FringeArts: The Philadelphia Jazz Tap Ensemble – Trouble the Water
September 9 @ 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm$20
The Philadelphia Jazz Tap Ensemble presents Trouble the Water, a new tap dance, movement, music, vocussion and spoken word performance diving into the social, political, and personal implications of the two spirituals, Deep River and Wade in the Water. Throughout the piece, the audience will learn the stories of three people traveling towards safety and a place of revolutionary rest. All in attendance will also be invited to join in the singing of original jazz “psalms,” written to carry us all on the journey.
The piece uses live music, tap, vocals, original text and and contemporary dance ato tell three stories of people escaping harrowing locations, (home abuse, war, a neighborhood overtaken by gun violence), through an imaginary water source. The PJTE is an intentionally small company focused on innovating the field of jazz tap dance and creating new music that brings together several avenues of rhythm, body and foot percussion. The dancers are on the same playing field as the musicians and improvisation, a linchpin of the jazz tradition, is a key part of the company work and performance. The Philadelphia Jazz Project commissioned the company to create Trouble the Water after viewing their live work “The Soapbox,” a deeply personal and rooted interpretation of Wade in the Water. Since 2020, the partnership of Pamela Hetherington and Bethlehem Roberson has proven extremely successful, as new and original works have been invited to ArtYard and Arts on Site and the company is recently recognized by New Music USA as one of a few selected companies from across the United States receiving the 2022-2023 organizational development grant. Support also provided by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
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