I sit here in the last row of a conference room at the Convention Center of Dayton, OHIO listening to
wise words being poured out by the Founders of International Association of Blacks in Dance. The organization is celebrating it's 31st year in existence celebrating the culture and aesthetic of Black Culture through Dance.
Garth Fagan, The Lion King Broadway Musical Director + Choreographer
I think back on the sweet smelling scent of this Quick stepping older gentleman who comes walking up the stairway through the audience during last night's opening performances. It all made sense when I discovered it was Mr. Garth Fagan ~ the founder and choreographer of the Lion King on Broadway. The dancers that greeted us at the reception in a Creole style Retunde banquet hall where a live band played the sounds of R&B favorites, we beaming from their performance. A series of duets and solos mostly that told a story of discovery, struggle, identity, and love.
It's early morning now for the dancers who were up late last night squealing over the excitement of simply being here at the festival. Some of the most influential figures are together in an intimate space to offer these dancers mentorship that amounts to (3) three months of training within just a few hours. I marvel at the Elders in this experience. How long and how much they've given to build up what we know today as a dance. So much. They've essentially made Dance their lives, given value, depth and girth to the study this art form. I stopped Ms. Brenda Dixon Gottschild a Dance Historian and Author who has dedicated her development of the dance to Academia and Published Works on the Black Experience. She was grabbing her breakfast and just commenting on the need to move her body just as much as any one of us here although she is a speaker and visionary. Her writings have inspired me to ask questions about my dancing and the culture thereof, how it relates to our human experience and both in past and present history. I marvel at her generous smile as she talks about her children--her daughter, singer, songwriter and recording Artist Amel Laurriuex.
I was pleased in my class today to introduce new comers to GYROKINESIS particularly to dancers, who understand movement already. I was able to share and show them the nuances of this technique that could be applied to their dancing and to their dance day. The naturally alkalized water with mint leaves I had this morning in the Courtyard Marriott Lobby set me on my way for cleansing and clarifying energy needed most to guide the moving dancing bodies in space. Even more rewarding the next teacher to follow in the classroom who also understands that there is power in the use of Energy of which he introduced to multiple levels and ages of dancers. Renown, Internationally acclaimed Ballet Bad Boy Dancer Rasta Thomas.
The dancers attending the conference continue to show promise, potential and passion for the art form with their focus and attention in class and their outstanding performances onstage. Both of the youth/young dancers and collegiate students showcased their work with pieces ranging from heartfelt stories of love, politics and community culture. The evening ended with trending music and dancing in the upper SkyWalk lobby area--a "Social" of which I misinterpreted to be a collective event where we'd be learning social dances like with Camille Brown comes to mind as she makes it her initiative to share and teach the dances of the people with and to the people bridging international gaps. It turns out that it was a just a good time, good music and a DJ playing hip, R&B sounds of urban sounds of everywhere from Dayton.
Kim Bears (Left), Myself, Maime Johnson (Right)
I had the honor and privilege of sitting in on a major panel discussion the following day which consisted o the official Committee Members of the IABD Leaders, Advocates, Board Members and Artists. Everyone from founding Company Directors, to the team of persons who help develop and grow this community over the years. I sit in as what is known to be the NEXT GEN *Generation* Leaders and listen to the voices and powers that be to cultivate ideas to preserve, progressive and improve the festival/conference for years to come. Faces young and old were there to contribute, unifying these efforts as the multi-generational existence that it is. We left the room overflowing with zeal and excitement to share in the faith of real promise and hope for the future.