Skip to main content

Blacks in Dance

I sit here in the last row of a conference room at the Convention Center of Dayton, OHIO listening to
wise words being poured out by the Founders of International Association of Blacks in Dance. The organization is celebrating it's 31st year in existence celebrating the culture and aesthetic of Black Culture through Dance.

Garth Fagan, The Lion King Broadway Musical Director + Chorographer
I think back on the sweet smelling scent of this Quick stepping older gentleman who comes walking up the stairway through the audience during last night's opening performances. It all made sense when I discovered it was Mr. Garth Fagan ~ the founder and choreographer of the Lion King on Broadway. The dancers that greeted us at the reception in a Creole style retunde banquet hall where a live band played the sounds of R&B favorites, we beaming from their performance. A series of duets and solos mostly that told a story of discovery, struggle, identity, and love.




It's early morning now for the dancers who were up late last night squealing over the excitement of simply being here at the festival. Some of the most influential figures are together in an intimate space to offer these dancers mentorship that amounts to (3) three months of training within just a few hours. I marvel at the Elders in this experience. How long and how much they've given to build up what we know today as a dance. So much. They've essentially made Dance their lives, given value, depth and girth to the study this art form. I stopped Ms. Brenda Dixon Gottschild a Dance Historian and Author who has dedicated her development of the dance to Academia and Published Works on the Black Experience. She was grabbing her breakfast and just commenting on the need to move her body just as much as any one of us here  although she is a speaker and visionary. Her writings have inspired me to ask questions about  my dancing and the culture thereof, how it relates to our human experience and both in past and present history. I marvel at her generous smile as she talks about her children--her daughter, singer, songwriter and recording Artist Amel Laurriuex.

I was pleased in my class today to introduce new comers to GYROKINESIS particularly to dancers, who understand movement already. I was able to share and show them the nuances of this technique that could be applied to their dancing and to their dance day. The naturally alkalized water with mint leaves I had this morning in the Courtyard Marriott Lobby set me on my way for cleansing and clarifying energy needed most to guide the moving dancing bodies in space. Even more rewarding the next teacher to follow in the classroom who also understands that there is power in the use of Energy of which he introduced to multiple levels and ages of dancers. Renown, Internationally acclaimed Ballet Bad Boy Dancer Rasta Thomas. 

The dancers attending the conference continue to show promise, potential and passion for the art form with their focus and attention in class and their outstanding performances onstage. Both of the youth/young dancers and collegiate students showcased their work with pieces ranging from heartfelt stories of love, politics and community culture. The evening ended with trending music and dancing in the upper SkyWalk lobby area--a "Social" of which I misinterpreted to be a collective event where we'd be learning social dances like with Camille Brown comes to mind as she makes it her initiative to share and teach the dances of the people with and to the people bridging international gaps. It turns out that it was a just a good time, good music and a DJ playing hip, R&B sounds of urban sounds of everywhere from Dayton.


Kim Bears (Left), Myself, Maime Johnson (Right)
I had the honor and privilege of sitting in on a major panel discussion the following day which consisted o the official Committee Members of the IABD Leaders, Advocates, Board Members and Artists. Everyone from founding Company Directors, to the team of persons who help develop and grow this community over the years. I sit in as what is known to be the NEXT GEN *Generation* Leaders and listen to the voices and powers that be to cultivate ideas to preserve, progressive and improve the festival/conference for years to come. Faces young and old were there to contribute, unifying these efforts as the multi-generational existence that it is. We left the room overflowing with zeal and excitement to share in the faith of real promise and hope for the future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, Work, Get Your LIFE. Street/Dance Workshop Jacob's Pillow 2020 NYC

My Life at the Pillow..." ~by JR Glover Today was a Pillow Day. As an Alumni, I traveled North to help facilitate and support the Recruitment Tour amidst other beautiful dancing bodies. It's amazing to see how we have all grown through the years as Dancers, Creatives, Choreographers, Directors and lifelong students. Even more, it's inspiring to know that we are all keeping at it--pursuing Excellence and honing our craft day by day. What was meant to be a standby experience turned out to be a Full Dance Day for me. I give thanks to my peers who encouraged me to dance. It was a risk--knowing that I had not danced or taken a technique class proper in several months. However, due to the nature of GYROKINESIS as an instructor, I never lost body awareness, posture, alignment etc. So it was just a matter of tipping over the edge again to see where my body goes....and catching it again. It was a necessary challenge in fact, with the chronic pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia and C

Day #3 L'Acado Dance Workshop - A Traveling Black Woman

No Yoga for me this Morning. Instead, I was eagerly anticipating L'Antoinette Stiles company class and workshop featuring her specialized technique: L'anTech being held at the National Performing Arts Building as part of the University of Trinidad & Tabago. I first encountered this woman as gazed at a piece of fruit to eat one early morning in Dayton, Ohio at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Association Annual Conference in Festival 2019. Typical gypsy scenario, coming from long travels in need of nourishment after thing is all said and done. She bit into an apple that rested on a table beside me, she picked it up--looked at me it that was the beginning of my admiration for a such a this deeply rich cultured person. Company Dancers showing their special finger grip Her company brought Kingston to the stage for in the U.S. with only a taste of Caribbean culture through Katherine Dunham, deemed the mother of Modern dance who brought the classic style a

The Streets of the Caribbean, A Traveling Black Woman

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” -  Ibn Battuta . Trinidad & Tobago really out did themselves with the Design and Set-up of Carifesta XIVp particularly at the Grand Stand in Queens Park. Whether you were entering through the side gates as personnel and staff or to meander through the welcome gate...there was a scenic route and display of color and culture all around. When you first enter in, you are greeted by mock flight attendants in side of the cabin of a plane, upon exiting the archway is there for picture taking with avenue signs name after the representing countries and islands. There is a vintage cobblestone Victorian town accompanied by colorful Cuban style houses with movie scene revolving lights--really making for the fun and magic of this reunion. There was much to see, do, taste and experience. The marketplace carried dishes from Haiti, Guyana, Guadelope and more, taking locals on a sensory trip off shores and pulling