A blend of cultures performed at a free community concert at Kings Theatre on June 15. At “Dance Brooklyn! A World Celebration,” the event featured dance groups from various cultures and dance styles to celebrate diversity. Organized by East New York-based dance company Purelements, an Evolution in Dance, the company wanted the show to foster cultural connections and dance available to more people.
“We wanted to show togetherness, and I think right now we’re in a sensitive period where there’s an effort to separate us, so the glory of Dance Brooklyn in particular has been a wonderful blend of various people and cultures,” said Lakai Worrell.
He said the much needed show allowed people to explore things about one another.
“If we can identify similarities in our cultures we can expand on knowing each other better,” added Worrell. “So we wanted to showcase the possibility of people coming into the same space and celebrate each other.”
About a thousand people attended the free show, and it was their chance to experience something not often available to non-theater goers. Worrell said this allowed people unable to afford regular showings with a rare chance to see a good show.
“We like the idea of being free and sometimes when it comes to places like Kings Theatre, people will often associate it as being out of reach for particular prices,” he said. “But some people are unaware of the value of presentations that exist there, and we want to be attractive to people who know us and new audiences and give opportunity to experience.”
It was the fourth time for the annual concert, but this time at a new venue, added Worrell. He said after three previous shows at St. Paul Community Baptist Church, he and co-founder Michael Joseph wanted to expand to a wider audience and bring. Previously called “East New York in Motion,” Worrell said it was a timely change.
“We’ve been doing this in East New York because our objective is to use arts as way to enhance and change the narrative of places like our neighborhood,” he said.
“But we also wanted to make sure more people came to see this, so we felt this would be great in central Brooklyn, and this is part of our mission to reach a much larger and expansive audience.”
Worrell and his group performed three different dance pieces displaying their diverse dance styles and talent in West African, hip-hop and contemporary styles.
Other performing groups included Ninja Ballet, Asase Yaa Cultural Dance Theater, Something Positive, Allure Latin Dance Company, an Evolution in Dance, and solo performances by dancer Trent Kowalik and poet Jaime Lee Lewis.