When Joffrey Ballet performs, you can count on seeing exquisite classical ballet. When River Dance comes to town, the fare will be exclusively Irish step dance. But when Philadelphia Dance Company, known as PHILADANCO, Philadelphia Dance Company to ‘Wake Up’ audiences with range of dance styles, innovation, and athleticism.
PHILADANCO (www.philadanco.org) will bring its diverse dance palette to Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia on Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts. To accommodate the company’s wide variety of dance programming, the performance will be held at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts at Northeast State Community College in Blountville.
PHILADANCO’s variety of rave reviews are as varied as its repertoire and innovation. “The members of the Philadelphia Dance Company can do almost anything: leap like arrows in flight, spin, stretch, kick and melt like hot wax,” reported The Washington Post.
Critics have dubbed the dancers “electrifying,” “inspiring,” versatile,” “sleek,” “fierce,” “sensuous,” “elegant,” “nothing short of sensational” and “a miracle of skill and energy.”
In 1970, when Philadelphia Dance Company was created by Joan Myers Brown to address the shortage of opportunities for minority dancers in the Philadelphia region, there was no hip-hop, but theatrical modern dance had been thriving since the early 1900s. Since the ‘70s, in addition to providing dance training and empowering young people through its Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, which Brown started a decade earlier, PHILADANCO also strives to cultivate and support predominantly African-American choreographers and preserve African-American traditions in dance.
In a rousing program called Wake Up, this season, PHILADANCO is performing two dances from its recent 40th Anniversary Gala —Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s By Way of the Funk, a feast of American rhythm and blues, and the hip-hop masterpiece Philadelphia Experiment by Rennie Harris, founder of Puremovement.
The resident modern dance company of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, PHIALDANCO has toured more than a dozen countries and will travel to New York after its East Tennessee performance for a week of shows at New York City’s Joyce Theater.
The presentation of PHILADANCO was made possible by the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is also provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Tickets are $5 for all area students with a valid student ID, $20 general admission and $15 for seniors 60 and over. Northeast State Community College is located at 2425 Highway 75 (Airport Road) in Blountville, Tenn.