Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dawn's Early Light - A Retrospective of American Song and Dance

On February 12, 2016, artistic directors Asha Thomas and Crystal Petit staged a magnificent performance at the American Church in Paris that paid homage to American music.

Crystal Petit and Asha Thomas
© Discover Paris!

Called Dawn's Early Light, this roughly one-hour preview vividly showcased everything from blues and Broadway to gospel and contemporary tunes. Combined with inspired choreography, it stirred my soul. At times, it even took my breath away!

Opening number
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In addition to being one of the artistic directors, Asha Thomas is the choreographer for the show and dances in it as well.

Asha Thomas
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Never have I seen such expressive light in a performer's eyes as I saw when she danced to Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me off My Feet."

Artistic director Crystal Petit is also the lead female vocalist in the show. She delivered a moving rendition of Nina Simone's "Work Song" as well as a beautiful interpretation of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" that was coupled with a powerful spoken word performance delivered by male vocalist Jua Amir.

Crystal Petit
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Jua Amir and Crystal Petit
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Amir joined the musicians on stage to give a rousing performance of Tracy Chapman's "Talkin bout a Revolution." He also dances in the show.

Josiah Woodson and Jua Amir
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Brian Scott Bagley of Looking for Josephine fame and Nicola Ayoub also shone that evening, with each dancer providing spark and fire to the evening's performance.

Nicola Ayoub and Brian Scott Bagley
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Brian Scott Bagley
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Nicola Ayoub
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Music was provided by musical director/trumpetist/guitarist Josiah Woodson,

Josiah Woodson
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pianist Daniel Gassin,

Daniel Gassin
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bassist Jerry Thompson III,

Jerry Thompson III
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Drummer Laurent-Emmanuel "Tilo" Berthelo,

Laurent-Emmanuel "Tilo" Berthelo
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and guest violinist Tarani Merriweather Woodson.

Tarani Merriweather Woodson
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The group is seeking funds to support the production of the full-length version of Dawn's Early Light.

For more information, visit the Web site

Triumphant cast
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