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BWW Reviews: THE LOOK OF FEELING - A Celebration of American Dance Pioneer Denise Jefferson



It takes more than talent to tell the life story of a well-known person with passion, humor, and originality in sixty minutes and succeed, but that's just what Francesca Harper accomplished performing her one woman show The Look of Feeling, a Celebration of American Dance Pioneer Denise Jefferson on Saturday May 17, 2014 at the Susan Baston Theater on West 43rd Street.

Francesca Harper, Denise Jefferson's daughter recounted her mother's journey through song and dance. This multi-faceted artist tells her mother's story with bold exclamations and harrowing tales of her early ancestors traveling through Coffeeville Mississippi to her mother's liberation from her marriage with baby and dreams of dancing in Paris in tow.

This is a theatrical tale told with tears, joy, laughter and beautiful Martha Graham choreography. Ms. Harper is an accomplished dancer with strong steady penchees, deep contractions, high showgirl kicks and powerful gran battements. Francesca dazzled the audience with stories of her mother's dancer dreams and she sizzle through stories of early struggles and the courageous steps it takes to become the founding director of the Alvin Ailey School. Denise Jefferson held that position for 26 years and she had the power, prowess, and magic to elevate it to international acclaim.

Sadly her journey comes to a slight halt with one phone call from a doctor revealing positive test results of cancer. This was a poignant story about a woman meeting her challenges with resilience, prayerful chants, and all of the strength she could muster.

Ms. Jefferson's life was revealed by her daughter, who poured out her mother's story with dignity and humor, Parisian style, and incredible comic timing.

Photo Credit: Breton Tyner-Bryan

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From This Author Elisa Kimble

Elisa L. Kimble is a performing artist, freelance writer. In addition to writing for Elisa writes for Precious Times magazine as the music editor. (read more...)