What could be more exciting than celebrating James Brown, the godfather of soul through dance? Being a part of the celebration! The Apollo made the celebration happen in James Brown: Get On The Good Foot, A Celebration In Dance (October 22 - 26). Brown's good friend Reverend Al Sharpton opened the evening confirming that, "ﾅtonight you will leave here getting on the good foot." The evening was conceived by choreographer/artistic director, and PHILADANCO, the Philadelphia Dance Company, danced new works by Camille Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Souleymane Badolo, Thang Dao, and Abdel Salaam. Tap dancer, Derick K. Grant, Katak dancer, Aakash Odedra and b-girl Ephrat Asherie choreographed and presented their own works. Asherie's It's A Man's World was co-choreographed with Jennifer Weber and Sallid. The excitement was electrifying and there was no doubt that the music would be good all night long-it was! In most of the dances there was the requisite donning of Brown's cape, period characters (afro-wearing, clear-heel tipping, attitude-peddling men and women and a pimp), seminal dances (boogaloo, mash potato, funky chicken and of course The James Brown), and a whole lot of funk. At the top of the show, Grant was on fire in Superbad by Grant and Sallid, Asherie's fabulous blending of breaking and contemporary dance in It's A Man's World was just enough, and though Odedra was clearly the standout choreographer and performer of the evening, in his self-choreographed Ecstasy, his presence on this program is curious. The evening proved that on stage, in the studios and on the streets, it is simply hard for dancers not to politely appropriate James Brown's style. Kudos to Mikki Shepard and the folks at The Apollo for bringing the dance and music of James Brown back to us, the screams, singing and clapping to the music from audience members says it all ﾅ"yeah," "go ahead," or the guttural "uh-uh."
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member at The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University 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."