Pearl Primus created this part according to her Zairean research. The Wedding, was supported by the journalist Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times, which writes, “[This part] is not a stylistic modernization of a African rite. One is in the authenticity. But not an authenticity adapted and translated in an agreed theatrical language. Melle Primus knew to reproduce this so particular form with a masterliness worthy of the largest scenographers.
Creation in 1960
Choreographer: Pearl Primus
Smugglers: Mary Waithe
Duration: 20 mn
Interpreters: 12 dancers, 3 musicians and 1 singer
Music: African songs and percussions traditional
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
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”.
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.
Since 2016, James Carlès has made the choice to make available to the public a selection of its videos.
Création 1960 - Chorégraphe : Pearl Primus - Passeur : Mary Waithe - Reprise James Carlès
12 danseurs, 3 musiciens et 1 chanteuse
chants et percussions traditionnels africains