As a former dancer, Joan Myers Brown had a vision to expand her youth dance instruction and provide a venue for teenagers to take their dancing to higher heights.
She also wanted a venue to showcase African-American dancers. This was in the 60s.
“I thought they would be dancing around the city for the AKAs and the other ladies groups. But those kids stayed with me for eight years. We were being asked to dance a lot so I said ‘maybe I should get serious about this,’” said Myers Brown.
As the founder and executive artistic director, Myers Brown has evolved the Philadelphia Dance Company, under the moniker PHILADANCO, into one of the premier multicultural concert dance companies nationwide.
PHILADANCO will be performing at the Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Ave. Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. The performance includes four ballets. In the first ballet, audiences will enjoy a light, neoclassical performance. The second piece is hip-hop inspired titled “The Philadelphia Experiment.” The third piece is choreographed by Ron Brown and fuses modern dance, street dance and a form of African dance called Neuroexotica. The final piece is PHILADANCO’s signature piece, “Enemy Behind the Gates.”
Myers Brown has kept her dance company rooted in the Philadelphia community with various performances, student teaching and peer-to-peer demonstrations. The visionary insists on being accessible to minority communities in particular. She also keeps dance relevant with Danco 2 (for kids ages 15 – 22) and Danco 3 (for youth and teens ages 9-15).
What also makes this repertory dance company special and stand out amongst other dance companies is its diversity and giving performances from various celebrated choreographers. PHILADANCO dancers must be proficient in various types of dancing such as the Horton Technique or modern dance, ballet, and jazz.
PHILADANCO dancers even study yoga and Pilates so when a choreographer comes to prepare a piece, dancers can adapt easily to their style.
“When I select a choreographer, I try to pick one that challenges the dancers,” added Myers Brown.
Those dancers must also go through challenges to be selected into The Philadelphia Dance Company. All Myers Brown’s dancers must require sound training, be in prime physical fitness, be someone who dances “like magic” and exudes a deep felt love for dance.
The professionalism and excellence in selected dancers continue to make the Philadelphia Dance Company a success by touring 40 weeks out of the year. Myers Brown states her company has grown in popularity due to the high energy, well trained dancers and audience-pleasing performances.
“We are very excited to have PHILADANCO in our 2009-10 performing arts season lineup. They are a rock-solid Philadelphia institution with a world-class reputation. They are amazingly synchronized and can be extraordinarily technical,” said Bruce L. Williams, vice president of public relations and marketing communications, Madame Walker Theatre Center.
Myers Brown promises that Indianapolis’ audience will see many different styles of dance, beautiful people on stage, costumes, lights and everything that goes with a successful dance production. Attendees will also see multicultural dancers at their best.
“PHILADANCO is known for presenting riveting performances that leave you on the edge of your seat. I am most anxious to see their signature piece: Christopher L. Huggins’s virtuosic “Enemy Behind the Gates (2002),” it has been compared to the famous “Revelations” piece performed by the legendary Alvin Ailey Dance Theater,” said Williams.
For more information, call the Madame Walker Theatre Center at (317) 236-2099 or visit www.walkertheatre.com. For The Philadelphia Dance Company, call (215) 387-8200 or visit www.philadanco.org.
Don’t miss PHILADANCO!
When: Saturday, Oct. 17
Where: Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Ave.
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $25 for adults and $20 for senior citizens and children ages 12 and under. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets for $10 per person.
Tickets can be charged by phone at the Walker Box Office (317) 236-2099, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com.