Friday, July 4, 2014
Debbie Allen graciously gave a free "Inside the Actors Studio" type visit to Philly at International House on July 2, 2014. Full of saucy humor and passion, Ms. Allen lectured on creativity, her life's journey, what it means to be an artist, her relationship with her sister Phylicia Rashād, the 18 years it took to get AMISTAD made and so much more...
The below video is just a small excerpt of her address to us lucky enough to attend this inspiring and insightful event:
Side note: I love the Blogger platform and really don't want to switch to Wordpress, but the one thing I wish Blogger had, was the ability to upload WMA sound files. I couldn't videotape the whole event, but I did digital voice record it and would love to post the entire talk.
Ms Allen is in Philadelphia to present her newest staged musical Brothers of the Knight, (July 3 - 6) a hip, rejuvenated adaptation of the classic Brother's Grimm tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
I got to attend opening night of this show, which flourishes one joyous dance scene after another, featuring a huge company of young, multi-cultural dancers ranging from ages 5 - 25. Most of the dancers are from Debbie Allen's Dance Academy, however, the show adds to the troupe from each city along the tour - Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, DC & LA.
|Lead Matthew Johnson|
#BOTK has some Sound of Music/Mary Poppins type elements. The story is about 12 brothers who are hiding their love of dance from their very fine preacher father, Reverend Knight played by Matthew Johnson. The boys sneak off every night over rooftops to a dance party filled with fast-paced choreographed numbers of every style you can imagine - hip hop, jazz, tap, ballet, swing, stomping, lindy, jive, jitterbug and more... They are back in their beds by morning, but Reverend Knight can not figure out why their shoes are constantly worn out, ripped and beat.
|Lead Vivian Nixon|
Soon a magical housekeeper/nanny (Vivian Nixon) shows up and is hired by Reverend Knight to keep an eye on the boys and figure out what's up with the shoes.
The music is written by Debbie Allen and James Ingram and Vivian Nixon is Debbie's amazingly talented daughter with husband Norman Nixon. This girl may have been born to dance even more than her accomplished mother. You really can't get enough of her lithe form and beautiful countenance on stage.
GoldStar.com has 50% off Brothers of the Knight tickets!
Tatiana is a local actress, producer, writer, director, and mother to the cutest, sweetest little girl with gorgeous hair. Ms Bacchus' aim for the event was to discuss sustainability in the arts. Anyone struggling to be a filmmaker, actor, writer, blogger, fine artist, dancer wants to know how to tap into the secret to making a living doing what we love. Of course, there's no one way, but it's great when you get to hear first hand, the opinion of someone as successful as Debbie Allen.
Part of Tatiana's vision was to have Ms. Allen critique some local artist's projects, by viewing excerpts of their work:
Writer/Director /Martial Artist - Kaloni Davis of Northstar Vision Films
Writer/Producer/Directors Nadine Patterson and Frances McElroy documentary Black Ballerina
Choreographer Michael Susten dance piece "We Insist"
These impressive examples of works in progress were presented to Ms. Allen and it was amazing how generous she was with her time and interest in each project.
See below slideshow of those mentioned above as well as those that helped put the evening together:
Debbie Allen is a prime example of someone who followed her dreams. She took her passion for dance and parlayed it into becoming a fixture in the entertainment industry. She believes in luck being opportunity meeting preparedness, but that preparation and discipline is key. She attributes a lot of her success to her mother who pushed her and her siblings at a young age to be different and excel. And most importantly, she also seems to be very spiritual and in tune with her higher self and a higher power; all of which I admire and believe in, but Debbie Allen also seems very much to be that woman we all remember from the opening credits of Fame, full of grit and intensity. I hope Tatiana has the opportunity to continue this discussion of Sustainability in the Arts, by bringing in someone equally successful, but with a lower energy, to give the rest of us who can't be a Debbie Allen some hope.
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