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Love: A Father’s Legacy

black-fatherBy Ruth L. Stevens

The words I was hearing rang familiar, I listened in awe: The words were flowing, he was saying, “I was so confused, my life seemed to have turned upside down. Where could I turn for direction? To Daddy! I had to see him! He could make things right for me”. Arriving home, I packed a few things and got into my car for the eight hundred mile drive. I drove all night and when I arrived home the following morning, mother met me at the door. She did not know I was coming and was clearly surprised. Almost at once I asked, “Where is he Daddy?” She said, “He is over in the back field doing some planting”. I headed for the back, he saw me coming and headed toward me and instantly I knew he would know the solution! (This was brother Bo-Jay).

On another occasion, I heard words from another’s voice saying, “I could do anything if he were there”. “I remember him teaching us boys to dive, and he would say ‘Jump’ and I would sail through the air like a bird without fear or doubt because I knew there was no way anything could happen to me with him there”. (Brother Ruben we call Jabow).

He fathered twelve children and he has twelve separate rooms in his heart. Each child left a love so deep and binding that he/she thought, “I am the special one”.

Only once did I see him in real pain, when he lost his first-born son John Charley! He was like the old oak tree with all its leaves stripped from it, standing stark and bare against a stark and cold sky. He dwelled in a space only the two of them could shard! HIS GRIEF WAS SO INWARD NO ONE DARED TRESPASS! The only time I can remember him leaving us totally!

Then one day the word came, someone saying to me, “Ruth, I have to tell you something, be strong, your father has made his transition”. I could not contemplate it. No! No! I felt myself falling, it seemed into a dark bottomless pit of nothingness—I hear another voice speaking, “I had only two friends and Daddy was number one. I look out the kitchen window and I see him and he’s gone”. (Brother T. Warren G.). The voices go on and on, all eleven of them. “Daddy said this, Daddy said that. Daddy did this, Daddy did that”. Every experience uniquely different, yet so similar.

I hear his voice early mornings, “Baby Ruth, rise and shine, the early bird gets the worm”. The joy in his voice, the sparkles in his eyes watching a new day break forth. I certainly thought I was his favorite, the special one of his brood that is until I started to listen.

My buddy, my buddy, so kind and true, My buddy, your buddy misses you.

Oh, mine papa, you were so wonderful. Oh mine papa, you were so grand!

Center Stage Fontana is casting BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO!

FONTANA, CA- Set at a Catskills resort in 1960, this is the sweetly comic story of Lois and Marge, two friends from Brooklyn in search of good times and romance over one wild Labor Day weekend. The score showcases 18 Neil Sedaka classics, including “Where the Boys Are”, “Sweet Sixteen”, “Calendar Girl”, “Love Will Keep Us Together”, and of course, the chart-topping title song.

Auditions will be held at Center Stage Theater Fontana, 8463 Sierra Ave. Fontana on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 from 7:30p.m. – 10:30p.m (by appointment)

Rehearsal begin July 6, 2015 and and continue through July 23. Rehearsals will be held weeknights from 7:30pm – 11:00pm and weekend afternoons. All rehearsals will be held at Center Stage Theater in Fontana located at 8463 Sierra Ave, Fontana, CA 92335. Performances will run Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, July 24 – August 2, 2015.

Please call 909-429-7469 ext 0 to schedule an audition appointment or email us at info@centerstagefontana.com. Please prepare 16 bars of an uptempo and ballad piece to sing in the style of the show. Bring sheet music in the correct key. An accompanist will be provided, Please wear body conscious clothing and be prepared to dance and read.

 

African-American Dance Performances to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of the Ending of Slavery

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CARSON, CA – Returning to the stage after performing to sold-out crowds, Ron Parker, Chester Whitmore, and The Central Avenue Dance Ensemble present “The History of Black Dance in America,” a spectacular multi-media dance concert showcasing the African-American contributions to American social dance (www.HistoryOfBlackDance.org). Starting from the late 1800s and progressing to the modern era, audiences are mesmerized by authentic renditions of vernacular dances such as Zulu, Work Songs, Cakewalk, Spiritual Dances, Shim Sham, Lindy Hop, Foxtrot, the African inspired Latin-American dances, plus live singing and tributes to Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. The 2015 performances were funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, and observe the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

The goal of the History of Black Dance in America is to educate the public about the black cultural influence on American social dance in exciting and entertaining way. While most of the dances to be performed are recognized as an integral part of American culture, many Americans may not know of their history. For example, the Cakewalk began as a plantation dance danced by slaves to mimic high society Whites. The dance was so amusing that plantation owners held competitions, and the winning slaves would receive cake as their prize, hence the name, “Cakewalk.” This story and many more will be told through live performances and narrated video, starting with the plantation dances of the slavery era through today.

On the significance of the presentation, HBDA director, producer, and dance historian Ron Parker says, “Vernacular jazz dance, the original American dance form, and it’s history is not performed by major American dance companies, nor is it funded by the major arts funding organizations.  If we don’t do it, no one else will.  I also like the fact that, in addition to educating the public about Black dance history, we are bringing awareness to the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S.”

The History of Black Dance in America will be performed at University Theater at California State Dominguez Hills, 1000 East Victoria St. Carson, CA 90747. Performances are on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m. General admission is $37.50, and VIP Seating is $40. Tickets may be purchased online at centralavedance.tix.com, by calling (800) 595-4TIX, or at the theater box office one hour prior to show time.