On Stage: Black Dance Festival

It was great to observe the wonderful sense of community among the groups that comprised August Wilson Center’s second annual Black Dance Festival. Except for Camille A. Brown, all the directors from the various professional and student groups (including the inimitable Joan Meyers Brown from Philadanco) made the trip to Pittsburgh and participated in panel discussions following the performances. Their passion was evident, something also apparent in the audience response. Read about it in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And as a postscript, the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble has gone from a fresh-faced collective of young dancers, most just out of college, to a group that is making obvious artistic choices — all without losing its appeal. Welcome to a pair of new male dancers — Antony Williams, formerly of Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, and the richly experienced Christopher Nolen (Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Abraham.In.Motion and more). They replace Michael Bagne, who left to pursue other dance interests, and Raymond Ejiofor, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University who went to California to continue his education at the University of Southern California in public health policy where he is a cancer research intern at Keck School of Medicine, and hopefully to still squeeze in his dance. Rebekah Kuczma, a founding member of AWCDE, also returns to the fold. They join Naila Ansari, Kendra Dennard, Kaylin Horgan, Annalee Traylor and James Washington.

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