Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp welcomes Antonio Brown Dance Company | SteamboatToday.com
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Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp welcomes Antonio Brown Dance Company

Dancers, from left to right, Rebekah Kuczma, Johnnie Mercer (in air), Jacqueline Selesky, Antonio Brown, Elena Valls and Kaylin Horgan will be featured in "An Evening of Dance with Antonio Brown Dance. The show will take place at 7 p.m. at the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.
John F. Russell

If You Go...

What: An Evening of Dance with Antonio Brown Dance

When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12


Where: Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp

Tickets: $25 for adults, $20 for Steamboat Dance Theater members and $10 for high school and college students with an ID

What: Modern Dance Master Class with Antonio Brown Dance

When: 11 to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13

Where: Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp Pavilion

— Once a student and now a teacher, renowned dancer and choreographer Antonio Brown wanted to bring something new to the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp this December.

His idea started with a fairytale.

If You Go…

What: An Evening of Dance with Antonio Brown Dance



When: 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12


Where: Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp



Tickets: $25 for adults, $20 for Steamboat Dance Theater members and $10 for high school and college students with an ID

What: Modern Dance Master Class with Antonio Brown Dance

When: 11 to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13

Where: Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp Pavilion

“Originally I wanted to tap into the community, and a lot of what this camp is … is based on the youth,” said Brown, who graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Juilliard School and has worked with a number of established dancers and choreographers. “As I was sitting in my office brainstorming ideas, I found a children’s book my mother gave to me and thought back to when I came here when I was younger.”

As as result, Brown and five dancers from his dance company, based in New York City, translated images and stories from various children’s books into movement for a work that will be presented to the community at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“I feel like literature in general is not very different from dance,” said Johnnie Mercer, one of Brown’s dancers. “To me, the way you write and compose a short story or fairytale is similar to the way you make a dance piece. You state something, then you explain the story with your protagonist and antagonist — those characters are still there in dance.”

Brown and the dancers had one week to recreate the stories.

“This is an opportunity with my dancers to just dive in and create an evening of work,” said Brown. “I can give them a task, and they will just run with it, sometimes in a different direction than I would have. … It’s amazing, because they do something that’s exactly what I’m trying to say.”

Kaylin Horgan, who has worked with Brown for years, said the process of translating a story or lesson to movement involves transcending place and character and incorporating meaning through the movement, images and music.

“I think it’s important to expose kids to live dance and for us to give them a positive story to uplift and encourage them,” Horgan said. “Sometimes, we can’t articulate words to kids, but they would be able to understand through pictures or a sense of feelings.”

Influenced by a wide variety of music and his background with numerous dancers and companies, Brown mixes genres of contemporary styles and generational blends.

“In ballet, you think about fairytales that influence that, but not necessarily with a contemporary modern dance construct,” Mercer said. “So it’s interesting how Antonio is taking that story and not making it literal but still using those themes and energy of it and putting that into movement.”

In addition to the performance, Brown and his dancers will host a modern dance class for students and instructors from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.

“I want to introduce the community to the way that we generate and create material and what we do with it,” Brown said. “I just want people to have fun, and this is a process they can do on their own to make their own little dances or stories by incorporating whatever they need to.”

Brown said Saturday’s performance will include an interactive component, adding a new experience to the entire show.

“I don’t want the kids and parents to just sit and watch dance,” Brown said. “I want to get them inside of the piece a little bit to play and experience some of the things that we, as dancers, experience within a piece.”

Tickets for the Saturday performance are $25 for adults, $20 for Steamboat Dance Theater members and $10 for high school and college students with an ID. Children younger than 10 will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 970-879-7125.


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