poster for Jade Solomon Curtis's Black Like Me

Dance in Albany Series Kicks Off with Jade Solomon Curtis and “Black Like Me”

The performing arts centers at the University at Albany and The Egg are pleased to present Jade Solomon Curtis/Solo Magic in Black Like Me: An Exploration of the Word N████ as the first presentation in the 2019-20 Dance in Albany series.  The performance will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 7:30pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown University at Albany campus located at 1400 Washington Avenue.  


Jade Solomon Curtis is a Seattle-based choreographer/dance artist interested in the body as an artifact of memory, space and time. She integrates classical and African-American vernacular movements with mixed media and Hip Hop culture.  Her works ponder tradition and reinvention, social justice, social constructs as well as intuition and logic - often resulting in the subversion of an idea.  Solo Magic is Curtis’s non-profit organization created to showcase her work and to facilitate project-based, collaborative work between individual artists coming together around a singular message.

Seattle Dances claims, “Curtis is a masterful storyteller. The details are direct and vital. They ground her concepts into concrete and imaginable circumstances. Perhaps it is this same intelligence that makes her choreography so arresting and relatable.”

Black Like Me: An Exploration of the Word N████ is a multidisciplinary work that explores the reverb of a single word in a global community. It considers the effects of the word - all its permutations, its history and its casual use in Hip Hop culture - and questions if it is possible to redefine a word that was intended to belittle a people. Black Like Me combines physical, verbal, visual and sonic language to tell five narratives and perspectives in a unique way, ultimately providing the singular message: the word cannot be transformed.

According to Seattle Dances, “[Curtis] is just as articulate and passionate in speech as she is on the stage, and her thoughts on the infamous racial slur are compelling.”

Prior to the UAlbany performance, Curtis premiered her work internationally at the Seoul International Dance Festival in South Korea. Following the UAlbany engagement, Black Like Me will tour to the Chan Centre for the Arts in Vancouver, Montgomery College in Maryland, Monmouth University in New Jersey and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee.

Curtis is a recipient of the 2018 New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project. She is a 2018 Artist Trust Fellow and a 2017 University of South Carolina Inaugural Visiting Fellow. Curtis received the 2017 Seattle Office of Arts & Culture CityArts Project Award and the 2017 4Culture Artist Project Award. Her work has received support from the Bossak-Heilbron Charitable Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Artist Trust, Central District Forum for Art & Ideas (Showing Out: Seattle Black Choreographers), and 4Culture. Curtis is a 2019 artist-in-residence at SLIPPAGE Lab at Duke University, a 2018 Base Experimental + Art artist-in-residence, and a 2017 Velocity Dance Center artist-in-residence.  A celebrated soloist of Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater for four seasons, Curtis is the subject of an Emmy Award-winning short film, Jade Solomon Curtis directed by Ralph Bevins.

The performance of Black Like Me: An Exploration of the Word N████ is part of the 400 Years of Inequality observance that is happening this fall at the University at Albany in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans sold into bondage in North America.  A full schedule of programming can be found at www.albany.edu/400years.

This engagement is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Additional support is provided by the University at Albany Foundation, Office of Intercultural Student Engagement and University Auxiliary Services.

Advance tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.  Individual tickets are also available through The Egg Box Office or on-line at www.theegg.org.

Dance enthusiasts have the opportunity to purchase a package with a ticket to each performance in the Dance in Albany series for $120, a savings of almost 40% the individual prices.  Subscriptions that include six and four performances are also available at a savings of 20% and 10%, respectively. Dance in Albany packages are available only through The Egg Box Office. They may be purchased in person at the Empire State Plaza location, by telephone at (518) 473-1845 or on line at www.theegg.org.

Upcoming performances in the Dance in Albany series include Philadanco (October 25), Parsons Dance (November 8), Kyle Marshall Choreography (February 15), Flex Ave. (February 28), Garth Fagan Dance (March 27), David Dorfman Dance (April 24), Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (May 9) and Doug Varone and Dancers (June 12).

In addition to the public performance of Black Like Me: An Exploration of the Word N████, Curtis will also perform the work in two morning matinees on October 21 and 22 which will be attended by over 800 area high school students.  These performances are sold out but educators are invited to sign up for the waiting list by contacting the UAlbany Performing Arts Center at (518) 442-5738 or [email protected]

 

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