Acclaimed Dance Series
Accepting Applications until Friday, August 2nd
Click here to find out more -
Germaul Barnes - EMoves 14
EMOVES - Harlem Stage's
Acclaimed Dance Series
Accepting Applications until Friday, August 2nd
Click here to find out more -
Celebrating their 20th Anniversary Season
A Contemporary Ballet / Modern Dance Company
Based in Central Florida
Seeking Male Dancers for 2013/14 season Beginning Late August Ages 18 & up with strong ballet & modern technique
Send Videos & Resumes to:
Florida Dance Theatre, PO Box 831 Lakeland, FL 33802
For more information, call (863) 802-0399
or email email@example.com
Ayodele Casel is one of my favorite hoofers of all times. Lucky for us she is one of the five that are part of Savion Glover’s STePz currently at The Joyce until July 6. The other talented tap dancers are Marshall Davis Jr., Robyn Watson and Sarah Savelli. Ayodele was kind enough to answer some questions about her time with Glover as a young dancer and now in the current show. (Please see her bio at the end).
Charmaine Warren (CW): How long have you been working with Savion?
Ayodele Casel (AC): Savion and I first started working together in 1997 when he created N.Y.O.T.s (Not your ordinary tappers). As a group we toured the country and the world for 3 years consecutively. It was one of the best times of my life. I was so young, and young in the dance as well. I loved that time period because I learned so much. Everything was exciting and inspiring. I was learning at every moment from the absolute best people in this art form. Savion, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, my peers, Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, to name a few. It was a magical time. Really.
CW: Do you remember when you first met Savion? What was that encounter like?
AC: Baakari Wilder, a beautiful dancer from Maryland who was attending NYU at the same time I was, introduced me to Savion. Baakari had been mentoring me for about a year and he was so generous from the start. His love of the art form cemented my interest, love, and respect for Tap dancing as an art and it changed how I viewed putting my tap shoes on from the very first moment I saw him shuffle at Fazil's studio on 8th avenue. I remember him telling me he was working on a show with Savion for The Public Theater and I said: "Does it have tap dancing in it?!" LOL. I was so naive. I hadn't seen anything in recent times that included Tap dancing the way I was learning it. He said " Yes, definitely". Needless to say when I saw "Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk" at The Public, my life changed forever. That show was brilliant, on so many levels. It spurred a movement, in my opinion. I was introduced to Savion outside of the Ambassador Theater one afternoon once the show transferred to Broadway. I remember Baakari was looking forward to Savion meeting me. It felt like he was a proud teacher. It was a very casual encounter but by this time I had been coming to see the show almost every day and I was soaking up all of the information being poured out nightly. I had developed somewhat of a reputation for knowing the choreography without being in the show—I was so obsessed with it. At the time, Savion used to do these concerts at Nuyorican Poets Cafe and at the end of the show he'd open up the floor to the dancers in the audience. One night I was itching to express myself and I took the floor and I think it was that particular evening his interest was piqued. I remember he asked me to prepare a 4-bar phrase for him to see in the near future. I didn't know where he was going with it but I was so excited and so nervous to do something good. Ironically, to this day, he has never asked me for that 4-bar phrase lol!! But our first encounter was very casual, he was very genuine and I was thrilled to meet this electrifying and magnetic dancer who was clearly anointed with something divine.
Savion Glover is back at The Joyce with yet another one of his knock out iterations of tap dance. For this season’s show, called STePz, Glover is joined by Marshall Davis Jr. & 3CW (3 Controversial Women), Robyn Watson, Ayodele Casel and Sarah Savelli. This cast is a force to be reckoned with because they fill the stage with true tap dance—thank goodness for that. First of all, it must be noted that it is wonderful to see a tap performance on a well-equipped stage—there was a tap floor lifted off the stage! This, as tap dancers often intone, makes a huge difference. For the first half, the program lists some funky titles including “Mission Impossible” where Marshall and Glover, magically revealed two sets of stairs that flanked the tap floor which was center stage, and with their fake guns and warm smiles began a friendly battle of opposing stairs. The thump, thump of the “Mission Impossible” score was a lively match for their bullet-speed feet. True to Glover’s penchant for adding something more, in the other works, the mood continually shifts and so too does the sound of the taps. For instance, in “Flamenco Sketches” there is a lilting ease, in “Bugle Call Rag” we go back in time, in “Melody’Sizn” Glover and Marshall snap their fingers and playfully sings ‘Rhythm is my business,’ in “Gregory Mode” there is no mistaken the sounds of Gregory Hines, in “Stevie Delicious” to Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Can Feel It All Over,’ each of these technicians careen through step after step with joy. Glover has two memorable solos, one at end the first half and the other “Bojangles” that close the show. Both are different, both pull you in to hear his very controlled and breath-taking command of the taps. He leans way in when he delivers each sound, his body reverberates when it hits, and we always gasp when it reaches us. Glover is a master at what he does and this cast is a fine blend of tap artists. Don’t miss this standout show.
Savion Glover’s STePz runs June 18 – July 6. For more information visit www.joyce.org
BENOIT-SWAN POUFFER –
FORMER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF CEDAR LAKE CONTEMPORARY BALLET – to CHOREOGRAPH NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
SOUL DOCTOR… the life and music of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and his unlikely friendship with Nina Simone
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17-
OPENING NIGHT- THURSDAY, AUGUST 15
at CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE THEATRE - 1633 Broadway
For more information visit www.SoulDoctorBroadway.com.
"Coming Together/Attica" Photo: Paula Lobo
In choreographic notes for Rebecca Lazier’s Coming Together/Attica Lazier speaks of connections to the famous prison of the same name—Attica, and the 1971 prison riots in upstate New York. Coming Together/Attica was presented at the malleable Brooklyn space, The Invisible Dog Art Center and was based on a letter by Sam Melville, a leader of the uprising. The third floor of The Invisible Dog is broken into three performance areas: chairs for the audience surround the first space (a padded floor for the dancers); the dancers spread across two long benches atop a table and the audience goes wherever they can see, for the second; and an open space is the final area. Set off to one corner is a full band and vocalist who fill the space with a sound score composed by Frederic Rzewski in response to the riots. David T. Little of Newspeak was the conductor and Mellissa Hughes was the vocal
soloist. There were two performances each evening. In what seemed and equal objective in sharping the
experience, the audience is choreographed, and we move from area to area: First, seated around the padded floor, we are very close to the dancers when they tangle and untangle through a series of structured improvisations; for the second, we stand, lean or sit as voyeurs keenly observing the dancers seated on benches move from gesture to gesture in silence; and for the third we change to our own benches to watch the dancers in all white, traverse the space with sequence after sequence that show their skill in the dance. Without doubt, the stars of the evening were the dancers, Rashaun Mitchell, Silas Riener, Asli Bulbul, Jennifer Lafferty, Pierre Guilbault and Christopher Ralph who are exquisite dancers no matter the context.
THE HOOFERZCLUB PRESENTS - SAVION GLOVER’S STEPZ
June 18 - July 6 at The Joyce
This season Savion Glover’s STePz - will "... fuse traditional music selections of the past with his self-proclaimed tap style and energy of the future."
See the YouTube clip below and visit www.joyce.org.
Brown's Four Corners. Photo Paul Kolnik
Back at Lincoln Center after more than a decade, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) returns with soul. Opening night’s program was the world premiere of Ronald K. Brown’s Four Corners set to music by Carl Hancock Rux, Yacub and various artists, based on the “…vision of four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds.” With such a magnanimous claim, it was fitting then then that to the sound of Rux’s guttural pleadings – “Lamentation…lamentation…” that Matthew Rushing would be the first body to initiate Brown’s cry of “…tribulation, devotion and triumph.” Pouring and pointing, Al Crawford’s soft lights gently nudge Rushing out from a far corner at the top of the stage—he ripples, folds, unfolds, releases, conjures and clears a path for the others (Linda Celeste Sims, Belen Pereyra, Glenn Allen Sims, Kirven James Boyd, Michael Francis McBride, Daniel Harder, Hope Boykin, Demetia Hopkins, Jacqueline Green and Fana Tesfagiorgis). When all are on, they embody the Brown esthetic and delivers with Ailey style. As African kings and queens they invite us to see their dance, but through the lens of Brown’s angels as they “cross.” Omotayo Wunmi Olaiya’s contemporary Afrocentric costumes are stunning. It is so pleasing to see the women in a gele (African head wrap). Most satisfying was the crossing from one corner to the next, across the front, then straight forward. Here, Brown’s signature vocabulary which blends West African, House and contemporary movement is repeatedly and punctuated by a Congolese step (shifting from the ball of one foot while the other is flat), or a sharp point of the finger, beginning from the shoulder through the elbow and directed to their opposite corner. The unison is awesome, the feel of a ceremony is confirmed and the dancing is flawless. Four Corners is Brown renewed! Stand out performances was given by Pereya who in a solo that was too short, is mesmerizing as she skillfully danced
ever so introspectively. Kudos must also go to Harder and McBride. This is how Brown’s work should be delivered!
The energy of opening night fed the performance of Jiri Kylian's Petit Mort (1991) a work that requires detail. Ok, the unison was a bit off in the beginning, but stunning dancing followed - the men with their swords as partner, the women with strapless gowns that move on wheels, and tender duets boasting the intricacy that a Kylian work demands. Ailey’s classic Revelations (1960) closed the evening, as only it could—energy high and audience on their feet. Alternating programs include Garth Fagan’s From Before (1978), Battle’s Takademe (1999), Brown’s Grace (1999) and Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16 (1999).
Ailey at Lincoln Center runs – 6/12 – 6/16 – www.alvinailey.org
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Kean University, Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."