The Black Choreographers Festival is back for 2006. I wrote about it in today’s SF Chronicle:

“Laura Elaine Ellis’ face is bright with energy, and her glow has more to do with innate optimism than with the sunlight pouring into the lobby at Dance Mission Theater. “It’s all about legacy,” she says, leaning deeply.

“Longevity is just part of the African American culture,” her colleague Kendra Kimbrough chimes.

“Each one teach one,” Ellis says.

“And responsibility to the community,” Kimbrough finishes.

These women know whereof they speak. Last year they took a dormant festival that had once galvanized the African American dance community and brought it roaring back to life. The Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now picked up where the discontinued Black Choreographers Moving into the 21st Century had left off a full decade earlier — and the new festival hit the ground running.

BCF 2005’s two weeks of shows, overflowing with everything from hip-hop to Congolese tribal dancing, nearly sold out. Master classes and symposia were packed with eager and intrigued dancers. The new festival turned a profit: the seed money that would allow it to thrive, not just survive.

Now it’s back for 2006, and it’s bigger. Two slates of dancing — featuring top Bay Area talent like Joanna Haigood and Robert Moses, along with hot visitors like prodigy tapper Jason Samuels Smith — will run two weekends, first in San Francisco and then in Oakland. Ellis and Kimbrough also have cooked up a Dance on Film series, a symposium and a photography exhibition. And because so many artists were clamoring to participate, they’ve created a Next Wave Choreographers Showcase for African American choreographers just starting their careers. ”

Click here for the full story.

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