Dance Theatre of Harlem is following through on its mission to make dance accessible to everyone with its program “Dancing in The Streets.” Chautauquans should get ready to learn and let loose in this interactive dance performance.
“ ‘Dancing in The Streets’ was formed to literally take dance to people,” said Derek Brockington, company artist and social media coordinator. “It’s to make it accessible, to get people moving who don’t normally move. They can actually grasp what it means to learn choreography, move your body, and to be around professional dancers.”
“Dancing in The Streets” comes after DTH’s evening performance Monday in the Amphitheater and allows Chautauquans to meet and dance with DTH artists. At 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, on Bestor Plaza, DTH will take to brick walks to perform ballet and promote social dancing. The rain site will be the Carnahan-Jackson Dance Studios.
“It’s the perfect way to signal to first-time Chautauquans that dance is something we celebrate,” said Laura Savia, vice president of performing and visual arts. “It’s a way to affirm that for longtime Chautauquans.”
This event will be one of the first “Dancing in The Streets” events the company has conducted since COVID-19.
“The entire company goes out and we do a little warm up with the audience, and then we teach them steps from ‘Return,’ which is one by Robert Garland, our resident choreographer,” Brockington said. “Then we’ll have a big soul train line that will just allow people to dance, have fun, let loose and then just feel comfortable but also learn some dancing.”
The DTH artists will teach the vocabulary and sequence of a section of “Return” that is set to “Superbad” by James Brown.
“It’s just fun,” Brockington said. “It’s a nice way to get people to enjoy themselves, and I enjoy doing it.”
This event is for people of all ages and skill levels; the dance moves being taught can be adapted to any ability.
“The dancers have a great way of trying to adapt it for anyone who’s taking a class, because we’ll have little kids, teenagers and older people,” Brockington said. “We always try to make modifications available for those who need it. We want everyone to be able to enjoy this in whatever capacity they can.”
Savia thinks that this experience is uniquely Chautauquan.
“Only in Chautauqua can you experience this world-class dancing on a Monday night and then actually join the dancers the very next day in dance in the main public square,” Savia said.