By Walter Rutledge
Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions Dance and Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts will present Black Buddha. The interdisciplinary choreo-theater full evening work will be offered for two performances on Friday, September 21, and Saturday, September 22; 7:30 p.m. The Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts at Long Island University’s downtown Brooklyn Center is located on Flatbush Avenue between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby Street.
Black Buddha is the brainchild of Bessie Award winner and Viewsic Expressions Dance Artistic Director Germaul Barnes. The work was inspired by a quote from Masaaki Morinada, “happiness is not simply about having calmness and tranquility. It’s discovering that within each of our lives is the great life force to face and overcome all manner of challenges and difficulties.” Barnes states, “Born into a dry, hostile environment, the young man has to develop thorns for protection, maintain faith like flowing water and yet he blooms beautiful flowers like the saguaro cactus.”
Black Buddha is the story of a young African American man’s journey in search of enlightenment. In many ways Barnes own upbringing in Phoenix, Arizona is the template. The work has incubated for over two years and the resulting choreography is more of a portrait than a biography.
The seven-member ensemble with guest artists Nejla Yatkin and Miguel Anaya share a visually striking, and slightly surreal, environment provided by Scenic Designer Harry Feiner, lighting by Holly Ko, and videographer Whitney Hunter’s projections. This contemporary sojourn will also feature the music of Olu Dara, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Quiet Village and Tina Turner.
In 1993, while a student at the School of the Arts in Philadelphia, Germaul Barnes took a huge leap of faith. He decided to not just create dances, but to create works that would be performed as a collective under his auspices. He formed a dance company that would echo his unique sensibility and appreciation for the collaborative process Germaul Barnes/ Viewsic Expressions Dance. Barnes has nurtured and developed his Brooklyn Based dance company over the last nineteen years, while maintaining a successful career as a performer. He has performed in the works of such dance giants as Katherine Dunham and Donald McKayle and for nine years was a member of the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
Tickets for Black Buddha are $22; $16.50 (students); $18 (seniors). Tickets can be purchased at the Kumble Theater boxoffice at (718) 488-1624 or online at http://www.kumbletheater.org.
In Photo: 1& 2) Germaul Barnes 3) Aaron R. White
Photo Credit: 1& 2) Courtesy of Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions Dance 3) Rodney Hurley