Entertainment » Theatre

Philadanco’s "New Faces" mixes old and new faces

by Lewis Whittington
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Apr 30, 2009

Philadanco's artistic director Joan Myers Brown has always been supportive of dancers she has trained and who moved onto other companies. They know they always can come home again.

Two company alums are back for "Philadanco New Faces" showcase of four choreographers at the Kimmel Center: dancer-choreographer Hope Boykin, who is now with Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and Zane Booker, who has danced and created works for many companies around the world.

Booker is also currently artistic director of The Smoke, Lilies And Jade Arts Initiative (SLJ). SLJ is a multi-arts collective that addresses "a void in the world of performing arts, of work that directly educates, entertains and explores the experiences of the African-American LGBT community," Booker writes.

Two choreographers are collaborating with Philadanco for the first time. Camille A. Brown, the first woman to receive the prestigious Princess Grace Award for Choreography and Tony Powell, a Washington DC-based dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and visual artist.

Brown, dubbed a "force of nature" by the New York Times, danced for Ronald Brown's company Evidence, and is fielding many commissions.

"I've known about Philadanco since I was a young dancer. They were one of the companies that stood out to me. I thought they were so strong and amazing. Then at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference, that is where I met Joan and we started to connect. And I wanted to work with them and she has given me the opportunity to do this," A. Brown said in a phone interview this week.

She has choreographed a piece for seven women called "Those Who See Light" with themes of universal spirituality. "It is about being called by whatever light is in your life. I love working with the women of Philadanco. Their bodies just scream power. And they have such a wonderful reputation that it makes you as a choreographer just want to step up and challenge yourself. They just explode onto the space. Not only the artistic strength is very inspiring," Brown said.

Philadanco New Faces @ the Perelman Theater, April 29- May 3. Tickets $34-$46. www.kimmelcenter.org | 215-893-1999

Lewis Whittington writes about the performing arts and gay politics for several publications.


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