The Roger Lee Dance Company Celebrates Black History Month

February 7, 2014 8:33:10 AM PST
February is, of course, black history month and, to pay tribute, The Roger Lee Dance Company is staging its first ever Black History Dance Celebration. The concert will feature works from more than a half dozen choreographers. The dances are light hearted but the themes explored are heavy-from slavery and segregation to integration, and urban culture.

"The piece about segregation I put a Caucasian dancer and an African American dancer together and they do a duet but at the end one of them leaves," says Roger Lee, founder of Roger Lee Dance Company, "and I want the audience to feel a really intense emotion whether it's anger or sadness or just pain."

Lee says he created the dance program because he thought Philadelphia needed it. "I was in school and every year we had the same black history show, which was great but I kind of wanted something dance oriented and I kept waiting for it and it never happened so I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world."

He did a callout for choreographers and chose 7 from Philadelphia, New Jersey and Washington, DC. The dancers will look at black history through the lens of soul, pop, and rock music.

"Some used music from James Brown. Some are using poetry from Maya Angelou. I'm using Jackson 5, some spoken word, all kinds of things," says Lee, "You know it's really about community and so much of black history had to do with community and people just coming together from all walks of life so I just really want to bring that back."

The show is set for February 21st and 22nd at 8pm at the Performance Garage at 1515 Brandywine Street in Philadelphia. For tickets, go to

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