Artswego season to offer globe-spanning feast of music, dance, comedy

Step Afrika in motion.Artswego at SUNY Oswego launches its 2010-11 Performing Arts Series with a free, pulse-pounding appetizer of a performance by Step Afrika, and moves on to music and dance entrees of international flair, with a side order of classic American comedy.

Step Afrika will perform at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, in the Campus Center arena. The special event, appropriate for all ages, is the first of six world-themed dance, music and theatre programs planned for the lakeside campus.

“With upbeat performances blending cultures of five continents, this season offers outstanding entertainment with a broad worldview,” said Mary Avrakotos, Artswego coordinator. “We’re excited to share these world-class artists.”

Step Afrika celebrates stepping, an art form born at African-American fraternities and based on African traditions. The first professional company dedicated to stepping, Step Afrika’s intricate kicks, stomps and rhythms pound the floor and fill the air.

Attention turns to Latin America and beyond on Saturday, Sept. 25, when Boston-based ensemble Sol y Canto joins the Sweet Plantain string quartet for a lively evening of original music that crosses borders and generational tastes. Called “Sabor y Memoria” (“Flavor and Memory”), the program celebrates regional foods that resonate in the memory. Featuring musicians from five nations, it will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

World music star Zakir Hussain appears at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. The master of Indian tabla (drums) is best known for groundbreaking projects with popular artists from George Harrison and Van Morrison to the Kodo drummers of Japan. Innovative young sitar player Niladri Kumar will join Hussain on the Waterman Theatre stage.

Jazz has been called America’s gift to the world. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 in Waterman Theatre, Norwegian-born guitarist Lage Lund returns the favor. The rising star, whom SUNY Oswego instructor Rick Balestra calls “the next Pat Metheny,” has worked with Wynton Marsalis, the Mingus band and others. He won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005.

The season takes a comic turn with Dan Kamin. Evoking the best of Charlie Chaplin, Steve Martin and Marcel Marceau, his classic artistry enchants audiences worldwide. Kamin trained Robert Downey Jr. for his Oscar-nominated title role in the Hollywood film “Chaplin.” The performance, “Funny Bones,” is Kamin’s tribute to the master of silent film, and takes place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in Waterman Theatre.

Fresh from an apprenticeship with the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, choreographer Andrea Miller makes waves on the New York City dance scene with her new company, Gallim Dance. High-energy performances and agility are Miller trademarks. Gallim ends the Artswego Performing Arts season with a show titled “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, in Waterman Theatre.

Grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts make possible the tours of Step Afrika, Sol y Canto and Zakir Hussain. New York State Dance Force, with funding from the state Council on the Arts dance program, supports Gallim Dance. The Tarandi Foundation will provide support for residency programs in Oswego and Fulton public schools for Sol y Canto and Gallim Dance.

The special performance by Step Afrika is an unticketed free event. Season passes and tickets for all other Artswego performances may be purchased at SUNY Oswego box office locations, by phone at 312-2141, or online at http://www.oswego.edu/arts.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Step lively—Step Afrika, a high-energy dance troupe skilled in the African art of stepping, provides a free show to open the 2010-11 Artswego Performing Arts Series at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in SUNY Oswego’s Campus Center arena. The series features music, dance and comedy performances from five continents, through mid-February.

(Posted: Aug 09, 2010)

Tags: world awareness, vitality, theatre, none, music, dance, artswego