communicated to the audience.

The ensuing movement conversation ranged from contemplative to humorous. The couple, clearly in a relationship, exuded a humanistic honesty that endeared them to the audience. The quirky partnering defied convention becoming integral to the choreographer’s vocabulary.

Ayaka Kamei presented a solo entitled Stay with Me with music by Oda Kazumasa and Zoe Keating. The the amber lighting, jewelry box music and dancer Seneca Lawrence’s pixie-like approach created an air of early morning lightness. Lawrence lulled the audience into a false sense of easiness until a siren and a stage washed in red light interrupted her somnambulism. The work culminates with Lawrence returning to her opening demeanor in repose.


The Scar by Laura Henry featured a quintet clad in distressed khaki shorts and torn tops, which reminisced television’s Survivor, set in Scythia (the land of the Amazons). The angular arms adorned deep plies in second position, and counterbalanced a barrage of a la seconde battlements and athletic jumps. The worked ended with a solo dancer sequestered in a center stage downspot slowly descending in darkness.

Takeshi Ohashi’s textural duet The time presented a multi-faceted relationship performed by Maki Shinagawa and Vivake Khamsingavath. The work opened with Shinagawa slowly walking downstage left balancing an apple on the head of a crouching Khamsingavath. Eventually Khamsingavath sat downstage right and begins to peel the apple.

Throughout the duet Ohashi displayed strong choreographic form showering us with focused imagery that extended beyond elementary poses. One example, a movement passage void of physical contact; then the duet exploded in a flurry of lifts. The “partnering abstinence” made the proceeding section of lifts extremely powerful. The work ended with Khamsingavath now leading a couching Shinagawa upstage. The role reversal produced a clever new perspective to the movement and an unexpected plot twist.

The evening concluded with Quiet, a quartet featuring Elliott Keller, Sarina Taggart, Fola Walker and choreographer Gina Montalto. The work offered good spatial relationships with a strong reliance on symmetry. Montalto displayed good form with quick movement passages that retreated into stillness providing a fitting contrast to the music.

The skyrocketing cost of retail rentals space has forced many non-profit organizations to become homeless. This makes the efforts of organizations like Chen Dance Center not only commendable, but also necessary. newsteps: a choreographer’s series continues the time-honored tradition of nurturing the next generation of choreographers. The next series scheduled for May 19 through May 21 will begin accepting candidates for auditions on February 2. For more information about the newsteps: a choreographer’s series and Chen Dance Center’s other programs visit chendancecenter.org.