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Dallas Black Dance Theater’s 33rd Season ends with Spring Celebration Series

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By Michelle London-Bell – Contributor

The 33rd season of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) ended with an extraordinary season finale, and an appearance from special guest artists of the Dance Theatre of Harlem at the Wyly Theatre. The Spring Celebration Series ignited the senses with explosive performances filled with energy, emotion and provocative pieces.


The opening piece, “Etudes & Elegy,” choreographed by Gene Hill Sagan in 1990, was quite theatrical and showcased the athletic prowess of the ensemble. “Our Honeymoon Is Over” was a premier piece (2010) choreographed by Camille A. Brown – who expressed her inspiration to create a piece as a perfect complement to the eloquent syncopation of Aretha Franklin’s music. Spirited and fresh, Camille brings a new and unique choreography perspective to DBDT.

Highlights of the program include “Journey to the One: A Tango,”choreographed by Nejla Y. Yatkin, who celebrates her 10th anniversary this year in choreography. The piece infused a Latin-Mediterranean flair with other musical cultural influences from Africa, Spain, Argentina, Turkey, and Russia. Spicy and exotic – the dancers titillate the senses with this work, which is considered by critics as one of Yatkin’s best to date.

“Lately”, choreographed by Melvin Purnell in 1980, depicted “a man and his loneliness, in his own space”, and captured the emotion of a love-lorn male. The piece was originally created in celebration of Stevie Wonder’s 30th birthday, and reprised once again to celebrate the 60th birthday of this legendary musical artist.

“The Greatest” was a sweet, beautiful ode to a love affair, with guest artists Alexandra Jacob and Frederick Davis of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, articulating emotion and grace with each movement and the counterpoint of the music.

The final performance of the evening featured a celebrated choreographer of DBDT, Christopher Huggins, who brought the crowd pleasing “Girl Power” back to the series. Originally created in 2006, the dance was definitely sexy, high-energy and very provocative. His intent was executed well by the seductive artistry of the dancers, which demonstrate “the strength of a woman,” and how women often “carry their men,” as Huggins expressed.

The series, which conveys founder Ann M. Williams’ mission of “bringing the highest level of artistic excellence through performances that bridge cultures,” ends the season with bang and whets the appetite for the 2011 season. Bravo!

Michelle Bell DSN_HeadshotMichelle London-Bell is a new contributor to Dallas South News with experience as a freelance writer.  She has a passion for fashion, the arts, and community and cultural affairs and can be reached at

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