Black Grace brings slap dancing to the Kimmel

By Ellen Dunkel
For The Inquirer

A dancer’s body is his instrument. That’s especially true for the performers of New Zealand’s Black Grace, whose bodies double as percussion instruments.

The seven short pieces on the program, which opened Friday night at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, were all choreographed by the company’s founder and artistic director, Neil Ieremia. The pieces, which blended modern dance with the movement and concepts from Ieremia’s Samoan heritage, included slap dancing – speedy patterns of stamping feet, clapping hands, and slapping the arms, abdomen, and legs. The dancers also sang, chanted, and audibly sighed.