Philadanco at Celebrate Brooklyn

Philadanco III already knew there was a lot to love about Philadelphia — Reading Terminal Market and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many things — but after seeing Philadanco perform in Prospect Park at BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, I have yet another reason to to adore this city and its cultural arts. I had no idea what to expect when I suggested to friends that we attend this performance, but within minutes of the opening steps of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, choreographed by Ray Mercer, I could see that I was in for something special. This energetic dance incorporated a giant table to exciting effect, and right away I could see the classical training beneath the dancers’ contemporary movements. Throughout the evening there were plenty of moments that I would describe as balletic grooves and even some that I would call African dance with classical technique. The dancers — and the variety of choreography (including Brooklyn’s own Ronald K. Brown) — were thrilling to watch. Any of us can bust a move on a dance floor (well, almost any of us) but to be able do so while maintaining perfect precision and form beneath those groovy moves takes incredible skill. These dancers are good. Really, really good. After the intermission, I was delighted to experience the elegant New York Premiere of Between the Lines, choreographed by Francisco Gella, with music by Philip Glass and Gidon Kremer. In fact, the second half of the evening was a complete change of pace from the first. The selection of dances performed last night did a great job of showcasing the talent and versatility of this first class dance company. If you missed it, not to worry! I have an idea: why not get on Philadanco’s mailing list and take Megabus down to the City of Brotherly Love next time they perform? Be sure to allow time to eat a cheesesteak, if that’s your thing — or at least give a nod to Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture. I mean, really, what’s not to love?

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