Philadanco – The Philadelphia Dance Company
October 18, 2008
October 16th – 19th Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
The Philadelphia Dance Company
9 North Preston Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2210
History of The Philadelphia Dance Company – text from Philadanco Website
The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) founded by Joan Myers Brown in 1970, is a modern contemporary dance company that tours nationally and internationally. For 34 years, the company has traveled the country and the world, performing before sold-out audiences of diverse people of all ages, creed, ethnicity and cultural traditions. PHILADANCO has a history of being a trailblazer, we were the pilot dance company to be part of the State of Pennsylvania, Comprehensive Education Training Act, arts training program. We were one of the first companies to hire our dancers on a 52 week salary, the first to own housing for the dancers and the first to own a debt-free facility. We are also the company which founded the International Conference of Black Dance Companies and International Association of Blacks in Dance which addresses the special needs of the African American dance community in a supportive environment, and produces an annual conference The company’s continued success can be directly attributed to our professional quality programs, which are comprised of four major components: The Professional Performing Company; the 40 week Instruction and Training Program; 6 week Summer Training program and D/2 (Danco2), our apprentice group. Each program is run at peak efficiency and includes classes in ballet, modern, jazz and African dance. The programs are taught by internationally known guest choreographers and dance teachers.
The professional company continues to consistently tour more than any Philadelphia cultural organization, performing as many as 50-60 concerts and 45 residencies annually. We reach well over 100 million people a year through radio and television broadcasts and our live audiences are estimated to be over 100,000. The New York Times critic, Jennifer Dunning stated that Philadanco is “A company of happy, invigorating contrast…a venerable institution…but has not lost its youthful verve or the freshness of its strong technical grounding.”
Over the years Philadanco has trained thousands of dancers. The impact of the caliber of training the dancers receive, reaches far beyond the local dance community. The Instruction and Training Program consists of 40 weeks of intensive training in various dance techniques by nationally renown teachers in ballet, jazz, modern and distinct techniques such as Dunham, Horton, and African. Each participant is selected by open auditions monitored by teachers, supporters and staff. They also receive free of charge, dancewear including shoes, counseling when needed and mentoring by members of the company. Instruction and Training participants experience a wide range of opportunities to learn, work and perform as well.
Beginning in 1970, The Instruction and Training Program extends to the summer in the form of the summer program held during June/July and August where younger artists ages 10-14 have the opportunity to share in the atmosphere of exceptional dance talent as the older members of the Instruction and Training Program. The younger dancers also have the privilege of attending summer performances of the professional company to experience first hand what is necessary to mount professional
Another very important aspect of the I & T program is our bi-annual ‘Danco on Danco’ concert, which we began in 1972. Each year in September the professional dancers and trainees participate in this sold-out concert that allows them the opportunity to develop and hone their choreographic, production and performance skills. The participants are responsible for creating and mounting works on their peers. After three weeks of rehearsal the dancers will present their works with a concert held at the Painted Bride. Former participants in both our Instruction and Training and ‘Danco on Danco’ programs have gone on to hold lucrative careers in the art field including positions with other well known dance companies. Past participants have come back to Philadanco as a choreographer and guest instructors to share their talents with a new generation of dancers.
Not only do youth come to our institution to learn how to dance, they also come because our facility serves as a safe-haven to youth from the community. Youth who might otherwise turn to the streets have a place to meet and participate in a structured program. The program emphasizes that the same skills needed to dance are also needed to be productive citizens. For instance, dancers must be focused and disciplined. When an individual lacks these skills it is impossible to have success in