Review: Black Dance Festival brings compelling choreography to life
By Mark Kanny
Published: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 10:32 a.m.
Many kinds of talents were on display Friday night at the uplifting opening performance of the second annual Black Dance Festival at the August Wilson Center, Downtown. Compelling choreography was brought to life with irresistible spirit by the center's resident ensemble, all to excellent music.
Yet there was an unexpected skill that shined through, in addition — the improvisatory ability of artistic director Greer Jones to adapt to adversity. The second half of Friday's program was to have been “Mr. Tol E. Rance” by Camille A. Brown performed by her dance company, which is based in New York City. Planned transportation to Pittsburgh fell through in the wake of the storm Sandy. Finally, on Friday, Reed was forced to reshuffle her repertoire.
“Unwritten” by Antonio Brown began the evening with high energy and compelling narrative. Brown created the piece with the dancers of the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, who performed with absolute commitment. James A. Washington was the eloquent protagonist in a piece that begins with a breakup with his girlfriend. After a brief anguished dance in reaction, he re-enters bustling life. The choreographer's achievement includes ample invention and a nice sense of form.
Two of Camille A. Brown's performers were able to reach Pittsburgh. Thus, the audience was at least treated to a tantalizing excerpt from the longer work that had been scheduled.
Waldean Nelson was the soloist in “Sitcoms,” creating a broad range of emotions that changed with breathtaking speed. The most haunting image, repeated enough to be a theme, was bright hope (for approval?) draining away.
“The Real Cool” was performed to an imaginative and very pianistic arrangement by Brandon McCune of “What a Wonderful World.” Scott Patterson played it live onstage with a masterly blend of virtuosity, singing style and beautiful voicing.
Another work by Camille A. Brown, scheduled before Sandy to be performed by the center's dance ensemble, provided a hopeful comment on the recent storm. “Second Line” was created as a celebration of the spirit and culture of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The second half featured two pieces by Terence Greene, who has taken a prominent role in educational activities associated with the Black Dance Festival. “Breath” is an ensemble piece. “Faith,” performed at the Gospel Showcase dance concert in October, was brought back to conclude Friday's performance.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Agent confirms Mendenhall retiring from NFL
- Pitt looking to enhance profile at ACC tourney
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to be featured in TV series
- Latrobe hospital source of fuel spill
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- Busy preseason puts Riverhounds in good shape