December 2, 2016
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NY's Riverside Theater Presents "Women Of Excellence In The Arts"


SONIA SANCHEZ, CARMEN deLAVALLADE, HOPE BOYKIN AND EISA DAVIS HOLD AN INTIMATE DISCUSSION ON THEIR JOURNEYS IN THEATER AND DANCE
 
[Morningside Heights, NY ] -- As part of its 50th Anniversary celebration and in conjunction with Women’s History Month, The Riverside Theatre is hosting four exceptional women—Sonia Sanchez, Carmen deLavallade, Hope Boykin, Eisa Davis—for an intimate discussion event, “An Evening with Women of Excellence in the Arts,” on Monday, March 29, 7:00 p.m. at the Theatre, located in the historic Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd St.), Morningside Heights.
 
“Each of these women have made a great impact in their respective areas of theater and dance,” said Jewel Kinch, Executive Director of The Riverside Theatre.  “In celebrating the Theatre’s 50th anniversary, Women’s History Month served as the ideal time to feature these exceptional women to discuss their incredible journeys.  I know audiences will enjoy hearing about their experiences first hand.”
 
Hosted by Michaela Angela Davis, “An Evening with Women of Excellence in the Arts” brings together two “ladies of legacy,” Sonia Sanchez (renowned poet and playwright) and Carmen deLavallade (dance luminary, choreographer and actress); and two “ladies of promise,” Hope Boykin (dancer, choreographer, teacher and member of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater) and Eisa Davis (Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright, actress and singer), for an intimate conversation about their journeys in the world of theater and dance.  The event will be followed by a brief reception.
 
Most often associated with the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez is an African American poet who has authored more than a dozen books of poetry, plays and books, many of which dealt with the struggles of Black America.  She has lectured at more than 500 universities and colleges in the United States, and has traveled abroad extensively to read her poetry.  Among the many honors she has received are the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from the Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
 
Carmen deLavallade is an accomplished dancer who had her start in New York City with the Lester Horton Dance Theatre and subsequently made her Broadway debut with Alvin Ailey in House of Flowers.  She has appeared in a number of films for Twentieth Century Fox including Carmen Jones (1954), in which she danced with Ailey and Jack Cole.  DeLavallade was a principle dancer with the Metropolitan Opera, a guest artist with American Ballet Theater, a soloist with the New York City Opera and taught movement classes for actors at Yale—eventually becoming a member of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard.  She has choreographed for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joyce Trisler, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a number of operas, including the landmark production of Porgy & Bess at the Metropolitan Opera House.
 
        Hope Boykin, currently a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, is a three-time recipient of the American Dance Festival’s Young Tuition Scholarship.  She attended Howard University and while in Washington, DC she performed with Lloyd Whitmore’s New World Dance Company.  Boykin was a student and intern at The Ailey School, where she was assistant to the late Talley Beatty and an original member of Complexions.  She was also a member of Philadanco and received a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award.  In 2005, she choreographed Acceptance In Surrender in collaboration with Abdur-Rahim Jackson and Matthew Rushing for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  Most recently she choreographed Go In Grace with award-winning singing group Sweet Honey In The Rock for the Company’s 50th anniversary celebration.
 
        Eisa Davis was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, now published by Samuel French, and she wrote and starred in Angela’s Mixtape, named a best of 2009 by The New Yorker.  Other plays include The History of LightPaper Armor, Umkovu, Six Minutes, Warriors Don’t Cry and Hip Hop Anansi.  Davis was a resident playwright at New Dramatists, where she won the Helen Merrill Award, and the Whitfield Cook Award, among others.  As an actor, her recent work includes an Obie Award-winning performance in the Broadway rock musical Passing Strange, now a film directed by Spike Lee, and her role in the film Welcome to the Rileys opposite James Gandolfini (Sundance).  She also played as Bubbles’ sister on The Wire, is a repeat offender on Law and Order (the flagship and SVU), and has guest starred on Damages and Mercy.
 
“An Evening with Women of Excellence in the Arts” is part of a year-long schedule of compelling and engaging programming being presented by the Theatre in celebration of its 50th anniversary.  Under the theme of “From Legacy To Promise,” anniversary programming will honor the Theatre’s past and the contributions of the artists who have brought powerful and inspiring work to its stage—providing the fertile ground for a new generation of promising innovators. 
 
Tickets to attend “An Evening with Women of Excellence in the Arts” are $10 and can be purchased at the Riverside Theatre box office or at http://www.theriversidechurchny.org/theatre/index.php.  For more information, the public can call 212-870-6784.
 
Originally named the Cloister Theatre, The Riverside Theatre was founded in 1960 on the belief that the arts can be a transforming power in peoples’ lives and is committed to serving as a catalyst for cultural connections and social change.  The Riverside Theatre, located at the historic Riverside Church, produces work that promotes and deepens cultural and social awareness.  Highlights from the past ten seasons have included: the Katherine Dunham Tribute in honor of her 96th birthday; the Clark Terry Tribute hosted by the late Ossie Davis, with special guests Bill Cosby, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Reeves, Nicholas Payton and Jon Faddis; the screening of The Rise & Fall of Jim Crow, in collaboration with Thirteen WNET and the National Council for Community & Justice; and the play Woza Albert!, in association with New Heritage Theatre.
 
# # #
 
 
Gladwyn Lopez
Vice President
Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
1345 Avenue of the Americas, 30th Fl.
NY, NY 10105
P: 212-843-9231
F: 212-843-9200
 



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