Philadanco's "Fast Forward" celebrates the past and future with premiere-packed show

Philadanco performs Fast Forward at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater December 10-12.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadanco is celebrating its return to live performances with a premiere-packed show at the Kimmel Center that honors the company's past and its future.

Philadanco is leaping onto the stage with "Fast Forward to the Future".

"Because of the pandemic, almost think of Fast Forward to a new time, a new space," says Janine Beckles, Principal Dancer and Assistant to the Artistic Director at Philadanco.

"We have an exciting show, four new choreographers, four new ballets," says Philadanco Founder Joan Myers Brown.

It's the company's first performance in front of a live audience since March of 2020.

"We were in Switzerland, and our last show, they tell us we had to get home," says Brown. Fortunately, we were able to stay on salary, rehearse, and do everything virtually."

In turn, they reached wider audiences across the globe.

"It gives students an opportunity to know what's going on here in America. A lot of the places we go, they don't see dancers of color," Brown says.

It is that lack of diversity that drove Brown to open Philadanco in 1970 and start a school for Black dancers a decade before that.

"Mainly because she wanted Black students to have a place to feel at home," says Beckles.

The company's 50th-anniversary celebration was cut short by the pandemic.

"So, this is a continuation of it. 50 years plus one," Beckles says.

"Going back into Kimmel is the most exciting thing we can do," says Brown.

The program also honors Brown's legacy and her decision to retire, sort of.

"She's here every day still from 9 am to 11 pm at night," says Beckles.

"I say I didn't move out. I moved over. Because it's time to pass the baton. But you don't drop it," Brown says.

And it celebrates the company's transition into the next generation of leadership.

"Christmas is her birthday. So, she'll be 90 years old. The company has to continue to grow and move forward," says Beckles.

"We want to come out on the other side of the mountains stronger and better," says Brown.

"We're not finished," says Beckles.

"We've got to make the world a better place," adds Brown.

Philadanco performs Fast Forward at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater December 10-12.

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300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102 United States
Playing at the Perelman Theater December 10th-12th, 2021
Kimmel Cultural Campus, Perelman Theater
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