November 11-17, 2004

artpicks

35 and Counting

dance

It’s Philadanco’s birthday bash starting tonight at the Kimmel Center, four straight days of performances celebrating 35 years as a groundbreaking, risk-taking contemporary dance troupe. Artistic Director Joan Myers Brown likes her “audience to be surprised,” so she’s mixed brand-new choreography with old favorites. Longtime resident choreographer Milton Myers (no relation to Joan) created a new ballet for the occasion called Of Kinship and Exoticism with an original score by John Levis. ‘Danco dancers have a special relationship with their on-site dance-maker, and it always shows in the joy they bring to his work.

Conscious of her “commitment to keep alive historical African-American choreography,” Brown has included “Sigh on the Rock” by Dianne McIntyre, a dancer, choreographer and director not unlike Brown, who blazed trails for African-American dancers with her own dance troupe, Sounds in Motion.

The program fills out with Donald Byrd’s “BAMM,” a repertory revival being reconstructed by the great jazz choreographer himself, and Christopher L. Huggins’ electrifying lift-you-out-of-your-seat “Enemy Behind the Gates.”

“As always, there are challenges for the dancers as well as the audience,” Myers says with admirable understatement. Demand has been so great, an extra performance was added to the run. Uncork the champagne.

Philadanco, Thu.-Fri., Nov. 11-12, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Nov. 13, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sun., Nov. 14, 2:30 p.m., $32-$45, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999.


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