Skip to main content
Back to search
  • Add to playlist

Hard Times Blues

Centre chorégraphique James Carlès 2012 - Director : Carlès, James

Choreographer(s) : Primus, Pearl (United States) Carlès, James (France) Waithe, Mary

Present in collection(s): Maison de la danse

Video producer : Primus, Pearl

en fr

Hard Times Blues

Centre chorégraphique James Carlès 2012 - Director : Carlès, James

Choreographer(s) : Primus, Pearl (United States) Carlès, James (France) Waithe, Mary

Present in collection(s): Maison de la danse

Video producer : Primus, Pearl

en fr

Hard Times Blues

Created in 1945 by Pearl primus, this solo is choreography on a song referring to the sharecroppers and interprets by the singer of folksong Josh White.
This solo was transmitted to the company James Carles, by Mary Whaite, assistant of Pearl Primus.


Choreographer: Pearl Primus, 1945
Transmission: Mary Whaite
Interpretation company James Carlès: Saint Louis Rhino

Primus, Pearl


Pearl Primus was born in Trinidad and grew up in New York. An artist dedicated to African heritage, she combined anthropology and choreography to help break down the terrible racial barriers that were on her path. In 1941, she was granted a scholarship for the New Dance Group’s Interracial Dance School. Two years later, she launched her professional career with her first solo dance recital.

Pearl Primus frequently stigmatized racism in her choreographies. 'Strange Fruit' (1943) dealt with lynching. 'Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore' (1979) was a response to the 1963 racist bomb attack against the Baptist Church on the 16th Street which killed four young Afro-American girls. Among her other notable works, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' (1943) and 'African Ceremonial' (1944) are well worth mentioning. Pearl Primus also created choreographies on Broadway, in particular for 'Caribbean Carnival' (1947) and 'The Emperor Jones' (1947).

In 1948, she obtained a grant to make an important research trip to Africa to study the traditional dances of the African continent. Upon her return to New York, she opened the Pearl Primus School of Primal Dance. At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, she lived in Africa. Hand-in-hand with her husband, Percival Borde, she founded the Konoma Kende Centre in Liberia, the first traditional performance arts centre in Africa.

Upon their return to the United States, Pearl Primus and Percival Borde opened the Primus-Borde School of Dance. Pearl Primus graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy from New York University in 1978 and set up the Pearl Primus Dance Language Institute the same year. She also taught in several post-secondary institutions, in particular Howard University, New York University and the Five College Consortium in Massachusetts.

Source : Arts Alive National Arts Centre

More information

Carlès, James

James Carles is a choreographer, researcher and lecturer. He received initial training in dance and music of Africa and its Diaspora and then trained with the great names of modern dance in New York and London mainly. Since 1992, he hired an artistic and analytical approach that explores the “places junctions” between the dances, rhythms and philosophies of Africa and its Diaspora with technical and western thoughts frames. To date, his company’s directory contains more than fifty pieces of his own creation and authors like Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Talley Beatty, Asadata Dafora, Geraldine Armstrong, Rick Odums, Wayne Barbaste, Carolyn Carlson, Robyn Orlin, etc.

Dancer soloist and outstanding performer, James Carles was performer and artistic collaborator for not only numerous “all music” ranging from Baroque to contemporary music, through jazz; but also choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Robyn Orlin, Rui Horta, Myriam Naisy, etc.

Artist associated with Astrada- Jazz In Marciac 2012-2014, research associate in the laboratory of the University LLA Créatis Jean Jaures Toulouse, James Carles is particularly invests in heritage projects for diversity and diffusion of choreographic culture. He is also founder and artistic director of the festival “Dances and Black Continents”.

Waithe, Mary

Mary Waithe began her career as a dancer in the 1950’s in the African-Carribean dance Company of Pearl Primus. She continued to dance with this company through the 1980’s on some of the most prestigious stages in America. Recognized for her social involvement, today she is legitimately invested in the preservation of the pieces choreographed by Pearl Primus.

Rhino, Saint Louis

Originating in Martinique, he begins the dance jazz with the CERMAC and with Karl Galym, then knows the first waves of the hip-hop by 1985. Unceasingly wanting to defy the limits of the body, he follows a formation of gymnast and courses of martial arts. As of its arrival in France, he decides to continue its activities while evolving more to the dance. The meeting with James Carles and Gérard Lavie is revolving which enables him to launch out completely in the universe of the dance and to undertake a thorough formation in classic, contemporary, jazz, African and hip-hop. Interpret for Eric Castry and James Carles (Modern/Jazz), Company "la baraque" (Contemporary), West Side Story and Hair, he teach today in the Center James Carlès.

Carlès, James

Since 2016, James Carlès has made the choice to make available to the public a selection of its videos.

Company James Carlès Danse & Co

The Company James Carles work to the valuation of dance forms from the social traditions and popular in the West. In 1998 James Carles created the dance center and the festival “Dance in Toulouse” showcase this unusual approach, the festival “Dance and Black Continents” established in 2007, is an extension.

In his creations, the company tends to confront various choreographic cultures to other art forms. It also has operations around the research, conservation, transmission, distribution and public awareness.

In 2015 the company changes its name and becomes the Dance Company Carles James & Co.



Hard Time Blues

Choreography : Pearl Primus Création : 1945 - Reprise en 2009 par : James Carlès - Transmission : Mary Whaite

Interpretation : Interprétation compagnie James Carlès : Saint louis Rhino

Video conception : Centre chorégraphique James Carlès

Our videos suggestions

Salida [transmission 2015]

Le Batard, Anne (France)

  • Add to playlist

East Land - Cabaret nomade [transmission 2015]

Petit, William (France)

  • Add to playlist

D’après J.-C. [transmission 2015]

Diephuis, Herman (France)

  • Add to playlist

Inanna [transmission 2015]

Carlson, Carolyn (France)

  • Add to playlist

DéBaTailles [transmission 2015]

Plassard, Denis (France)

  • Add to playlist

Roman Photo [transmission 2015]

Charmatz, Boris (France)

  • Add to playlist

Sehnsucht [transmission 2015]

Waehner, Karin (France)

  • Add to playlist

[Sous le signe de] St Georges [transmission 2015]

Chopinot, Régine (France)

  • Add to playlist

Urban Ballet [transmission 2015]

Égéa, Anthony (France)

  • Add to playlist

Gueule de loup [transmission 2015]

Bastin, Christine (France)

  • Add to playlist

Haru no Saïten, un sacre du printemps [transmission 2015]

Murobushi, Kô (France)

  • Add to playlist

Rosas danst Rosas [transmission 2015]

De Keersmaeker, Anne Teresa (France)

  • Add to playlist

Récital [transmission 2015]

Merzouki, Mourad (France)

  • Add to playlist

Beast of Nonation [transmission 2015]

Carlès, James (France)

  • Add to playlist

Projet de la matière [transmission 2015]

Duboc, Odile (France)

  • Add to playlist

Satie : le ballet mal fagoté [transmission 2015]

Dhallu, Michèle (France)

  • Add to playlist

Allegoria stanza [transmission 2015]

Lagraa, Abou (France)

  • Add to playlist

Die Grüne Tisch (La Table verte, solo de la mort)

Jooss, Kurt (France)

  • Add to playlist


Wavelet, Christophe (France)

  • Add to playlist

L'après-midi d'un faune (1965)

Jooss, Kurt (France)

  • Add to playlist
Our themas suggestions
By accessing the website, you acknowledge and accept the use of cookies to assist you in your browsing.
You can block these cookies by modifying the security parameters of your browser or by clicking onthis link.
I accept Learn more