PRAISE! DANCE HARLEM

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Bethel Gospel Assembly One Accord

LaSharn Patt responded to the vision God gave her to form a dance ministry at Bethel Gospel Assembly in 2000. One Accord Dance Ministry, which was launched with 10 adults ages 18-49, was created with the shared desire to honor the Lord in a way that brings culture and faith together in a beautiful marriage that focuses on dancing for “An Audience of One.” This vibrant Christ centered dance ministry has expanded to include four additional groups:
Angels of One Accord (girls ages 4 – 11), One Accord Juniors (youth ages 12-17),
Sons of One Accord (boys ages 5 – 15) and the Silver Saints in Praise, (men and women ages 50 and up). The vibrant dance ministry has grown to more than 80 members. One Accord has ministered at various churches, cultural events and concerts throughout New York and New Jersey. Their most recent mission was to minister to the people of St. Maarten.

Master Mime Ministry from Church of the Master

The Master Mime Ministry was established at The Church of the Master in 2002. Although it was established at the church, the group is community-based and currently consists of members of Church of the Master and Memorial Baptist Church. The members are committed to spreading the Word of God throughout the five boroughs and abroad. The ministry has delivered dance in various churches from Harlem to as far away as Florida. Master Mime organized “The Meeting of the Mimes” which was a celebration of dance performed by a wide array of church mimes and liturgical dancers. The ministry is dedicated to using gospel music and the art of mime as a preaching tool to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. They pray that when they move in mime, people are touched, healed and delivered.

Theara Ward

Theara Ward began her career as a “baby ballerina” with Dance Theatre of Harlem at age 13. She started her musical theatre career in CATS Paris. Broadway credits include: Black and Blue, Crazy For You and she was featured as the Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. She has also appeared on television and regional theatre. She co-wrote, “Vumbua!: A Journey from Africa to Hip Hop” for the Dance Theatre of Harlem training program. Theara continues her affiliation with DTH working on special projects that include the archive and curriculum development. Currently she is a teaching artist with Alvin Ailey, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Theara participated in the Genesis Writing Festival for new writers at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ and developed the script for her one woman show, From The Heart Of A Sistah- A Choreopoem which was produced Off-Broadway at The Triad in New York.

DANCE HARLEM AT MARCUS GARVEY PARK

Every Sunday in the early fall the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance has produced Dance Harlem, a community-based cultural event launched at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater in 2002. The exciting launch brought the Dance Theater of Harlem, Ailey II and several other Harlem-based companies and New York City artists together for a free afternoon of world class performances before an audience of over 1,000 dance enthusiasts. The annual Dance Harlem has featured renowned choreographers and companies, including Marlies Yearby who received a Tony nomination for choreographing “Rent” and the Philadelphia based Philadanco which performed “Suite Otis” that was choreographed by Dance Harlem emcee George Faison, the Tony Award winning choreographer for the Broadway hit, “The Wiz”.

Dance Harlem reintroduced free outdoor dance performances in Harlem after almost a 35-year hiatus. It brings together on stage, artists from the Harlem community with other New York-based dance makers in a program that presents the pulse, passion and direction of contemporary dance in New York City. In addition to bringing art and community together to provide opportunities for artists, the event builds new audiences for dance.

The annual Dance Harlem festival fills the park’s amphitheater with an audience of more than 2,000. The Alliance expanded Dance Harlem to two days and launched a liturgical dance festival in 2008. This festival included seven liturgical dance groups from local Harlem churches and other churches located in and around New York City.

The Alliance was organized in 1999 to attract capital funds for park improvements, to engage neighborhood stakeholders to work for the revitalization of the park and to attract park programs that increase usership. Since its formation, the Alliance has attracted over $16 million in capital funds, organized numerous community events and park clean-ups, and supported arts and cultural programming that has made the park a popular arts and cultural destination.

The Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater was opened in 1970 and was a gift from American composer Richard Rodgers, who grew up across from the park in the early 1900s. One of the major goals of the Alliance — to attract enough funds to revitalize the Amphitheater – was realized when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that $4 million had been allocated from the Capital budget and $1 million had been donated by the Richard Rodgers Family Foundation for the revitalization of the Amphitheater. Another $2.5 million was donated by the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Person Inez Dickens. This outdoor performance space suffered from vandalism and neglect during a period when the park was under utilized. Events like Dance Harlem, and other cultural events the Alliance has attracted to the park have drawn new audiences to the park and created the demand for a state-of-the-art performance space.

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