“What do your roots sound like?” asked internationally acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Ayodelle Casel.
She, along with three musicians and two other young tap dancers, played and tapped their responses to open the premier of New York City Center’s new City Center On The Move project. The project’s debut on April 3 was attended by more than 200 people, who packed Brooklyn’s Brownsville Recreation Center.
The theme of roots ran throughout the performance—its title is Rooted—and Casel seamlessly wove together personal history with broader historical developments. The irresistible percussive energy of masterful tap dancing ran through it all, including when a volunteer audience member was invited up to provide accompanying vocal improvisation.
City Center On The Move drew inspiration and learned from the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit. Both initiatives are supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to increase access to first-rate artistic performances for a diversity of New Yorkers across the city. SNF has provided past support to New York City Center, now celebrating its 75th anniversary season, for its Arts Access Fund.