""Dancing in the Light"

5 stars

Great Performances Dance in America

WFYI-Public TV

June 20

 

The influence of African-American choreographers and dancers on the development of modern dance from 1932 to the 1960s is patently clear in this beautifully performed retrospective that includes pioneer choreographers Asadata Dafora, Katherine Dunham, Talley Beatty, Donald McKayle, Pearl Primus and Bill T. Jones. Momix, Cirque de Soliel and certainly “The Lion King” owe much to Dafora’s “Ostrich.” Dunham’s social dance translated into art form is a jazz dance muse to Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham. Emphasis on feet and torso and ability to sustain rhythmically complex phrases make all of the work exciting. Strength and sensitivity balance in breathtaking daring positions throughout. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, known for the humanity of its dancing style, was one of the featured companies with a corps of amazingly strong male dancers recreating McKayle’s “Rainbow Round My Shoulder.”

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