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Black Artists in the Duke

Focusing specifically on some of the Black artists who performed in the Doris Duke Theatre during the thirty years before it was lost in a tragic fire, this playlist supplements the videos found in New in the Duke. It also complements other playlists celebrating dozens of Black artists in Black History, Black Voices, and More Black Voices.

18 performances

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Black Artists in the Duke

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Urban Bush Women

Walking With 'Trane, 2019

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Samantha Speis choreographed this ode to jazz legend John Coltrane, a full-evening presentation in two contrasting acts.

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Playing 1 of 18

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PHILADANCO!

Enemy Behind the Gate, 2018

Although they had performed on numerous occasions in the Ted Shawn Theatre, this engagement marked Philadanco’s first time in the Doris Duke Theatre.

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Playing 2 of 18

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Paramodernities by Netta Yerushalmy

Revelations: The Afterlives of Slavery, A Response to Alvin Ailey’s "Revelations" (1960), 2018

Focusing on Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, this excerpt from Netta Yerushalmy’s Paramodernities prominently featured scholar Thomas DeFrantz.

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Playing 3 of 18

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Souleymane Badolo

Yimbégré, 2016

As demonstrated by the audience members seen here, this was one of many Duke presentation that took advantage of the unconventional seating options available in this flexible space.

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Playing 4 of 18

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Adam H. Weinert

"Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" from Four Dances Based on American Folk Music, 2016

The significance of a Black man performing this Ted Shawn dance set to an African American spiritual is explored in an online essay by Sydney Skybetter.

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Playing 5 of 18

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The Wondertwins

Broadway to Hip-Hop, 2014

Identical twins Billy and Bobby McClain brought down the house in their Pillow debut, part of an exclusive production known as Unreal Hip-Hop.

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Playing 6 of 18

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Kyle Abraham & Camille A. Brown

How We Process, 2011

This duet was created during a Pillow residency in the Duke and premiered as part of an exclusive presentation billed as Kyle and Camille.

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Playing 7 of 18

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Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble

Episode, 2010

Presented during the years when the main company of Dance Theatre of Harlem was on hiatus, this engagement by the DTH Ensemble heralded Virginia Johnson’s appointment as Director, a move which would eventually succeed in rejuvenating the entire institution.

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Playing 8 of 18

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David Roussève/REALITY

Saudade, 2009

Although David Roussève’s work had been performed in this same space thirteen years earlier by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, this engagement marked his own company’s Pillow debut.

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Playing 9 of 18

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Jason Samuels Smith

A Song For My Father, 2009

Part of a relatively rare two-week season, this particular dance was a tribute to the pioneering dance figure Jo Jo Smith, who served as percussionist while his son took center stage.

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Playing 10 of 18

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Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company

Chapel/Chapter, 2008

Another example of a two-week Duke engagement, Chapel/Chapter also radically altered the performing space of the Duke with in-the-round seating and voluminous amounts of red fabric.

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Playing 11 of 18

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Reggie Wilson / Fist & Heel Performance Group

The Tale: Npinpee Nckutchie and the Tail of the Golden Dek, 2007

After two presentations on Inside/Out, Reggie Wilson’s company made its official Pillow debut with this encyclopedic exploration of vernacular dance styles, here narrated by Wilson himself.

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Playing 12 of 18

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Rennie Harris Puremovement

P-Funk, 2005

Rennie Harris brings his commanding presence to this high-energy full-company work, serving to both show off the talents of his younger company members and illustrate his role as their leader.

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Playing 13 of 18

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PARADIGM

It All, 2004

This Dwight Rhoden duet offers an opportunity to savor two legendary performers, Carmen de Lavallade and Gus Solomons jr.

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Playing 14 of 18

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Vincent Mantsoe

Barena, 2003

At home in both contemporary dance and in the traditions of his native South Africa, Vincent Mantsoe presented this solo on a program shared with the Danish dance soloist Kitt Johnson.

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Playing 15 of 18

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Salia nï Seydou

Figninto, 2002

Because they no longer perform together as a company, this footage of two leading dance figures hailing from Burkina Faso is all the more precious.

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Playing 16 of 18

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Urban Tap

Caravane, 2001

Known both as Tamango and as Herbin Van Cayseele, the founder and central figure of Urban Tap masterminded an intensely theatrical experience with live musicians and larger-than-life video projections.

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Playing 17 of 18

Les Guirivoires

Solo, 1993

The commanding presence of Rose Marie Guiraud in this solo demonstrates how she was able to establish herself as a major force in the artistic life of the Ivory Coast.

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Playing 18 of 18

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