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Black Voices

In addition to the newly-compiled video clips in this playlist, the impressive history of black artists at Jacob’s Pillow can be sampled in the extended video excerpts and documentation contained within John Perpener’s Dance of the African Diaspora essays as well as in an entirely different playlist that ranges from 1942 through 2017.

18 performances

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Black Voices

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David Roussève/REALITY

Halfway to Dawn, 2019

The music and life of Billy Strayhorn was the impetus for this full-company work by David Roussève.

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Playing 1 of 18

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Urban Bush Women

Walking With 'Trane, 2019

Another jazz legend, John Coltrane, provided the inspiration for the full-evening Walking With ‘Trane.

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Playing 2 of 18

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Nora Chipaumire

Dark Swan, 2007

The Zimbabwe-born Nora Chipaumire created her iconic solo, Dark Swan, as a counterpart to the classic Swan Lake and Dying Swan.

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Playing 3 of 18

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Robert Moses

Doscongio, 2006

Widely considered to be a signature work, Doscongio allows us to see Robert Moses displaying the qualities that made him a standout performer with ODC/San Francisco and Twyla Tharp.

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Playing 4 of 18

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Savion Glover, 2005

Though he’s seen here in a solo, a notable aspect of this 2005 engagement by Savion Glover was the program’s inclusion of two Glover mentors, Dianne Walker and Jimmy Slyde.

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Playing 5 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 6 of 18

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Battleworks Dance Company

Strange Humors, 2003

Now best known as the director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Robert Battle brought his first company, Battleworks, to the Pillow in 2003.

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Playing 7 of 18

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Garth Fagan Dance

Oatka Trail, 2002

When Garth Fagan wanted to make a film of his classic Oatka Trail, he came up with the idea of shooting it on the stage of the Ted Shawn Theatre with the back stage doors open to the great outdoors.

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Playing 8 of 18

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Rennie Harris Puremovement

Rome and Jewels, 2000

Much in the same way that West Side Story translated Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to the musical theater stage, Rennie Harris started with the same source and used the language of hip hop to create Rome and Jewels.

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Playing 9 of 18

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Bill T. Jones

Three Dances, 2000

This early work by Bill T. Jones is a study in pure movement, offering a chance to see Jones as a still-dynamic performer in his late 40s,

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Playing 10 of 18

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Urban Bush Women

Self-Portrait, 1998

This solo by Urban Bush Women’s founder, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, presents an unusually candid look at the creative process.

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Playing 11 of 18

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Dianne McIntyre

Willow Song, 1998

A mentor to Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Dianne McIntyre premiered a new solo in the same season when Zollar presented her Self-Portrait, using the traditional spiritual “Kumbaya” as her inspiration.

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Playing 12 of 18

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Donald Byrd/The Group

"Jazz 1" from Jazz Train, 1998

Donald Byrd’s full-evening Jazz Train covers so much territory that it is represented here by two short excerpts, showing both a silent group section and a dynamic duet.

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Playing 13 of 18

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Ronald K. Brown

Awassa Astrige (Ostrich), 1997

In a nod to the landmark Pillow appearance of African dance pioneer Asadata Dafora in 1942, Ronald K. Brown revived one of Dafora’s trademark solos for one special Gala appearance.

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Playing 14 of 18

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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble

Barrelhouse Blues, 1996

This early duet by Katherine Dunham was presented during the first Pillow appearance by Cleo Parker Robinson, who will celebrate her company’s 50th anniversary as part of Festival 2020.

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Playing 15 of 18

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Ralph Lemon

Solo, 1991

There are multiple layers to be mined in this solo by Ralph Lemon, which utilizes an interview with pioneering tap dancer LaVaughn Robinson (1927-2008) as its sound score.

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Playing 16 of 18

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Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder, 1990

One of the enduring classics of African-American dance, Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder finds artistry and poetry in the movement of an imaginary chain gang.

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Playing 17 of 18

Blondell Cummings

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, 1984

Seen here in her first Pillow performance, Blondell Cummings created her own unique style with roots in both sign language and photographic imagery.

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Playing 18 of 18

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