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Choreographer Donald Byrd will present his work, Jazz Train 8 p.m. Monday, March 22, at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18.00, with a special $4 price for local dance students, and may be purchased by calling the box office at 610-330-5009.

In addition to the performance, Donald Byrd and violinist Diane Monroe will lead a free video-illustrated presentation at noon on Monday, March 22 in Room 108 of the Williams Center about the connections between American jazz and modern dance, as shown in Jazz Train. Participants may bring their own lunch–sodas and dessert will be provided free of charge.

Also, dancers from the Donald Byrd Company will lead two movement classes. The first will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 22 on the Williams Center stage for Lafayette dance students and other adult dancers (reservations required, please call 610-330-5010). An additional class will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23 at an Easton Area elementary school.

Byrd has long been considered a continuing link in the tradition of African-American dance that extends from Lester Horton and Alvin Ailey to Donald McKayle, Tally Beatty, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. His latest work, Jazz Train, explores the legacy of jazz music. In choreography marked by a seamless exploration of how music shapes movement and how dancers bring musical structures to life, Jazz Train accomplishes a similar “marriage” of African-American choreography and jazz to that achieved by George Ballanchine and Igor Stravinsky and Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein.

Described by The Los Angeles Times as “infused with power and crystalline clarity,” Jazz Train features recorded music, by acclaimed jazz percussionist Max Roach, keyboardist Gerri Allen, and the versatile guitarist Vernon Reid of Living Colour fame.

Donald Byrd started his company Donald Byrd/The Group in Los Angeles in 1978 under the premise that dance can change and enrich lives. He has studied at Tufts and Yale Universities, the Cambridge School of Ballet, the London School of Contemporary Dance, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Byrd has created over 80 works for his company and others including the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Philadelphia Dance Company. Major dances include Drastic Cuts, The Beast, and Harlem Nutcracker.

The performance is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Philip Morris Corporation with touring support from the National Dance Network.

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