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Ronald K. Brown/Evidence (Rose Eichenbaum)

Masters of African American Choreography

Nearly 20 companies come together for this unprecedented five-program festival that explores the contributions of African American choreographers to modern dance.

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The soul-stirring artistry of Alvin Ailey. The graceful beauty of Katherine Dunham. The lush stylization of Geoffrey Holder. The experimental mastery of Bill T. Jones.

Experience the diversity and power of black dance as never before when the Kennedy Center presents this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of African American dance pioneers. For one week only, African American choreographers’ contributions to the world of modern dance come alive in five exhilarating programs shared by many of the world’s finest companies.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE:
(Programs and artists subject to change)
All five programs will feature introductions by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison and Alvin Ailey’s former dance partner Carmen DeLavallade.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20 AT 8 P.M.
African American Dance Ensemble
Chuck Davis is one of the foremost choreographers of traditional African dance. His company launches the festival with Fanga, a “welcome” dance from Liberia.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company
The Denver-based company offers Katherine Dunham’s masterpiece Choros, based on the Samba and other Brazilian folk dances.
Koffi Kôkô
The performance artist from Benin, Africa, performs Asadata Dafora’s Awassa Astrige, or “Ostrich Dance,” a solo work of spiraling arms and percussive chest.
Urban Bush Women
The Brooklyn-based ensemble presents Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Walking with Pearl, which traces the life of dance pioneer Pearl Primus.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
The multicultural company brings Jones’s abstract new work Mercy 10X8 on a Circle, danced to Beethoven’s 32 Variations on an Original Theme.
Dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem
Arthur Mitchell’s company performs Geoffrey Holder’s Dougla, an exploration of Trinidad people descended from Africans and Indians.

FRIDAY, APRIL 22 AT 8 P.M.
Lula Washington Dance Theatre
The Los Angeles-based ensemble presents Donald McKayle’s Games, a joyful work that tells stories of inner-city schoolchildren through dance, theater, and a cappella singing.
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
The company founded by Jeraldyne Blunden presents Tally Beatty’s Mourners Bench. The movements of a single dancer represent the sorrow of a community overcome by racial conflict.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
A solo female dancer performs Cry, one of Alvin Ailey’s best-known works. Originally created for Judith Jamison, the dance depicts the struggles of black women living in America.
Dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem
Inspired by the company’s historic tour to South Africa, Arthur Mitchell, Augustus Van Heerden, and Laveen Naidu choreographed South African Suite featuring music by the Soweto String Quartet.

SATURDAY, APRIL 23 AT 8 P.M.
Garth Fagan Dance
Garth Fagan, a Tony® winner for his choreography in The Lion King, presents his new creation Dancecollageforromie, performed to music by Shostakovich, Villa-Lobos, and “Jelly Roll” Morton.
Tamango Urban Tap
Originally from French Guyana, Tamango has created a revolutionary approach to tap. His company presents Kalfou Danjere, or "Dangerous Crossroad," a work of captivating improvisation and rhythm.
Rennie Harris Puremovement
Mixing Latino and African American influences of hip-hop, Harris gives a tour de force solo performance in Endangered Species, a semi-autobiographical work.
Philadanco
The Philadelphia Dance Company performs George Faison’s Suite Otis, a joyous dance where lovers meet, battle, kiss, and part to the music of Otis Redding.

SUNDAY, APRIL 24 AT 3 P.M.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Founder and Artistic Director Ann Williams’s company presents Christopher Huggins’s new work Night Run, a look at the interaction of social forces and their transformation as night falls and time runs out.
Paradigm
Comprised of three dance luminaries—Gus Solomons Jr., Carmen de Lavallade, and Dudley Williams—the trio demonstrates its ageless talents in Solomon’s poignant and funny Thin Frost.
Dianne McIntyre Ensemble
Acclaimed dance artist McIntyre’s company performs one of her signature works, Invincible Flower, featuring a jazzy, brassy score by longtime collaborator Lester Bowie.
Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
Brooklyn-born Brown’s company presents “Amen” from his new work Come Ye, set to Nina Simone’s song of the same name. The work summons soldiers, warriors, and angels together in a plea for peace.
Philadanco
Imagination and human chemistry inspire Bebe Miller’s My Science, performed to the music of La Voix Bulgare and Led Zeppelin.

MONDAY, APRIL 25 AT 8 P.M.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
For the festival’s final program, the company performs three works from its repertoire: Love Stories, featuring the choreography of Judith Jamison, Robert Battle, and Rennie Harris and the music of Stevie Wonder; Ulysses Dove’s Vespers, inspired by stories of older women in church; and Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece Revelations, a celebration of African American spirituals.

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The Roots of Black Dance Join noted African and African American dance scholars for an insightful lecture on the evolution of African American dance.

All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.

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