Jamal Jackson Dance Company to Perform at PS21

Jamal Jackson(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – The Jamal Jackson Dance Company (JJDC) will perform its work Bask in the Shade in the tent at PS21 as part of the PS21 Chatham Dance Festival on Friday and Saturday, August 15 and 16, 2014, at 8pm.

In addition, JJDC will conduct a West African Dance, Drum and Textile Workshop for kids age 8-18, which will culminate with a Friday afternoon performance as part of PS21’s weekly Just for Fun program.

“‘Bask in the Shade’ asks us to consider the role that race plays in our own self-perception, as well as the perceptions society places on us based on skin color,” said Jackson. “I want the audience to sit inside these concepts and see how their own identity has been defined or manipulated. I want them to bask in it.”

By combining traditional Malian dance with an evolved contemporary African technique, Jackson’s choreography illustrates the tug of war between traditional and modern values. “I wanted to investigate race and identity from an insular perspective, and then broaden the social circle to see how that affects one’s viewpoint,” explained Jamal Jackson. “As we broaden our perspective, the lines of these categorizations blur and more productive conversations occur about uniqueness rather than difference.”

Jamal Jackson was born in Brooklyn. His study of dance began in Harlem, led him to Brown University and Mali, West Africa, and in 2004 he founded the Jamal Jackson Dance Company. The movement and story lines of JJDC choreography focus on redefining ideas of community and blurring divisive lines, while celebrating the beauty of individual cultures. Jackson has worked with many American and African dance companies and has created work for many projects. Today the Jamal Jackson Dance Company includes nine dancers and four percussionists.

Sound, lighting and costumes are all important components of this new work. David Bengali designed the lighting, Coleen Scott created the costumes, and Frank Malloy composed the original music. “They are all tremendous artists, who created elements that develop as the work progresses,” Jackson said.

Tickets for Jamal Jackson “Bask in the Shade” are $30 general admission, $25 members, and $18 students 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased at PS21, by calling 1-800-838-3006, or at the door until the show sells out. For other information about this or any other event at PS21, call (518) 392-6121
PS21 is located at 2980 Route 66, just one mile north of the village of Chatham.




In addition to dancing and choreographing work for his company, Jamal Jackson is a teacher. This year he and members of his company are offering a West African Dance, Drum and Textile Workshop for kids age 8 to 18, Monday-Friday, August 11-15 from 8:30am-1:00pm. Workshop participants will investigate traditional West African dance, a highly expressive, physical art which aims to create interconnectedness within the community. Participants also learn about West African textile design from fiber artist Susannah White.

“While Jamal Jackson’s West African Dance workshop is one of our most successful summer  events for kids, we’re always looking for ways to improve the program,” explained Administrative Director Susan Davies. “Last year the kids were simply captivated by the live drumming, so this year we incorporated it into the workshop. We are also including in textile design to really immerse the students in West African culture.”

The fee to attend the five day Jamal Jackson West African Dance Workshop is $175 general admission, $150 PS21 members. Generous scholarships are available, and pre-registration is required.

Friday, August 15 the workshop participants will present a public performance at 1pm. (Admittance to this event is free.) The textile art created as part of the workshop will be on display at this time.

Just for Fun is underwritten in part by New York State Council on the Arts, Stewart’s Holiday Match Funds, Town of Chatham Crellin Park Rec Program, and PS21 members.

PS21’s presenting programs are underwritten in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature




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