Celebrating the spirit of African-American dance

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PORTLAND — Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, which is celebrating 40 years of performing the world’s largest dance repertoire of works by African-American choreographers, will take the stage at Merrill Auditorium on Saturday, March 20.

The dance troupe will perform four works. The first, “J Lawrence Paint (Harriet Tubman Remix),” was choreographed by Donald Byrd, who also choreographed the 2005 Broadway production of “The Color Purple.”

The second, “Vespers,” was choreographed by the late Ulysses Dove, former principal dancer for Alvin Ailey. The third and fourth works, “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” and “Children of Passage,” were choreographed by Donald McKayle, a four-time Tony Award nominee for best choreography for such Broadway productions as “Sophisticated Ladies” and “Doctor Jazz.”

Prior to the performance, DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs will give an overview of the evening’s program and discuss the company’s commitment to honoring the spirit of African-American dance.

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The free lecture will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the rehearsal hall, with the performance, presented by Portland Ovations, to begin at 8 o’clock.

Tickets range from $28 to $38 and are $10 for students. They may be purchased at PortTix, the Merrill Auditorium box office; by calling 842-0800; and online at www.portlandovations.org.

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