Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #14

April 27th, 2006  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Adrienne Macki
(Photo credit: Kamissa Barry.”Bank of America Celebrity Series Arts, Education and Community Program.”)

100 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 Small children danced on their chairs, adults swayed. Young and old, alike, called out their support during the riveting preview and lecture demonstration of the ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATRE at HIBERNIAN HALL last Wednesday night, April 19.

The large audience was delighted with the energetic, inter-active presentation, which featured a trio of talented dancers: ANTONIO DOUTHIT, CLIFTON BROWN and Boston native, KIRVEN J. BOYD. The enthralling dance, concert/talk provided a wonderful glimpse of Ailey’s coming attraction, “A SEASON OF REVELATIONS,” at the WANG THEATRE through APRIL 30.

Excerpts of compositions from their upcoming Boston appearance included the highly charged “I’ve Been Buked,” originally part of the 1960 “Revelations” choreographed by Ailey. This piece demonstrates the African Americans’ transcendence from bondage to spiritual deliverance. “I Wanna be Ready,” also from the classic “Revelations,” is a sorrowful and moving dance of pleading and praying.

Brown, Boyd and Douthit also presented “Solo,” recent choreography from Danish choreographer, Hans van Manen. This segment featured break-out performances from each of three dancers and showcased the dancers’ flexibility and athleticism. The piece culminates in a group display of power and virtuosity.

In between each dance sequence, the dancers gave an overview of the company’s history, and also assembled a number of audience volunteers, both young and old, bringing them on stage to learn some of the troupe’s basic choreography.

Alvin Ailey dancers, who dance in nearly all styles, modeled the diversity of their training and technique, including African, Latin, Lester Horton’s modern dance, Katherine Dunham School, ballet and jazz. Dazzling the audience with their fluidity and mastery of hip, hop and contemporary club dancing, the performers made dance accessible and exceptionally vital to the community. After what seemed an all-too-brief display and hands-on demonstration, dancers answered questions from the audience.

The Alvin Ailey Troupe, with a permanent company of fifteen male and fifteen female dancers, under the artistic direction of Judith Jamison, has performed internationally to upwards of 21 million people. Yet, it continues to maintain and celebrate its connections to the African American community. Local son, Kirven J. Boyd, 25, was especially well received, as former classmates turned out to support him. Boyd started with jazz and tap lessons, auditioned for the Boston Arts Academy, danced with Boston Youth Moves, and attended summer sessions at Boston Conservatory and Ailey’s School. Although he considers himself still in the training process, Boyd spent two years in the junior company, Ailey II, before joining the Company in 2004.

ALVIN AILEY tickets for this weekend

by Kay Bourne
101 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 All choreography is doubtless personal in some way or other – but how deep into oneself will a choreographer go? Recently, MARK ALLAN DAVIS set a dance that addressed his repeated nightmares – traumatic dreams related to his mother that bathed him in sweat and tears.

His dance, “THE SUNDOWNING Part V,” tells the story of his mother’s descent into the dementia brought on by Alzheimer’s.

Watching her slip slowly away while he could only sit by her side helpless, yet feeling he should help, brought to his mind the image of a small boy watching with a tinge of guilt a firefly he has captured in a jar as the light slowly extinguishes.

Davis, who is on the faculty at Smith College, utilized Kobe drummer Rzab who plays for Davis’s Modern Dance Classes, to provide rhythms as inspiration. Davis discovered that while he danced out a sketch of the piece, he too made sounds – slapping his thigh and making clicking noises. Davis invited a student he regards as an accomplished dancer, Jen Hackworth, to portray the sole role which he refers to as the Figure in the Yellow Dress.

Davis then asked mezzo soprano Alecia Chakour to sing two spirituals originally recorded by Mahalia Jackson, favorites of Davis’s mother, as the third component for the piece.

“The Sundowning Part V” (with lighting by Kathy Couch) debuted at Hampshire College, and Davis was shaken to realize other people were moved by a narrative he had regarded as strictly personal. He saw what he couldn’t see before. He saw that the success of the choreographed piece about he and his mother lies in the universality of the human spirit it expresses and in the ties of human experience that bind us all.

94 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 Love. Passion. Jealousy. Betrayal. The story told in the ballet “CARMEN” is familiar from a novel, an opera and the movies where the Otto Preminger film reworked for an African American cast, “Carmen Jones,” starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.

BOSTON BALLET resident choreographer, the Finnish born, JORMA ELO has staged his own ideas for how the story might go. Set in the glam world of the rich and famous, Carmen has been transformed from a cigarette factory worker to a high-fashion super model. Rivals for her affection are a businessman and a Formula One driver. The ballet will be danced to the rousing “Carmen Suite” by Rodion Shechedrin in the vein of Georges Bizet. Opens MAY 11 at the WANG CENTER.

CARMEN ticket info

102 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 Admit it. Fenway Park, especially Fenway Park under the lights, is a gorgeous sight. Broadway show classic “DAMN YANKEES” takes the audience to our beloved field of dreams where a die-hard Red Sox fan makes a deal with the devil to help the Sox take the pennant from the hated Yankees.

THE NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATER production presented in association with the BOSTON RED SOX opens this week in Beverly.

There’s a memorable score with music by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler that includes “You Gotta Have Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants.” Barry Ivan directs and choreographs. NSMT has won many industry awards from IRNEs to Elliot Nortons and the Rosetta la Noire Award for multi- racial casting from Actors Equity. NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATER website

103 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 The BOSTON DANCE ALLIANCE honors DeAMA BATTLE, founder of ART OF BLACK DANCE and MUSIC at its Benefit Gala. With its Dance Champion Award, BDA singles out Battle for her 30 year commitment to reviving and identifying dances of the African Diaspora. Dance anthropologist Battle is Boston’s Katherine Dunham.

For more info about the Thursday, MAY 18 celebration at The Sanctuary Theatre in Cambridge, you can phone617-456-6295. BDA BENEFIT GALA ticket info

99 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 Popping. Locking. Break dancing. “The Freak” to “The Whop.” It’s back to the 70′s and 80′s for OrigiNation’s annual spring concert.

Artistic Director YANDJI SHAUMBA DIBINGA says that while the concerts are entertainment, they also let the students’ guardians and families (and the students themselves!) see what they’ve learned during the time they spend at OrigiNation. “It’s a huge self confidence boost!” she says.

“ORIGINATION SALUTES THE 70′s and 80′s” comes along on Saturday, MAY 20 at 7:30 at the Back Bay Events Center (formerly known as John Hancock Hall), 180 Berkeley St., Boston. For more info call 617-541-1875. ORIGINATIONS website

41 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc. & ROOTZ TO RHYTHM tv thank all who attended our Special Event, The Official dvd & cd RELEASE PARTY of the film ONE LOVE, in March at RCC where we had the co-star of the movie, CHERINE ANDERSON as our special guest, along with Boston’s talented reggae performers: IGINA, D!ARRYVAL and ANDREW G.

Here are some comments from those who attended the screening: “…Thank you for opening that movie to the Boston community. It was REALLY good! Hopefully, more quality movies like that will come out of Jamaica and marketed abroad…” “Fantastic. I loved it.”

“…a complete experience to come to a public setting and see a Black love story that ends on a positive note with such talented young people…” “…Better than The Harder They Come…”

“It was really an immense pleasure to attend the ONE LOVE event. I enjoyed watching a bunch of our young, Black people show-casing their talents. Also, I enjoyed the movie, including the young woman from Jamaica who played the lead role…She was wonderful…” “…Proud to be a Jamaican tonight.”

The Official ONE LOVE dvd and cd are the first of many quality, independent films and products available to you, through TCOF. Hopefully, these remarks will move you to support this independent film by ordering your own Official ONE LOVE dvd for $20 and Official soundtrack for $16 by emailing an order to robin@coloroffilm.com. As the only distributor to donate proceeds from sales of the Official ONE LOVE product to The Jamaica Hurricane Relief efforts, we ask you to take up this cause with us, leave the bootleg copy at the barber shop and get an OFFICIAL copy for your home library, from The Color of Film.

16 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 THE COLOR OF FILM joins the First Weekend Club ©, sponsored by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) to promote the idea to Boston movie goers, the importance of going out to see a movie on the first weekend of its release, which is the crucial Hollywood moment. Club members pledge to support movies on the first weekend of release, and encourage other filmgoers to do the same. The Club is designed to financially advocate approval of African American themed films, in addition to those that portray people of color in a more diverse, three-dimensional way. The importance of BHERC is seen in its national appeal. Since its inception, club membership has increased to more than 37,000 filmgoers, with chapters in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Sacramento, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C. and now, Boston, with the efforts of The Color of Film.

To join the TCOF/First Weekend Club, email your name and phone number to robin@coloroffilm.com with First Weekend Club in the subject line.

104 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 CLOUD PLACE/YOUTH FUSION presents a night of spoken word by Boston teens, curated by Hannah Adams Taniya Delva, Rhea Kroutil, Sofia Snow, Dana Ruff, Adrian Peters and Jesse Winfrey, with special guest from Vancouver, British Columbia, C.R. Avery. All ages are welcome, Saturday, APRIL 29, 5-7pm, at Cloud Place, 647 Boylston Street. For info call 617-262-2949, or click here

The DAVIS MUSEUM at Wellesley College presents AN AFRO-FUTURISM FESTIVAL: “FROM THE MOTHERSHIP TO THE MOTHERLAND: THE SECOND GENERATION”, APRIL 26-30. The Festival will explore futurist themes in African American culture, with technological innovation changing the face of African American art and culture. Films include Zeze Gamboa’s “The Hero” (Angola), Winner of Sundance’s 2005 World Cinema Dramatic Jury Prize Competition; and on Thursday, APRIL 27 at 9:30pm there’s “Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth” – a documentary about Boston-based, Parliament Funkadelic’s keyboard synthesizer genius, BERNIE WORRELL, plus other films from South Africa, Ghana, Angola, Chad, Guinea and France.
FAMILY DAY on Saturday, APRIL 29 features a hands-on African instruments workshop with Zimbabwean Albert Chimedza and a screening of the film “Kirikou and the Sorceress.” ALL EVENTS ARE FREE. For program info click here.

The American Studies department of WHEELOCK COLLEGE is host to the day-long “MEDIA AND VISUAL CULTURE: READING THE BLACK MALE BODY” media conference on Friday, APRIL 28. The keynote speaker is Professor Herman Gray, author of Culture Moves: African Americans and the Politics of Representation. Other speakers include Mark Anthony Neal, Imani Perry, Keith Harris, Joyce Hope Scott, Gail Dines and Susan McDonald. The afternoon will feature a showing of Byron Hurt’s new documentary on hip-hop, Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip Hop Culture. The film was recently showcased at the Sundance Film Festival and will be shown on PBS later this year. After the viewing, Byron Hurt will lead a discussion. For registration info call Nancy Hutchins at 617-879-2177.

The annual Boston-area STAGESOURCE auditions will be held June 19, 20, 26 and 27, and the registration deadline is APRIL 28. Over 50 theatre companies, casting directors, and film producers from Boston and the surrounding New England area are expected to attend this event to see over 400 auditioning actors and singers in four days. If interested in learning more about the Annual Auditions call 617-720-6066, or click here for membership info and audition applications.

The YOUNG PROFESSIONAL NETWORK’s (YPN) first annual TEEN PROFESSIONAL SUMMIT is Saturday, APRIL 29, 8am on Northeastern University’s campus, consisting of various professional development workshops FREE and open to all high school students in the Boston area. While some conferences offer direction on college and others offer direction on careers, this summit will focus on the “in between”. Workshops include “Networking for the High School Student”, “Best Interviewing Practices”, and more! Breakfast and lunch are included, however space is limited and students MUST pre-register. For more info call 617- 593-9319 or email Nancy at: ypn@ulem.org

JP School of Dance and BalletRox has a new home! Families are invited to the GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION of THE TONY WILLIAMS DANCE CENTER on Sunday APRIL 30, 2- 6pm. The new facility is at The Brewery in Jamaica Plain, 284 Amory Street. For info call Tony at 617-524-4381 or click here.

INSIDE::OUT – WEAVING ARTS INTO THE URBAN FABRIC is a design competition for the public spaces at the BOSTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS. Seeking exciting ideas from the entire design community to help transform the urban campus of the Boston Center for the Arts. ::Ideas::Phase 1 is open to all, registration deadlilne is May 9. Professionals, students, artists and community members are invited to share their ideas and apply. Click here for more info.

63 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #14 A $1000 cash prize and a staged reading of your play await the winner. AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE (A.R.T.) in Cambridge announced a new playwriting contest “DISCOVERING JUSTICE THROUGH A.R.T.,” which the Harvard Square based theater says it intends to make an annual event. The contest is co-sponsored by DISCOVERING JUSTICE, a group interested in civic education.

Here are the rules: The winning entry will be an historical, educational theater piece suitable for students in grades 8 – 12, with interest for adult audiences as well. The one-act play will be at least 45 minutes in length, but no longer than one hour, and will be able to be performed by no more than 5 actors.

You must chose between two topics for your script: 1) The 1781 case of slave Elizabeth Freeman, known as Mum Bett (pictured above) and the 1783 case of Quock Walker and their significance in eventually abolishing slavery in Massachusetts; or 2) Shay’s Rebellion which was against unsettled economic conditions and against politicians and laws which were grossly unfair to farmers and working people in general.

Should the winning play win lots of applause, then a fully staged version will be produced at the Zero Arrow Theatre and then go into residence in the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse or the John Adams Courthouse (home of the Massachusetts Supreme Court), both in Boston. The play will become a part of a program to connect students with their nation’s legal history. Deadline for submission is Sept. 1, 2006. DISCOVERING JUSTICE website for details

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