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Thunderous reception for 4 dance works

By Merilyn Jackson For The Inquirer

The Earth goddess of Philadelphia dance, Joan Myers Brown, hurled a thunderbolt of a program at the near-capacity audience in the Kimmel’s Perelman Theater Friday evening – but instead of running for cover, the crowd erupted in cheers as each of the four works ended.

It started with a vigorous sun shower, a reprise of Milton Myers’ Violin Concerto to the Philip Glass work of that name. Myers has been resident choreographer for Philadanco since 1986; this is one of my favorite pieces by him. Clad in variations of purple, 10 dancers race in diagonals across the stage to Glass’ pulse and, in a second section, stop the action with bodybuilding poses. It all ends with the lead female dancer held aloft in a fish dive by four men.

Also reprised was Cottonwool, by frequent contributor and former company member Christopher Huggins with music by the UK electronic music duo Lamb. It increased the volume and intensity of the evening to a downpour of movement. Tommie Waheed-Evans, Jeroboam Bozeman, and LaMar Baylor take turns teetering in spotlights as if to fall, while around them Chloé O. Davis, Roxanne Lyst and Rosita Davis and the other dancers skitter and speedball at high risk with never a misstep.

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- Merilyn Jackson

Merilyn is a guest contributor to the Dance Journal. She writes regularly on dance for The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1996 and writes on dance, theater, food, travel and Eastern European and Latin American fiction for many publications. More than 800 of her articles have appeared in publications as diverse as The New York Times, The Warsaw Voice, The Arizona Republic, The Phoenix New Times, MIT’s Technology Review, and Arizona Highways, Dance, Pointe and Dance Teacher magazines, Broad Street Review and www.exploredance.com.

She was awarded an NEA Critics Fellowship in 2005 and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in 1999 for her novel-in-progress, O Solitary Host. A chapter of that novel, “A Sow of Violence,” appeared in the Massachusetts Review in the Fall 2004 “Food Matters” issue. In 2012 she attended poetry workshops at Colgate University and Sarah Lawrence College, working with poets Peter Balakian and Tom Lux, respectively. Several of her poems appear in Exquisite Corpse, The Rusty Nail and Broad Street Review. She likes to say that dance was her first love, but when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although, she also writes poetry. Much of her writing can be read on her personal blog Prime Glib.

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