DALLAS BLACK DANCE THEATRE
BY LARRY SIMPSON
The Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) on stage at the City College Diego Rivera Theater Feb. 7.
STEPHEN LAM / GUARDSMAN
The Dallas Black Dance Theater [DBDT] performed for a capacity crowd in the Diego Rivera Theater on Wednesday Feb. 7 for the campuses first event observing black history month. By the time the lights went down over the stage at 11 p.m. the hall was full of students and faculty, hushed in anticipation for the show titled “Thirty Years Dancing Like None Other”.
“I think mainstream America has a lot of pre-conceived notions about what black dancers do and how they move” said Melissa Young, the Theaters Artistic Director celebrating her twelfth season with the company, on their unique responsibility to their audience.. I think Dallas Black Dance Theater is different and much more unique because we surprise and surpass everyone’s expectations.
“We don’t just provide generic dance. A lot of people think black dancers are just there to entertain. We’re not just here to entertain. We’re here to educate, we’re here to inform. We’re here to expand understanding,” said Young.
For over ten years the City College has been a regular stop on the Dallas Black Dance Theater’s Northern California tour, according to Stephanie Lyons, coordinator of the Concert and Lecture Series Committee. The event is always well attended, and has earned significant following among City’s dance students.
“Our dance department students look forward to their performance every year. It’s their biggest event of the year. They especially enjoy the master’s class,” said Lyons, referring to the dance workshop which was given the next day by one of the Theaters performers.
The Dallas Black Dance Theater is rooted in the teachings of Lester Horton, who is considered one of the fathers of modern dance, and who taught such dance legends as Alvin Ailey and Harry Hay. His technique outlines a process by which the dancer forms an intimate relationship with their body as an instrument.
The show, which began sharply at 11 a.m., was nothing less than theatrical. The performance began with 7 dancers lined across the stage, in uniform white leotards posed as still as statues. Suddenly, as the sounds of up-tempo modern jazz filled the halls the dancers created a small universe of dynamic movement. One moment two dancers would be swirling with romance and violence center stage, the others pantomiming their response to the drama, the next they would erupt into stunning unified choreography.
“I think they combine stunning skill with amazing energy, said Lyons. “I’m not someone who knows a lot about dance, but their performances always move me. It’s more than just dance. There is a clear spiritual component to what they do. Some of the songs they danced to were spirituals.”
By the end of the hour long performance, the dancers had earned an enthusiastic standing ovation. The audience thinned out only slightly as the house lights came up. Many stayed behind for a question and answer session with the performers that lasted another 45 minutes.
STATE YOUR FASHION CITY COLLEGE
BY LARRY SIMPSON
Pamela Wright poses like her American Idol.
MICHAEL SMITH/ GUARDSMAN
We discovered supreme Pamela Wright strutting across campus on a sunny afternoon with cinematic confidence. With her sophisticated yet sexy ensemble she could have stepped straight off the silver screen, particularly that of a Motown era nostalgia film. Draped in a brown sweater reminiscent of Macy’s ’73, over a shimmering black top, with black leggings and dainty Steve Madden sandles
Not surprisingly the San Francisco native with a rather minimal Manhattan taste in garb, is an aspiring actress with lofty ambitions. She cites actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as her model for versatility in her craft, but admires award winning “Dream Girls” star Jennifer Hudson for vocal ability.
“There’s just something in the way her voice fills a room” said Wright, “I cried when she sang that one song.”
Suddenly she launched into a rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” that almost made the photographer weep.
Look out Hudson, next time Wright is discovered she might give her some competition for the Oscars.
Fashionable Pamela Wright, 21, fantisizes about being a "Dream Girl".
MICHAEL SMITH / GUARDSMAN
Whether or not you were lucky enough to have a Quinceanera, this movie will enlighten and completely entertain you. The film is a genuine soup to nuts
portrayal of the life of one Mexican girl and her cousin growing up in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
The celebration of her entrance into society-more like a prom, less like a birthday, complete with limos, attendants and reception afterward, captures something rarely seen outside the Latino community. Acceptance, pregnancy, and gay issues interweave throughout the story line, with redemption never more than an arms length away. Tradition is challenged and represented in a significant and substantial way. In the words of the directors "we wanted to make a sugar coated subversion." Rent it and find out if they pull it off
"MAKE-UP SEX "
Mascara, frilly shirts and a splash on 80s glam complete the eye-candy look of L.A.-based, mod-rock band Clear Static. Songs from their self-titled debut LP consist of tantalizing cheek-blushers like “Make-Up Sex” and head-bangin’/body-shakin’ stereo-blasters like “Out of Control.” Listening to their tunes live is like drinking a refreshing cup of strong, caffeinated coffee; a feeling of light-headed glee rapidly evolves into a multisensory explosion of jittery activity.
A mixture of slick electric and bass guitar, full-bodied drums, electronic synthesizer, and extravagant vocals produce this bands sound. They’ve packed all-age shows since the tender age of 11 (when the close-knit, five-male band came together in a surburban, SoCal neighborhood) and have recently toured with Shiny Toy Guns and pop-rock veterans Duran Duran. Their second album, “Good to Know You”, will be unveiled in June.