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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Celebrate Philadanco's 40th Anniversary at the Kimmel Center

Reviewed by Sojourner Ahebee

On Thursday the 15th of April at 7:30 PM, I went to see Philadanco: The Philadelphia Dance Company at the Kimmel Center. This was their 40th anniversary concert, and their opening night at The Kimmel. I have now become a big fan of modern dance after this experience.

The performance started with their opening dance A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair which was choreographed by Talley Beatty and costume execution by Natasha Guruleva. This dance was executed well with much enthusiasm and zeal! The costumes for both the women and men were simple single colors, each one different, which brought out the best in the dancers. The costumes also had this type of neon glow to them that almost made them seem as if they were magical. I felt this part of the program was a free spirited work of art, which could be interpreted in many ways; it just depended on the eye of the beholder. This was followed by a dance piece called The Elements in Which it Takes Place which was choreographed by Milton Myers and costume execution by A. Christina Giannini and Kim Y. Bears-Bailey. This dance had an almost stereotypical ancient African vibe that was interpreted through the costume wear and the music. Both costumes for the women and men exposed much skin but the story is what almost made me cry. This piece just had such a powerful hold on me.

This was then followed by a short intermission and the dance Elegy which was choreographed by Gene Hill Sagan and costume execution by Natasha Guruleva). The curtains slowly came back up and all you see is this beautifully blinding, sparkling sequence background of a starry night. The stage design really captivated me and made one feel like you were in another world. The dance itself was slow and had a relaxed tempo, which put me at ease. Elegy felt like the story of two lovers and yet at the same time it felt like my own personal lullaby. It was a very romantic piece that visually looked more like ballet than modern dance. Last but not least, the audience took a trip back to 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to explore the era of Funk music. This dance was called By Way of the Funk which was choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and costume execution by Anna-Alise Belous. Out of all the dances, this was the one that BLEW MY MIND! The performance was full of cotton white afro wigs, cat suits, dark shades -sun glasses- and it just had a cool feeling. The dancers really lived up to the criteria for Funkadelics: outrageous costumes and in your face performance. This is definitely a must see dance company! Philadanco will be at The Kimmel from April 15-18, 2010. Come and see them before they leave!

Here are links to the Kimmel Center website where you can learn more about this event:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thirteen Ways To Look At Me by Sojourner Ahebee

I’ve joined the ranks of Walt Whitman and Virginia Woolf by self-publishing a collection of my poetry entitled Thirteen Ways To Look at Me. I’m doing this as part of an effort to raise funds so I can participate in a French Language Immersion program this summer

Thirteen Ways to Look at Me contains my poems about Africa’s diversity, my memories of Cote d’Ivoire, my plea to care about the most vulnerable among us- brown boys, undocumented workers and homeless war veterans. It is a hodgepodge with one unifying theme-open your eyes and take notice of the world.

You can purchase Thirteen Ways to Look at Me online at A link is provided below. You can order a hard copy or download the book immediately, which is cheaper. I look forward to your support.