"Sugar 'N Spice" fuses modern dance, African steps Dover Post article (4/5/2011) by Sarika Jagtiani
Dover, Del. — Audiences will get a taste of Africa with a kicker of modern dance, jazz and hip-hop at Saturday’s “Sugar ‘N Spice,” a free performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Delaware State University’s Education and Humanities Theater.
The show is a collaboration between Sankofa African Dance Company of Dover and Pieces of a Dream Dance Theatre, based in Wilmington.
Ashley L. Sullivan-Kirksey founded Pieces of a Dream in 2007, and it remains the only professional modern dance company based in Delaware.
“We try to present dance that is relevant and meaningful to what is going on in society,” she said.
For example, at the group’s annual concert March 25, they ruminated on the existence of a higher being in a suite titled “Something Higher,” which was set to Lauren Hill’s music.
At the April 9 show, the group’s youth company P*B*2 will perform “The Snakes are Coming,” a retrospective of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding aftermath. Another favorite they’re bringing to the stage is “I Have a Dream,” an excerpt from the suite “Riot-Us Behavior” about the 1968 Wilmington riots.
Sullivan-Kirksey met Sankofa founder Reuben Salters during a program by the Delaware Division of the Arts, and the two decided to work together on the upcoming concert. Sankofa and Pieces of a Dream are working on one piece together, and then multiple numbers separately. The combined number is half African, half jazz and hip-hop.
“It allowed Sankofa’s dancers to do what they do best, and then my dancers to do what they do best,” she said.
Both companies share a dedication to developing an appreciation for dance and the arts at-large.
Salters was eager to collaborate with a professional company, both to inspire Sankofa’s dancers and to entertain audiences. He said working with other arts groups is one of the ways to continue educating about the arts while state and federal funding dries up. It also helps to provide free entertainment for audiences who also are hurting economically.
“We’re doing a lot of free stuff,” he said of Sankofa and the Inner City Cultural League. “We’re trying to keep things going while this economy is down.”
Salters hopes programs like this and others through the ICCL will boost interest in the arts, especially in minority communities.