First Baptist Lafayette will present “The Choice” April 1 – 3. It will be the first presentation
New York's Apollo Theater and Lafayette Partner to Launch New Production: James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, A Celebration of Dance
PRIOR TO ITS APOLLO WORLD PREMIERE AND NATIONAL TOUR DANCE SHOW SET TO SONGS BY THE LEGENDARY SOUL ICON WILL SHOWCASE BROWN’S DYNAMIC INFLUENCE ON GLOBAL CHOREOGRAPHY AND MUSIC
Lafayette, LA, March 26, 2013 – In October 2013, six choreographers from around the world, 15 dancers, lighting and production designers and music professionals will set to work in Lafayette to prepare a new production, James Brown: Get on the Good Foot—A Celebration in Dance, for premiere at the world-famous Apollo Theater.
This evening-long dance performance, developed by six choreographers from around the world, will showcase the stylistic and cultural influences the “Godfather of Soul” continues to have on artists and creativity. The Theater is partnering Lafayette, Louisiana to develop the work and host residency activities. A national tour is being planned following the premiere at the Apollo.
Under the artistic direction of acclaimed choreographer Otis Sallid, Get on the Good Foot will pay tribute to Brown through original dance numbers and a musical score comprised of classic music by the soul icon and new works by musicians influenced by Brown. Dancers from the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) will bring to life new choreography by Souleymane Badolo (Burkina Faso), Ronald K. Brown (United States), Thang Dao (Vietnam), Derick K. Grant (United States), Abdel Saalam (United States) and Aakash Odedra (United Kingdom).
“The intention is to bring a unique and individual perspective to the music and the dance of the legendary soul singer James Brown, while examining a worldview of the music, the man and his international impact on contemporary culture and society. Through the medium of dance, we will define and redefine, reflect, and bring insight to this extraordinary performer who changed the face of music forever,” said artistic director Otis Sallid.
With interest in Louisiana’s Live Entertainment Initiative—a tax credit system that supports live performances that launch in Louisiana—the Apollo considered launching the project in the state, and its executive producer Mikki Shepard contacted Jacqueline Lyle—a former executive director of the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana (PASA), who became the Lafayette Project Coordinator, based Discussions with potential partners began in the summer of 2012 and interest in and support for the project grew quickly.
“We are excited to be a part of a project that showcases such a cultural and artistic icon,” said Joey Durel, LCG President. “Lafayette is home to many resources—from our cultural facilities, to the faculty and students at our university, to our entrepreneurial local community and our excellent population of artists. Partnering with the Apollo gives us an opportunity to engage all of those resources together.”
Leading up to the production’s world premiere at the Apollo, the entire company of choreographers and dancers involved in the James Brown project will descend upon Lafayette, Louisiana for an intensive ten days, readying the performances for the Apollo debut and the tour. The Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) and a number of partner organizations, including the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, are all program partners in this first-time effort. The Performing Arts Society of Acadiana (PASA) will present two preview performances—one for local students and one for the general public. While in Lafayette, a number of the choreographers and Philadanco will also participate in a number of community engagement activities with organizations including The University of Louisiana Lafayette (UL Lafayette), Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, the Acadiana Indian Association and others. UL Lafayette will be donating rehearsal space and digital media studio use, and its students will produce digital web-postings as well.
The project’s residency activities will also cross the Mississippi River, taking place at Baton Rouge Community College. The Community Foundation of Acadiana will be the repository for funds raised in Lafayette for the project. Long known as a creative catalyst for Harlem, and all of New York, the Apollo is increasingly known as a national cultural resource, and the partnership with Lafayette, Louisiana expands the Apollo’s reach beyond the walls of the Theater.
“From the moment I heard about this production and the opportunity to work with the Apollo, I wanted to be part of the project and bring it to Lafayette,” said the Apollo’s Lafayette Project Coordinator Jacqueline Lyle, a former executive director of PASA. “It’s a perfect fit with Louisiana’s Live Entertainment Initiative, with the unique entrepreneurial character of Lafayette, and with the cultural resources in our community. Virtually every person with whom I have shared news of the James Brown project is anxious to be involved.”
“James Brown gave more than 200 performances at the Apollo,” said Shepard. “On our stage and others, he created a performance lexicon that has helped people around the globe express themselves—in music, in dance, and in myriad other ways. It is nearly impossible to imagine contemporary world music without James Brown, so strong was his effect on funk, soul, R & B, jazz, pop, rock, and rap. There isn’t a place on the planet where his influence doesn’t reach, and we’re proud to say it can be traced back to Harlem and with this new production at the Apollo we are helping to keep his spirit alive.”
About the Apollo Theater
The Apollo is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage. The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision builds on its legacy. New Apollo programming has music as its core, driving large scale and more intimate music, dance, and theater presentations. The Apollo will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.
Lafayette, LA is a vibrant, amenity-filled town and a high-tech infrastructure that has made it a launching pad for entrepreneurs of all stripes. Located in south Louisiana, Lafayette is at the hub of Louisiana's indigenous Creole and Cajun cultures, with a vibrant music scene complete with lively, acclaimed music festivals. It is also in the center of a multi-industrial region—which includes oil and gas—and is surrounded by a unique, publicly-owned fiber optic loop, while still boasting traditional agricultural industries, including crawfish farming. The Performing Arts Society of Acadiana is one of the most respected performing arts presenters in the South.
About Otis Sallid
Otis Sallid is an accomplished director and choreographer in theater, television, and film. Sallid is known throughout the entertainment industry for his accomplishments. His work in Spike Lee’s School Daze, Do The Right Thing, and Malcolm X; the opening titles for the television shows Living Single and Suddenly Susan; has positioned him amongst the most notable producer/ director/ choreographers, the latter winning him the Bob Fosse L.A. Choreographers Dance Award. In 1995 Sallid conceived the hit Broadway show Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and in 1996 he choreographed the 69th Annual Academy Awards. He also produced, directed, and choreographed the 2006 opening live event of Super Bowl XL featuring Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Joss Stone and John Legend. He penned the title song for the late night hit musical television show, Showtime at the Apollo and Suddenly Susan.
The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO, dance company) presents the highest quality of professional dance performance and improves the skills of emerging and professional dancers, and choreographers in a nurturing environment. PHILADANCO is celebrated for its innovation, creativity, and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance. Founded in 1970 by Joan Myers Brown, PHILADANCO has a legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides, consistently performing for audiences representing an amalgamation of people from diverse communities. PHILADANCO is recognized for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers and electrifying performances.
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