Dance Kings of Black Brooklyn

Saturday October 9, 7:30-10pm 
Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts
Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
On Flatbush Ave. btwn DeKalb Ave.& Willoughby St.

A special evening honored an important generation of Brooklyn's Black male dancers and choreographers, who have served their communities and influenced younger dancers, including Obediah Wright, Baba Chuck Davis, Ron Brown, Jamel Gaines, Reggie Wilson, Michael Manswell and Kevin-Shock-a-lock-Porter. They were joined by protoges of their choosing for an evening that included dances by the kings, a panel discussion, including Ella Moore, Niles Ford, and Lee 'Ako' Thompson and a crowning moment.

$15 adults, $12 students & seniors *Join BK Art Lovers & get your ticket free!

Presented by BAC in cooperation with the Kumble Threater for the Performing Arts



Panel Particpants Professor Elendar Barnes has been a member of the Medgar Evers College family for 21 years. Her educational accomplishments include an Associates of Arts degree from Merritt College, a Bachelors of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Masters of Arts degree from Mills College. In addition, she has attended dance schools under the tutelage of several renowned instructors, including Ruth Beckford, Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Thelma Hill, Ann Halprin, Mary Hinkson, Perceival Borde, Rod Rogers, Marian Van Tyal, Lynett Panganiban, and Dr. Opoku. In 1964, Prof. Barnes became a modern folk dance specialist for the Oakland Recreational Department. She was the first dancer hired to teach African dance, and the Katherine Dunham Technique for the public schools in Berkeley, California. In 1968 Prof. Barnes was chosen by Katherine Dunham and Ruth Beckford to be a lecture/teacher of the 'Dunham Technique' for the University of California at Berkeley (U.C Berkeley). In 1972 Prof. Barnes was chosen to be the Chairperson of the Dance Department of Laney College, where she created and developed a dance curriculum concentrating on the African Diaspora. She also designed an Associates Degree in dance for Laney College as well as an African Dance option for a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies at the University of California. As a part of her creative expressions, Prof. Barnes founded two college based dance groups. The first, New Connections Dance Theater of Laney College, in Oakland California in 1980, and more recently. The Medgar Evers College Imani Dance and Drum Ensemble in 2001. In 1973, Elendar Barnes co-founded and directed Dimensions Dance Theater of Oakland California, which recently celebrated its 35th anniversary in November of 2008. In addition, Prof. Barnes worked with Dimensions for ten years as a choreographer, performer and business manager. She has choreographed and performed for SUNRA, Cecil Taylor, Marvin X, Richard Gran, The Four Tops and Imamu Baraka (Leroi Jones). Elendar Barnes has 42 years of experience in Education, with twenty-four being devoted to classroom instruction and curriculum development and sixteen dedicated to management and administration. Prof. Barnes is committed to an artistic, academic, and social environment that reflects her belief in dance, as a measure of society. She believes that dance is a universal language that promotes teamwork, leadership skills, and creative thinking. Prof. Barnes also believes that success is based on strong spiritual foundation, collective work, critical, analytical thinking and progressive actions.

Niles Ford is the founder of the Urban Dance Collective. Ford holds an MFA from New York University?s Tisch Dance Program and a BFA from the University of the Arts. He began his professional dance career in 1977. His 30-plus years in the professional dance world have filled his dance card with such note worthy names as the Boston Ballet, Bill T. Jones, Ron Brown, Gabri Christa's dance on film project Savonetta, Danny Sloane and Company, the Rod Rogers' Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Philadanco, and a recent collaboration with Marlyse Yearby on her piece, Brown Butterfly, a tribute to boxer, Mohammed Ali. In 1998 Ford was granted a residency at Djerassi. And for his outstanding performance in Merian Soto's, Historias, Ford was awarded the prestigious Bessie Award in 1993.

Ella Moore is a dancer and the wife of the legendary, Charles Moore (deceased) and the current director of the Charles Moore Dance Theater. Ella Thompson Moore began her dance training with Erica Thimey and the Wigman Technique in Washington, D.C. While attending Howard University she received a scholarship to the Katherine Dunham School in New York City where she studied dance with Sylvia Fort, Karl Shook, Walter Nicks, and acting and mime with Lee and Paula Strasberg of Actor's Studio. As a member of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, she performed in the U.S., The Far East and Australia. Mrs. Moore reconstructed Asadata Dafora's 'Awassa Astrige' (The Ostrich), made famous by her late husband Charles Moore, for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Theater under the American Dance Festival's Cultural Heritage Program. In 2005, she again reconstructed Awassa Astrige, for The Kennedy Centers 'Masters of African American Choreography'working with the African dancer Choreographer Koffi Koko, and later for Ann Williams Dallas Contemporary Theatre. She has choreographed works for the All-Nations Dance Company, The University of South Carolina Dance Department, The Haggadah for SUNY at Old Westbury and Tintypes for the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. She has also conducted residencies in Ethnic Heritage for the Lawson Arts Council in Lawton, Oklahoma and the Publick Theatre in Hyattsville, MD among others. She has taught at several colleges including SUNY at Old Westbury, Hunter College, Long Island University Bklyn, and C.W. Post Campuses

Abdel Salaam, born in Harlem in 1950, began his artistic training at the age of five with the study of music through piano, xylophone, and glockenspiel. At the age of nine, he began to study classical viola, and by age eleven he was playing the alto saxophone, an interest, which grew out of his love for jazz music. Upon graduation from the High School of Music and Art in 1968, Mr. Salaam was accepted at Lehman College through the S.E.E.K. program. His college years were informed by African American Cultural Nationalism, and a new African centered identity that swept college campuses in the late 1960s and early 70s. He was an integral member of the Lehman Black Student Organization, Kubanbanya, and was one of the two student activists left on campus after its leaders were barred from entry to negotiate what would be the birth of Lehman's Black Studies Department and Curriculum. Mr. Salaam completed his work on 'Katonga: Musical Tales from the Jungle' for Busch Entertainment Corporation at Busch Gardens/Tampa Bay in Florida. The three year project in which he was credited for all choreography and musical staging is now in its sixth year. During its premier season, 'Katonga' received the Entertainment Award for the Best Musical Show in the World within a theme park in 2004. In the fall of 2004. Abdel was commissioned by the Tennessee Performing Arts Center ( T.P.A.C.) and The Nashville Ballet to choreograph an original work on their company which was performed as a part of their Emergence Series in 2004. This work served as the template for the first act of his critically acclaimed full length ballet 'Eclipse: Visions of the Crescent and the Cross', which was performed at T.P.A.C. as the featured dance theatre work during Forces of Natures 2006-2007 touring Season. This was his second full length evening ballet funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts. Mr. Salaam is also currently serving as the Artistic Director of the Apollo Theatre's Annual Kwanzaa Regeneration Night, founded in 1981 by Mr. Salaam and as an artist in residence along with his company at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Harlem.

Lee Aca Thompson, performer, choreographer, dance specialist, costume and fashion designer, is internationally known for his artistic abilities on three continents-Africa, Europe and North America. As a choreographer, teacher/lecture and performer, he has expertise in tap, ballet, and modern, African and Caribbean dance techniques. Since the Nineteen Sixties Mr. Thompson has been devoted to numerous community programs such as morrisania Community Cooperation, Voluntary Creative Workshops, Five Points Cultural Arts Association, and recently implemented a Rite of Passage Program at Garrett A. Morgan Elementary School #132 in The Bronx. Through much research and travel, Thompson has created and developed a dance technique, which he calls the Piragramac Dance Technique, which is designed to prepare the dance body for all forms of dance. This technique combines traditional African, South American, Caribbean dance forms as well as modern, jazz and tap techniques. Thompson has traveled to Africa and around the world and researched many different cultures. He believes that the youth of today, are our future leader and must have positive motivation form their families as well as from the community at large.

Melvin Taylor is known by clients and colleagues as dynamic, resourceful, and engaging. Taylor gained a solid undergraduate educational foundation at George Washington University in Event Management, Business Management and Theatre Arts, which allowed him to launch a thriving career in the performing arts. After enjoying a storied theatrical career as a dancer/ actor and singer, Taylor adroitly transitioned into the field of media consulting. For more than a decade, Taylor has continually garnered a reputation as an ingenious promotions innovator with corporations, government, non-profits, trade associations and entertainers. Taylor creates measurable, bottom-line results as a Media Consultant by advising clients about the use of communications and engagement media. In stark contrast to less effective generic product marketing,- event-driven marketing has the cutting edge advantage that is more immediately responsive, accurate and can be personalized to the specific preferences of the individual customer's needs and goals. Taylor effectively disseminates key messages by using promotional strategies that leverage general market corporate media campaigns with targeted grassroots community outreach initiatives as well as social media campaigns. Taylor's event portfolio includes: Tropical Sensations 2004 Fathers' Day concert at Lincoln Center. An Acoustic Revolution Steel Pan Jazz, Urban Gospel Network's UGN Hip Hop Conference 2004, Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH 2004 Wall Street Project conference, the American Museum of the Moving Image's 2004 Tribute to Richard Gere, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York's Bridge to Brotherhood's Youth Summit 2004: Express Yourself - Teens Creating the Message: A Post 9/11 Retrospect, one of New York City's preeminent summer concert series - the JVC Jazz Festival 2003, The Fragrance Foundation's FiFi Awards (2001 - 2003), the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards Programs (2000, 2001), New York Urban League's 32nd and 33rd Annual Football Classics, the Hudson River Park Trust's OpSail2000, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and NYC 2000's Salute The American Hero Summer Concert. Additionally, Taylor has successfully collaborated on projects for enterprises as diverse as WNET Thirteen Pledge Drives, Public Affairs Television with Bill Moyers, National Minority Supplier Development Council, City University of New York at LaGuardia Community College, and Carolyn McClair PR, Purple Giraffe Productions, Kenneth Kamal Scott Vocal Theatre, and has provided marketing and production assistance to Class Act Enterprises Ltd.'s 'From the Heart IV' benefit concert for Timi Yuro at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum starring Bobby Rydell, Herb Reeds Platters, The Cadillacs and The Cleftones.

Dance Kings Ron Brown, native of Brooklyn, founded the New York-based contemporary dance company EVIDENCE, A DANCE COMPANY in 1985. In addition to his work with EVIDENCE, Brown has created work for the African American Dance Ensemble, Philadanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Grace in 1999 and Serving Nia in 2001, IFE/My Heart 2005), Ailey II, Cinque Folkloric Dance Theater, Jennifer Muller/The Works, and Jeune Ballet d'Afrique Noire. He has collaborated with such artists as composer/designer Wunmi Olaiya, the late writer Craig G. Harris, director Ernie McClintock's Jazz Actors Theater, choreographers Patricia Hoffbauer and Rokiya Kone, and composers Robert Een, Oliver Lake, Bernadette Speech, David Simons, and Don Meissner. Brown has received numerous awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Choreography, a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer's Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in choreography, a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie), a Black Theater Alliance Award, the American Dance Festival Humphrey/Weidman/Limon Award, and fellowships from the Edward and Sally van Lier Fund. In addition, Brown was named Def Dance Jam Workshop Mentor of the Year (2000). In 2003, Ron received an AUDELCO (Black Theatre Award) for his choreography for Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats, originally produced by the McCarter Theater and presented off-Broadway in 2003. In 2006 Ron received the U.S.A. Artists Rose Fellowship award.

Chuck Davis is the founder of the DanceAfrica Festivals and the principal of the African-American Dance Ensemble, and has played a major role in introducing Americans to African and African-influenced dance. Davis was born on New Year's Day in 1937 to Tony and Ethel Davis in Raleigh, North Carolina. He attended Ligon High School before enrolling in a special high school program with the U.S. Navy which combined his last two years of high school with four years of active and reserve service. In the Navy he was trained as a medical assistant. When he completed the program in 1957, he went to work in the Washington D.C. area for a local hospital. His career goal was to get a nursing degree and eventually teach nursing. Davis suggested that instead of just featuring his troupe, the musical directors consider hosting several troupes in a celebration of African-related dance. The festival, called DanceAfrica, included a concert featuring several dance troupes, dance classes, and an African Marketplace. It became a tradition, and expanded. In the next two decades, in addition to an annual Brooklyn appearance, DanceAfrica festivals were held in major cities around the country, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Hartford, Connecticut, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Miami. Troupes performing at DanceAfrica festivals have included traditional troupes from Africa, newly formed hip-hop troupes, and African-Brazilian troupes.

Jamel Gaines, founder of Creative Outlet and Artistic Director of its Company, Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, started dancing under the direction of Diane and Adrienne Brown, when he was ten years old. His choreographic career began while he was a student at Purchase University Conservatory of Dance. There he received the Harry Belafonte and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center Scholarships in Dance, prior to graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance. As a young artist he was a member of JUBILATION! Dance Company. Under the tutelage of the company's Artistic Director Kevin Jeff, Gaines was able to develop his skills as a professional artist and his own style as a choreographer. Over the past 14 years, he has choreographed and staged over 35 repertory and concert productions for The Actors Theater Workshop, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, The Martha Graham School, La Guardia Performing Arts School, Julliard School, Purchase University, BAM's Dance Africa and The Seattle Theatre Group. He has taught and choreographed dance for productions in Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Spain, Germany, Canada, The American Black Film Festival, IABD, 'Black Nativity', for which he won an Obie Award. Gaines' 'He Got Up' and 'The Maafa Suite' are performed annually at St. Paul's Community Baptist Church, in Brooklyn. As an arts educator he is known for his nurturing approach in teaching students what might be termed, the 'Gaines' technique. Most recently, Jamel Gaines was the winner of the Grand Prize for McCallum Theatre's 'Dance Under the Stars' Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, CA and was a featured choreographer on FOX TV's 'So You Think You Can Dance,' Season 7.

Michael Manswell began his artistic life as a storyteller at Arts Festivals winning many prizes and awards. He studied music with Lindy-Anne Bodden-Ritch and at Brooklyn College with Tom Cultice. As a singer he has toured Europe, the UK, and the Caribbean and has performed as a soloist in many productions of opera and oratorio including Dido & Aeneas, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Messiah, Missa Criolla and Missa Luba. He studied dance at the Trinidad Dance Theater with Eugene Joseph training in Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom, and Folkloric styles. Michael worked with Geoffrey Holder on 'Dougla II' and 'La Valse des Bakas' for TDT and toured with the company in the USA and the Caribbean. A prolific choreographer he has created many works currently in the repertoire of Something Positive as well as 'Once Upon this Island' (Packer Collegiate Inst), and 'Belle' (Brooklyn College). An orisha devotee in the Youruba religion (Trinidad & Tobago) Mr. Manswell presents lectures and workshops in traditional religious practice and has worked closely with the Interfaith Center and the Caribbean Cultural Center in their programs. One of 'Brooklyn's Black Men of Distinction 2000. Michael currently teaches for Something Positive, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Caribbean Cultural Center.

Kevin "Shock-a-lock" Porter, Born, raised, and still living in Brookyn, was the first 'locker' in New York in the early 70s. Locking is a style of isolated movement invented by Don Campbell and popularized on the early 70s T.V. show 'Soul Train.' Shock-a-Lock, an expert performer, formed the original locking dance group in New York called 'Realism.' When that group parted ways, he began teaching privately and eventually formed his new group, 'Lockism: The World's First Mimelockers.' Unlike any other lockers, Lockism is a unique cast of character lockers including Shock himself as the 'Mekanical Locker.' Shock has recently performed in Canada, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and of course, New York.

Reggie Wilson founded his company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, in 1989. Wilson draws from the movement languages of the blues, slave and spiritual cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he now calls "post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances." His work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX), Summerstage (NYC), Linkfest and Festival e'Nkundleni (Zimbabwe), Dance Factory (South Africa), Daneas na Cidade (Portugal), and Festival Kaay Fecc (Senegal). He has served as a visiting faculty at several universities including Yale University and Wesleyan University and has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project and is a Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop. His current work, The Good Dance - dakar/brooklyn had its World premiere at the Walker Art Center in November 2009 and NY premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2009.

Obediah Wright has built a career as a professional artist working with some of the best in the business such as Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Isao Tomita, M'bogeni Ngema (writer, choreographer and director of Broadway Musical 'Sarafina', Suzan Birkenhead (Lyrist for Broadway's 'Jelly's Last Jam', Diana Ross and a new generation of artists including Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu and Ashanti. A native New Yorker, Obediah aka 'Baba' Obediah, training began with Bernice Johnson, his teacher and mentor and a woman he credits with giving him the strong foundation which has allowed him to travel the world in such varied roles as teacher, dancer, actor, singer, director and choreographer. From Ms. Johnson's dance studio, 'Baba' Obediah continued his studies at the High School of Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey, Dance Theater of Harlem, Lee Aka Thompson, and the Julliard School, one of the most prestigious artistic schools in the world. He has choreographed and taught master classes throughout the country and abroad in prestigious places such as Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Martinique, French West Indies.

Protogees Souleymane Badolo was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and took up residence in New York in 2009. Souleymane started his professional career as a dancer for the DAMA (Direction of Arts and Crafts), a traditional African dance company. In 1980 he founded his own Burkina Faso-based troupe, Kongo Ba Toria, which fuses traditional African dances with western contemporary dance and continues to tour internationally. Souleymane has danced with world-renowned contemporary African dance company Salia ni Seydou, worked with French choreographers Elsa Wolliaston and Mathilde Monnier, and performed with the National Ballet of Burkina. Companies he has choreographed for include Company Phoenix de Yaounde (Cameroon), Cie Gabero de Niamey Company (Nigeria), and The National Ballet of Burkina (Burkina Faso). He also developed a dance program at The Center of Dance, Music and Theatre in Rome that focused on fusion of theatre and dance in contemporary performance, as well as participated in a trans-African program initiative that set up creative collaborations for dancers from multiple African countries. Souleymane recently premiered Yaado, a new work commissioned by Platform 2010, curated by Ralph Lemon, for Danspace Project. He is currently touring in company nora chipaumire's lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi (featuring live musical accompaniment by the legendary Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited). Additionally, Souleymane and Nora are collaborating on a new duet with music by Obo Addy entitled Again, premiering in September 2010 at Dance New Amsterdam, New York. He will be participating in Dance Theater Workshop's Studio Series during the 2010-11 season with informal showings scheduled for January 28 and 29, 2011.

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