Muntu Dance Theatre readies for 2011 summer concert and gala

The world premiere of new works by renowned choreographers, Reggie Wilson and Theo Jamison, highlight This Far by Faith, an exciting and colorful evening of dance hosted by award-wining Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago on July 16 at Harris Theater in Mill

The world premiere of new works by renowned choreographers, Reggie Wilson and Theo Jamison, highlight This Far by Faith, an exciting and colorful evening of dance hosted by award-wining Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago on July 16 at Harris Theater in Millennium Park. The spectacular celebration of the human spirit’s resilience is led by Amaniyea Payne, Muntu’s artistic director. The company performs authentic and progressive interpretations of contemporary and ancient African and African American dance, music and folklore.

The dynamic company brings its audiences out of their seats and into the aisles with its unique synthesis of dance, rhythm and song. Muntu is highly regarded for its innovative repertory, preserving traditional African dance while creating new works that build on African, Caribbean and African American cultural traditions. Its core programs include professional performances both at home and abroad, comprehensive community arts programs, classes for the public and professional training for emerging new young artists.

Adult concert tickets are $25, $35 and $50; seniors and students, $15; children under 12, $10; concert and gala reception, $175. To get tickets: call (312) 334-7777; go online at www.harristheaterchicago.org; visit the box office, 205 E. Randolph; for group rates of six or more, call (773) 241-6083; or call Barbara Pace Moody, (773) 241-6086. Sponsors: JP Morgan Chase, Boeing, ComEd, NBC Chicago, National Endowment for the Arts, The Collins-King Family, Sandra and Deven Rand, U.S. Cellular, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, Urban Partnership Bank, Ill. Arts Council and City Arts.

Heartiest Congrats – to a trio of fav-o-rite media pals, Kathy Chaney, Wendell Hutson and Tim Jackson, who each walked away with a “first place” award during the Annual Convention of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (The Black Press) in Chicago last week. Kathy and Wendell’s reporting honors, the Messenger Awards presented by MillerCoors. (Kathy also “placed” in a second category) Tim, the Defender’s editorial cartoonist, received a “first place” Merit Award from the NNPA Foundation “for best editorial cartoon.” Whoopie!

Hats Off – to Kevin Neilson Givens on receiving the Delta Institute’s coveted Partner in Change Award “for efforts in increasing the level of sustainability within Cook County government through energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction and waste reduction initiatives.” Under his direction, the county’s $12.6 million allocation of federal Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant money has been used to audit and/or retrofit numerous residential, commercial and municipal facilities with energy efficient lighting, HVAC upgrades, windows, waste conversation and renewable energy technologies. Kevin has bachelor’s degrees in physics and mechanical engineering and a masters’ degrees in business administration and information technology. Whoa!

Newsy Names – Abena Joan P. Brown, co-founder, president and producer of eta Creative Foundation for 40 years until this past March, will be honored by eta Foundation at a tribute roast and gala on Sept. 10, celebrating her work in building eta into one of the country’s premiere African American cultural institutions … Condolences to a dear, dearer, dearest pal, Barbara Sims Bell, on the passing of her beloved mom, Marge Sims, who “back in the day” was co-owner along with her hubby, Melvin, of one of the most popular night-spots in our town, the Kitty Kat Klub. Services will be July 6 at St. Mark United Methodist church, 8441 S. St. Lawrence. The prepast breakfast and wake will start at 10 a.m, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. … Congrats to Glenn Reedus, Chicago Crusader editor and South Suburban News publisher, and Michelle Thomas, a Cook County deputy public defender in the Forensics Division. The coo-some twosome are tying the marital knot on Saturday during a destination wedding ceremony in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, at the elegant oceanfront Gallows Point Resort adjacent to Cruz Bay

… Happy b’day to Mel Hopson, Lester McCarroll, Glenn Reedus, Gale Foster Farley, Ann Hinton, Carl Smith, Nate Ward, Joyce Owens, Cedric McKay, Morgan Proctor, Bill Parrish, Rita Warford, Zondra Hughes, Henry Barefield, John Ruffinn, Sam Chapman, Harold Kelley, Kathy Pilcher, Homer D. Franklin, Maria Jossey Owen … Iris McCain, popular hair stylist, nail technician, licensed cosmetology educator, keratin specialist and more, now heads Chicago Hair Taming Services, a natural protein-based, non-chemical, re-conditioner and salon-quality treatment that promises to tame frizzy unmanageable tresses “from frizzy to fabulous.” Iris and her staff of traveling licensed cosmetologists can provide their services in the comfort of your home. Visit www.ChicagoHairTaming.com for more info, testimonials and untouched photos or call (773) 987-7783 … Ken Bedford, ABC 7’s cameraman, hosts his Afterwork Networking & Steppers’ Affair, celebrating its second anniversary at the Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph, on July 7, 5:30 p.m.- 11:30 p.m. Admission: $5 all night with a special invite; without one, prepare to shell out $10.

Music For All – The African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, July 1-4, noon to 10 p.m., in Washington Park, 55th and Cottage Grove, promises something for everyone. In addition to its signature African Caribbean acts like Soca King Machel Montano, Reggae Master Freddie McGregor and former Stephen Marley backup singer Kenny Rox, legendary Haitian group Boukman Eksperyans and Belizian act Super G, R&B lovers are in for a treat with the smooth, cool Glenn Jones whose songs, Show Me and We’ve Only Just Begun (The Romance Is Not Over) were chart-toppers. Lovers of gospel music will be ministered to in song by Leanne Fain and jazz lovers will be mesmerized by the sweet voice of Loretta Lee. They will be joined by more than 50 Reggae, Soca, Haitian, African and African American musical acts. For tickets/more info, call (312) 427-0266 or visit www.festivaloflife.biz.

Must-Hear Music – The ever-popular jazz pianist, Chicago’s very own Ramsey Lewis, and his Trio perform at Ravinia Park on July 10. Included: the Ravinia premiere of Ramsey’s new eight-movement suite, Colors: The Ecology of Oneness, which utilizes elements of jazz, gospel and European classics … And songstress Jennifer Hudson makes her Ravinia debut on July 16 … Now, if that ain’t enough for you, Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday concert at Ravinia is slated for Aug. 26. Awesome!

Classic Celebration – Chicago White Sox hosts its annual Double Duty Classic Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field, celebrating the history and tradition of Negro League baseball in Chicago and showcasing the next generation of minority baseball players. An elite group of minority high school players from across the country will participate in an All-Star game, dressed in uniforms honoring the Negr
o League’s East-West All-Star Game. Named in honor of Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, it commemorates the 78th anniversary of the first East-West All-Star Game which was played at Comiskey Park. A forum precedes the game and features a roster of speakers and prominent members of the baseball community. Call (312) 674-1009 or visit www.whitesox.com/DDC.

All-Star Honors – Mary J. Blige, singer-songwriter, record producer, actress, 10-time Grammy winner and four-time American Music Awards winner (whew!), tops the list of all-star honorees who’ll receive McDonald’s coveted 2011 365Black Award “for outstanding community service” on Friday in New Orleans at the start of the Essence Music Festival. Awards co-hosts: syndicated radio legend Tom Joyner and Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett. Other honorees: Oscar-nominated actress Ruby Dee, Radio One network founder Cathy Hughes, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous, and Henry “Hank” Thomas, one of four surviving members of the 13 original Freedom Riders, who traveled throughout the South on Greyhound buses in 1961 protesting segregated facilities at bus stations along the way. Thomas is also a current McDonalds owner-operator.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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