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Black Choreographers Festival to Run 2/9-3/8

Black Choreographers Festival to Run 2/9-3/8



In anticipation of its 10-year anniversary in 2014, theBlack Choreographers Festival: Here & Now announces a wide-ranging program of performances and workshops, as well as a film screening, book release, gallery exhibition and honors ceremony. This year's Festival takes place from February 9 to March 8, 2014 at venues in San Francisco and Oakland, California. Performance highlights include works by Nora Chipaumire, Gregory Dawson, Joanna Haigood, Portsha Jefferson, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Robert Moses.



In partnership with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Festival opens on Sunday, February 9 with "The Black Choreographers Festival edition" of YBCA's 50 Cent Tabernacle, a series of open, mixed-level dance classes taught by masters of the craft. For just $0.50 participants receive an all-day pass, good for up to five different 60-minute movement classes taught by Nora Chipaumire,Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Robert Moses and Rashad Pridgen, among other artists participating in the 2014 Festival. The day concludes at 4pm with a high-energy, hour-long performance by three youth dance companies: Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble, directed by Latanya d. Tigner; Destiny Arts, directed by Sarah Crowell; and The Village Dancers, directed by Dr. Albrida Rose Eberhardt.



The Festival continues at YBCA the following weekend, February 13 - 15, with the Bay Area premiere of Nora Chipaumire's Miriam, a dance-theater installation inspired by the cultural and political milieu of Chipaumire's childhood in Zimbabwe, her self-exile to the U.S. and her self-discovery as an artist. Due to the special constraints of the performance, there will be no late seating for Miriam.Following the performance on Friday, February 14, there will be a conversation with the artists moderated by Laura Elaine Ellis.



The weekend of February 21 - 23 the Festival moves to Dance Mission Theater in a presentation of the Next Wave Choreographers Showcase, a forum for emerging and mid-career choreographers to present new works. About two dozen choreographers from around the country are slated to participate including: Ramon Ramos Alayo, Traci Bartlow, Byb Chanel Bibene, Delina Patrice Brooks, Colette Eloi, Antoine Hunter, Maia Siani, Susan Voyticky andJamar Welch.



In tandem with its 10-year anniversary, the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now is proud to announce the publication of a commemorative coffee table book featuring approximately 100 exquisite photographs by Alan Kimara Dixon. On sale before and after the performances at Dance Mission Theater and Laney College Theater, Dixon's book celebrates the beauty, soul and artistry of the Black Choreographers Festival. Dance Mission and Laney College Theater will also be the venues for an exhibition of the Festival's first decade of poster artwork, created by Eugene Young.



The weekend of February 28 - March 1, the Festival crosses the Bay to Laney College Theater in Oakland. The program differs each day. On Friday, February 28, the evening begins at 6:30pm with a film screening of Upaj: Improvise, a new documentary about the artistic collaboration between Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith, a participant in the Black Choreographers Festival from years past. The camera follows the two on their worldwide touring production, India Jazz Suites, as they form a powerful friendship and struggle to preserve their art forms. A conversation with the film's producer, Antara Bhardwaj, follows the screening.



Five choreographers are on the bill at Laney College Theater, February 28 to March 1: Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, Gregory Dawson, Joanna Haigood, Portsha Jefferson and Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The weekend features world premieres by Barnes and Dawson. On Friday, February 28 only, Barnes will present a work titled Clearance: Linking our Passage, which features stories about migration. Dawson's premiere, currently untitled, runs both evenings, and is set to music by jazz artist Richard Howell. Haigood's Dying While Black and Brown, and Jefferson's Nasyon Dechennen! will also be performed both Friday and Saturday nights, while an excerpt fromJoseph's red, black & GREEN: a blues will be performed only on Saturday night. The program for Saturday, March 1, will also include a pre-concert soul food reception with live jazz music directed by Kev Smith at 7pm, and later in the evening a ceremony honoring ten members of the Bay Area community who have made the Festival a success in its first decade.



The Festival concludes March 6 - 8 at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Robert Moses' Kin presents special editions of its popular Draft and BY Series. Launched in 2006, Draft cultivates the solo performances of collaborative artists created in brief encounters with choreographer Robert Moses, with the intention of extracting essential movement and the unique individuality of each performer. This year's series features Ramon Ramos Alayo, Byb Chanel Bibene, Antoine Hunter,Ar Vejon Jones, Rashidi Omari, Stephanie Powell, Maia Siani, Reginald Ray Savage, Raissa Simpson, Latanya d. Tigner and the members of Robert Moses' Kin. For the second year of the BY Series, a forum for guest choreographers to create new work for the company, Robert Moses' Kin has invited Gregory Dawson, Bliss Kohlmyer and Dexandro Montalvo. The evening will also feature a world premiere by Moses himself.

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by Barnett Serchuk