For nearly 50 years, Philadanco has used dance to break down cultural barriers. In April the company is putting on a show to celebrate its Philadelphia roots by paying tribute to acclaimed choreographers who got their start here in Philadelphia.
"People always talk about the dancers from Philadelphia have something extra, but so do the choreographers," says Philadanco Founder Joan Myers Brown.
The program is dubbed Dance Philly Style, and it features four ballets, including a world premiere by Anthony Burrell. He's best known for his work in Beyonce's Formation music video and her performance at Super Bowl 50.
"Everybody knows Anthony! He's choreographing for Mariah Carey and Beyonce and won plenty of awards," Myers Brown says. "He's trying to get away from the commercialism and doing more I guess contemporary work."
Dancers will also perform an audience favorite by the late Gene Hill Sagan.
"We're going to go into something neoclassical," Myers Brown says, "His ballet is La Valse and it's to Ravel's La Valse; it's one of the pieces we had done for my company years ago."
Rennie Harris is fresh off a huge success with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and he's making a return with a company premiere.
"He's doing a hip hop piece," Myers Brown says, "It's really breathtaking, daring."
His work will feature only female dancers.
"It's usually the guys," Myers Brown points out. "Hip hop started on the street corners. The guys used to twirl on the cardboard boxes and you know they used to make fun of them but Rennie took it to the stage,"
Philadanco also plans a world premiere by former company dancer Dawn Marie Bazemore, "addressing the unfairness, the inequity, and the non-inclusion of our people," Myers Brown explains.
"If you love Philadanco, and if you love dance and you love something different, this is the place to be," she says.
Philadanco | Dance Philly Style (April 12-14)
Kimmel Center Perelman Theater
300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
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Dance Philly Style pays tribute to Philly's top choreographers
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