Koresh Dance Company will unite dance innovators, audience favorites, and emerging artists this summer when it presents 33 dance companies in its 3rd annual Come Together Dance Festival at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia. The festival, which began in 2013, celebrates the diversity, creativity, and technical excellence of Philadelphia’s dance community. From July 22nd through the 26th, 5 mixed programs will stage an eclectic range of styles, juxtaposing genres from hip hop, tap, and jazz to ballet, modern, contemporary dance, acrobatic physical theater, and traditional African and Indian dances.
Koresh Dance Company aims to increase access to dance and awareness of the city’s rich movement cultures by assembling these styles in a single festival. In 2013, the Dance Journal called this effort “a rousing success” that “reflected a healthy, diverse Philly dance scene.” Philadelphia Weekly hailed the 2014 festival as “tak[ing] the art to a whole new level.” Representing many of the city’s most established companies alongside its younger talent, the festival has also been called a taste of “serious Philly flava” (The Dance Journal). In 2014, the festival attracted audiences from 12 states and from across the city of Philadelphia. It is anticipated that over 1,500 people will attend this year’s festival.
Over 70 dance companies were either invited or applied to participate in the 2015 Come Together Dance Festival. The final roster of 33 companies (9 more than in 2014) includes internationally acclaimed Philadelphia companies PHILADANCO!, Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble, Rennie Harris Puremovement, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Raphael Xavier, and Kun-Yang/Lin Dancers. The festival will also feature up-and-coming choreographers, as well as talented young dancers from the Rock School for Dance Education, the University of the Arts, and the Koresh Youth Ensemble.
This year, for the first time, Koresh Dance Company welcomes national guests to the festival: 10 Hairy Legs (Highlands Park, NJ), Ballet Inc. (New York, NY), and Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theatre, led by Donald Byrd. Byrd has achieved international visibility for his creation of the Harlem Nutcracker and his choreography for the Broadway smash The Color Purple. He has created over 80 modern dance works for his own groups as well as for the Alvin Ailey Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and PHILADANCO!, and has choreographed for classical companies including Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater.
Spectrum Dance Theater’s participation in the festival includes a homecoming for dancer Blair Elliot, who received her B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Before joining Spectrum, Elliot studied intensively with Roni Koresh (Koresh Dance Company’s Artistic Director) and Melissa Rector (Assistant Artistic Director), both at the University of the Arts and at the Koresh School of Dance.
The Come Together Dance Festival attracts support from foundations dedicated to artistic and cultural development. In 2014, the PNC Foundation supported the festival with a PNC Arts Alive grant awarded to only 21 organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region that year. The William Penn Foundation, which fosters rich cultural expression throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, also supports Come Together as part of its goal to promote collective engagement with thought-provoking, creative material. This year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced its support for the 2015 festival with a $15,000 grant. Whole Foods will sponsor the festival’s invitation-only VIP reception on opening night.
Koresh Dance Company’s Roni Koresh values collaboration, and launched the Come Together festival with his brother, Executive Director Alon Koresh, in order to provide a platform for networking and mutual support in the dance community. Hip hop artist, photographer, and filmmaker Raphael Xavier, who has performed in both previous festivals, calls Come Together “a great opportunity” for dancers to motivate each other and learn from one another’s craft. “I was inspired by other artists’ work,” Xavier says. “It made me realize I have to keep pushing towards a high standard of performance art and dance.”
Since emigrating from Israel to the United States, Roni and Alon Koresh have been active in the Philadelphia dance scene for nearly 25 years. They both recall the moments of artistic solidarity that furnished their early opportunities in the city—foundations that led to the establishment of the Koresh Dance Company and the Koresh School of Dance in the early 1990s. The Koresh brothers believe that now it is their turn to contribute performance opportunities at no cost to the city’s young and innovative choreographers, and to bring its luminaries together to celebrate dance and promote art in Philadelphia.
Special festival events open to the public will include a complimentary opening night toast, 3 audience talk-backs with artistic directors, 4 dance workshops with visiting festival choreographers at the Koresh School of Dance, and a closing night happy hour. Koresh is also partnering with Philadelphia Dance Day 2015 to offer a free adult beginner hip hop class during the festival week on Saturday, July 25th.
PERFORMANCE & EVENT DETAILS
FEATURING Spectrum Dance Theater +Donald Byrd, 10 Hairy Legs, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Koresh Dance Company, Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, PHILADANCO!, Raphael Xavier, Rennie Harris Puremovement
WITH AJ Garcia-Rameau, Alchemy Dance Company, Anne-Marie Mulgrew Dancers and Co., Ballet Inc., Chisena Danza, The Clutch Collective, Connolly & Co., Evalina (Wally) Carbonell, Face Da Phlave Entertainment/Theatre, idiosynCrazy productions, Just Sole Street Dance Theatre, Kareem Goodwin, Kat J. Sullivan, Katrina Atkin, Koresh School of Dance in a work by Melissa Rector, Koresh Youth Ensemble, Matthew Soojian, Project Moshen, Putty Dance Project, The Rock School, Sakshi Productions, Sanbrooka Productions, SHARP Dance Company, Tara Madsen Dance
Wednesday, July 22, 7:30pm
Special Event: 7:00pm, Opening Night Toast with Roni Koresh
Performing: Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Chisena Danza, Koresh Dance Company, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, PHILADANCO!, Raphael Xavier, Spectrum Dance Theatre by Donald Byrd
Thursday, July 23, 7:30pm
Special Events: 6:30pm, Happy Hour; Post-Show, Talk-back with the Artistic Directors moderated by dance and culture scholar Brenda Dixon Gottschild
Performing: AJ Garcia Rameau, Alchemy Dance Company, The Clutch Collective, Connolly and Co., Evalina (Wally) Carbonell, Face Da Phlave Entertainment/Theatre, Koresh Dance Company, Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble, Rennie Harris PureMovement, Sakshi Productions
Friday, July 24, 8pm
Special Events: 7:00pm, Happy Hour; Post-Show, Talk-back with the Artistic Directors
Performing: Anne-Marie Mulgrew Dancers & Co, Just Sole Street Dance Theatre, Matthew Soojian, Koresh Dance Company, Putty Dance Project, Rennie Harris PureMovement, Sanbrooka Productions, SHARP Dance Company, Tara Madsen Dance
Saturday, July 25, 8pm
Special Events: 7:00pm, Happy Hour; Post-Show, Talk-back with the Artistic Directors
Performing: 10 Hairy Legs, Koresh Dance Company, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, PHILADANCO!, Raphael Xavier, The Rock School
Sunday, July 26, 7pm
Special Events: 6:00pm, Closing Night Happy Hour; Post-Show, Open Cast Party at Sofitel (120 S. 17th St)
Performing: Ballet Inc., Brian Sanders’ JUNK, idiosynCrazy productions, Kareem Goodwin, Kat J. Sullivan, Katrina Atkin, Koresh Dance Company, Koresh Youth Ensemble, Project Moshen
KORESH DANCE COME TOGETHER DANCE FESTIVAL
Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street (Broad & Lombard), Philadelphia, PA 19146
TICKETS: $35, Seniors $30, Students $25, 2 nights for $49 or 3 nights for $69
http://philadelphiatheatrecompany.org/tickets or call box office at 215.985.0420
Workshop Series Schedule:
Tuesday, July 21 from 12:30-2:30pm – Breaking – all levels – lead by Raphael Xavier
Wednesday, July 22 from 12:30-2:30pm – Indian Dance – all levels – Sakshi Pruductions
Thursday, July 23from 12:30-2:30pm – Modern Jazz – advanced – Koresh Dance Company
Friday, July 24 from 12:30-2:30pm – Contemporary Ballet – advanced – Ballet Inc.
Saturday, July 25 from 2:00-3:30pm – Hip Hop – beginners – Tyger B, Koresh School of Dance
Workshop Location: Koresh School of Dance, 2002 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Register: $25 per workshop (July 21-24); FREE (July 25) Contact: Haley Bradstreet at [email protected] or 215-751-0959