CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Azlan [ Thu May 01, 2003 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

Thanks for the impressions, mrsM. What do you think makes this company different from others? Are there are other companies that might be similar?

Author:  mrsM [ Fri May 02, 2003 6:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

i don't know what it is - they are just so EXHUBERANT - each dancer seemed to be giving every ounce of energy and their technique was impeccable

Author:  Andre Yew [ Mon May 05, 2003 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

Philadanco struts its spunk
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

Midway through the dance "Hand Singing Song," the female narrator said: "It's always interesting to see what the artist does with what the people have created."

If only that were so! Still, in the case of "Hand" choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, whose voice we heard, what the artist has done was not only interesting but downright fabulous; she knows whereof she speaks. Zollar's piece of cultural artistry was the best of the four dances offered up by Philadanco (aka the Philadelphia Dance Company). The Barclay presented the group for the first time this weekend.

Author:  Azlan [ Thu May 08, 2003 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

In the Philadelphia Daily News:


Tom Di Nardo

PHILADANCO IS one of Philly's treasures, performing in its 33rd year. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  Azlan [ Sat May 10, 2003 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

Philadanco set delivers like a shot of good bubbly

By Merilyn Jackson
For The Philadelphia Inquirer

At the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Philadanco went up to the mountain and brought down a dream of a dance concert. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 28, 2003 9:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco


Perelman Theater

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


November 20 – 22

Reviewed by Lewis Whittington

Philadanco returned to the Kimmel Center for the Performance Arts after extensive touring, to their home, the Perelman Theater. For the occasion, company founder and Artistic director Joan Myers Brown assembled a stunning company showcase. The accent was on the male corps, with the entire second act performed by the men under the title ‘We too dance’. The finale of which was an electrifying performance of ‘Blue, choreographed by Christopher Huggins just for this concert.

But, ladies first, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s “The Walkin’Talkin, Signifying Blues Hips, Sacred Hips, Lowdown Throwdown” a repertory favorite, was equally magnificent. Zollar’s trilogy, inspired by the graceful saunters of Jamaican women, of course, had much more than just walking. In fact it had everything from quicksilver Afro-Caribbean skips to the most salacious pelvic grinds. Zollar wryly constructs a joyous essay of female allure and essentially constructs a feminist manifesto. It left both the straight and gay men in the audience panting and the women of all persuasions cheering.

The opening solo ‘Batty Moves’ slang for ‘Body Moves’ a comment passed by a male admirer in Jamaica, danced with cool fire (and some stiff transitions) by Dawn Marie Watson (alternating with Hollie E. Wright), stating the alluring themes. Then, ‘Soon Come’ an adagio really, brings four women moving across the stage diagonally in a sultry snake line each oscillating their bodies in their own individualistic way. Then the ensemble section ‘Up in Here’ a saucy chorus line that time travels in poly-rhythms- from Afro-Caribbean lore to ‘in the house’ club girl attitude.

Just as things reach a fevered pitch, Joan Myers Brown saunters onstage, dressed in a drop-dead black cocktail dress, for a smoldering runway walk, showing the other girls a thing or two. As fun as Zollar’s hip-happy ballet is, it is also a dramatic body testament that documents the power of female form in motion.

The concert opened with one of the troupe’s great works ‘Elegy,’ which on this night was dedicated to visionary city developer Willard Rouse, whose philanthropy was key in bringing a new era to the performing arts and facilities evident on the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia.

‘Elegy,’ scored to the somber music of Ralph Vaughn Williams and dramatic choreography by Gene Hill Sagan has the curtain rise on the backdrop of a galaxy of pinpoint lights framing a gorgeous trio. And the company executed Sagan’s unhurried configurations with ensemble amplitude and crisp sculptural phrasing unfolded with noble grace. As Williams strings surge the dancers move in sweeping circles each throwing a downstage jetes and forming an end frieze suggesting crucifixion.

Next is ‘Sweet in the Mornin’ a solo choreographed by Leni Wylliams, to Bobby McFerrin’s song of the same title. Frequent Philadanco MVT Antonio Sisk (alternating with quest Zane Booker) commanded in Wylliams’ moving portrait of a liberated spirit in an oppressive society. Another short work, ‘Forgiveness’ by Roger C. Jeffrey’s to music by Gil Scott Heron, cast Christopher L. Huggins as a prisoner. His duet with a Bernard Gaddis as the ‘Ghost of Brother Past’ expressed anger, guilt and redemption.

‘Back to Bach’ was revised by Joan Myers Brown as a classic worthy of revival, but from its opening persistent string the male corps was taut, even tentative. Eleo Pomare’s choreography was also at the mercy of a ragged recording of the Bach, bad enough and made worse by speed distortions. The men looked strained, dressed in bone-white jumpsuits with torso cutouts, trying to hit their marks chasing Bach around the stage. Not helping at all was a distorted recording of the music. The opening sextet was crowded and uncontrolled, though the men were more focused in the trios and quartets that followed.

The male corps completely redeemed themselves with Christopher Huggins’ transcendent choreography in ‘Blue, ’ so named as the color identifying males, a moving exploration into male physicality and psyche. Maybe the guys were saving themselves for the demands, skills and sweeping depth of this piece.

The backdrop of clouds introduces the cast, dressed in long silky blue tunics, in formations scored to music by Avro Part and ambient composers, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Philadelphian Steve Reich’s music. Huggins move his dancers in crisp, lyrical patterns that give way to unadorned physicality, with razor-sharp turns, and sudden drops, as the meditative moves to more aggressive, even angry themes of the male psyche.

At one point the dancers are suddenly silhouetted against blue light and later the tranquility is lacerated with shafts of white lights as the men break away to separate solos, full of driven and glorious dance.

Author:  corrival [ Mon May 17, 2004 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

Washington Post
Monday, May 17, 2004; Page C05
Lisa Traiger

The members of Philadanco don't just dance, they attack -- tearing across the stage, snapping their bodies to attention, jutting their chins, sucking in their guts in a convulsion of contractions and spearing their legs like soldiers thrusting bayonets. There's absolutely nothing this troupe of 15 does with less than full-throttle conviction and virtuosic force. Saturday at the Publick Playhouse, the Philadelphia-based company founded 34 years ago by Joan Myers Brown demonstrated once again that tricks and high kicks, stop-on-a-dime spins and fearsome flying leaps are enough to break the applause sound barrier.

Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:36 am ]
Post subject: 

Everything Is Everything (Then There's Mother and the Birds)
by CLAUDIA LA ROCCO for the New York Times

Fantastical creatures in animalistic headdresses populated Mr. Holder's glitzy, lurid production, which melded stories of the earth's creation, Cain and Abel, and the fall from paradise; there was also a cameo by Lilith, Adam's first wife, according to some myths. After a good deal of sex in the garden, Ahmad M. Lemons wound onto the stage, a snake in shimmery silver and an anklet rattler. Eve didn't take much persuading, and more aggressive coupling ensued, followed by the inevitable apple.

published: September 22, 2005

Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:43 am ]
Post subject: 

Soul Dancing
When virtuosity serves spirituality, heavenly athletes break all records
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice

... in commissioning repertory, director Joan Myers Brown keeps the spiritual in mind too.

In Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Between Earth and Home, ... Are these demanding guardians who prepare a wayward soul for heaven? It's not quite clear.

published: October 4, 2005

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:43 pm ]
Post subject: 

This afternoon at the Joyce in NYC was my first time seeing Philadanco, so excuse my exclaiming that these are some of the best modern dancers I have seen on stage -- these are not only gifted dancers but also very strong and powerful.

However, I felt the dancers' talents were wasted by the uninventive choreography in the first half of the program, especially in Ron K Brown's "For Truth." I can't be the only one who thinks that Brown has choreographed the same black/street/African piece a hundred times.

Thankfully, Daniel Ezralow came to the rescue after the intermission with his original "Pulse," which combined well with music by David Lang and lighting design by Howell Binkley to produce appealing choreography.

Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:55 am ]
Post subject: 

From Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe:
Philadanco captures the city's pulse
One of the most distinctive and dynamic choreographers to come out of Philadelphia is hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris, and other than his own troupe, who better to step to his lively urban beat than Philadanco, one of the city's cultural treasures for the past 38 years. Under the direction of founder Joan Myers Brown, this company has talent, chutzpah, and energy to burn.

Author:  ncgnet [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:55 am ]
Post subject: 

From Marcia Siegel in the Boston Phoenix:
Dynamos - Philadanco at the ICA
The four pieces on the program that Philadanco brought for its Boston debut last weekend ... were all-dance numbers showcasing a troupe of highly polished, supercharged dancers. Except for one sextet of women, each work marshaled 10 or more members of the company's 16-person roster. Despite the jam-packed choreography and the unremittingly high-performance intensities, by the end of the evening they looked even more revved up than they'd been at the start.


Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Philadanco

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ellen Dunkel reviews the Friday, April 20, 2012 performance at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Inquirer

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