By Walter Rutledge
Tony and Emmy Award winning choreographer and director George Faison will present a special re-creation of his ballet Tilt for the 36 annual Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center Souls of Our Feet: People of Color Dance Festival. The festival will take place on June 17 at 7pm, and June 19, 20 at 7:30 pm in the Kumble Theater on the downtown Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. Tickets are $15/$12 (students and seniors) and may be purchased at the Kumble Theater box office, 718-488-1624, and online at http://www.kumbletheater.org. Special ticket sale price of $10 before June 17. There is also a special $10 Father’s Day discount on Sunday June 17 for all men attending the performance.
Tilt foreshadowed the end of pinball machines and the coming age of video games. The work uses this premise to discuss a wide range of women’s issue from relationships to equality. The work was originally choreographed for the George Faison Universal Dance Experience in 1973. The original dancers were: Michelle Simmons, Claudia Lewis Lampel, Vickie Baltimore and or Charlotte Neveu. In 1975 Faison stage a new highly successful version on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater the cast was comprised of Marilyn Banks, Shirley Black Brown, and Maxine Sherman. The Ailey version, which is the best-known rendition, featured the music of Labelle, The Jackson 5 and Marilyn Banks, Shirley Black Brown, Maxine Sherman
Now on the eve of Tilt’s fortieth “birthday” the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center will introduce a whole new audience to this masterwork. In earlier renderings the men were peripherally involved, they were relegated to carrying the female mannequins on and off stage. In this new incarnation the men have a large dance role. In fact three male dancers have ingeniously replaced the set, which original consist of the round pinball bumpers.
Washington D.C. native Faison came to New York in 1966. That same year, he was chosen as Lauren Bacall’s dance partner in a television special. Faison joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1967 as a dancer and remained there through 1969. He left the Ailey Company to begin his own dance company, George Faison Universal Dance Experience, in 1971.
Faison made his choreographic début on Broadway with Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope in 1972. In 1974, he choreographed The Wiz, an all-black musical retelling of The Wizard of Oz. He received a Tony Award for his choreography, becoming the first African-American to win in that category. In 1991 Faison won an Emmy Award for his choreography in the HBO special The Josephine Baker Story.
Tilt will be performed on the opening and closing nights of the festival, Sunday June 17 and Wednesday June 20. In additional to Faison, seven other choreographers will be presented during the three-day event those include; Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions Dance, Sidra Bell Dance, DANCE IQUAIL, Dance4Nia, Francesca Harper Project, Jamal Jackson and Malcolm Low. Ticket can be purchased at the Kumble Theater box office, located on Flatbush Avenue between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street, for more information call (718) 488-1624 or at visit online at www.kumbletheater.org.
In Photo: M. De Sousa, L. Jackson, L Roberts, A Miller
Jack Vartoogian Photographer