Our Spring poetry series at NJPAC is kicking off on Friday, March 6th! The series of 3 Friday evening events will feature poetry, music, dance, performance and conversation. Join us March 6th, April 24th and May 15th in Newark!
Get more information about the full series here. All events will be held at 8:00 pm. Tickets are only $15 each, or get all 3 for $30 by purchasing the Dodge Poetry Ticket Package here or calling the NJPAC Box Office at 1-888-GO-NJPAC.
Shuffle, Cramproll, Paradiddle and Stomp: The Rhythm of Tap Meets the Rhythm of Poetry
featuring poet Kurtis Lamkin, tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, and regional poets Marjorie Barnes, Michael Cirelli, Saeed Jones and Patrick Rosal.
“Shuffle, Cramproll, Paradiddle and Stomp” are only a few of the names of dance steps in rhythmic tap, which treats the dancer’s feet as a percussion instrument. Newark resident and world-class tap dancer Maurice Chestnut accompanies poet and griot Kurtis Lamkin and other poets in dynamic duets of poetic and tap-dance rhythms.
Read more about these talented performers:
KURTIS LAMKIN is a contemporary American embodiment of the ancient West African griot tradition, which blurs the boundaries between poet, singer and storyteller. When he performs, Lamkin often accompanies himself on the kora, a twenty-one-stringed West African harp-lute. He not only composes on and plays the kora, but he makes koras by hand. This sense of the intimate bond between performer and instrument is also part of the griot tradition. The griot, bard or troubadour has been a fixture in all cultures since before the advent of written language. The poet is seen as someone directly involved in the life of the community, and commentary on events that impact the community is not only accepted, but expected. We assume our troubadours will sing us love songs (and Lamkin certainly celebrates love) but they are also the chief chroniclers of the times. In Elizabethan England, the news stories of the day were passed on through popular ballads. Like Lamkin, the griots and bards of the past always performed this function with satire and wit. Lamkin has released a number of CDs of his work, including: My Juju (1995), El Shabazz (1998) and Queen of Carolina (2001). His newest CD is Kora Songs.
Newark, New Jersey native MAURICE CHESTNUT began dancing at the age of five. He became a professional dancer at the age of nine as an original member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble under the direction of Ms. Deborah Mitchell. He was a gold medalist in the NAACP Act-So competition and was crowned “Top Dog Performer” at The Apollo Theater. At the age of fourteen, the Newark Star-Ledger’s arts reviewers named Maurice, “one of the twenty New Jersey faces to watch for in the new millennium.” In 2003, Maurice was recruited by tap master Savion Glover to join the national touring company of the Tony Award winning Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. He has continued to work with Savion as a member of his Improvography and Bare Soundz tours, as well as performing in productions such as Classical Savion, Tappin’ Into Monk, Invitation To The Dancer and on ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars. Theater credits also include Shades of Harlem, The Wiz, and Bubbling Brown Sugar. He was one of the performers in the movie Happy Feet 2.
MARJORIE BARNES is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Union County College where she teachings writing and critical thinking. Her career as a performance poet spans the past 25 years, including the late 1980’s as a poet with Afro-One Dance, Drama and Drum Theatre and now as a NJ Poet-in-the-Schools with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Marjorie has received grants from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) to conduct a series of hip-hop/poetry workshops for performance poets in Newark, and she was also instrumental in planning and organizing NJPAC’s first hip-hop festival where she acted as guest curator and host of the festival’s poetry series, Sacred Circle Café. A recipient of artist grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Newark Arts Council, Marjorie has a poetry cd entitled, My Blues Ain’t Over Yet. Marjorie received her Bachelor’s degree in Literature from Richard Stockton College in 1990; her Master’s degree in Linguistics from Temple University in 1993, and in 2007, she began work on her doctorate degree in English at Illinois State University. Marjorie lives and writes in North Plainfield, NJ.
MICHAEL CIRELLI’s newest collection, The Grind, has been described by Terrance Hayes as “straight-forward, straight up, grace.” He is also the author Everyone Loves The Situation, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Vacations on the Black Star Line, which was named in About.com’s Poetry Picks “Best Books of 2010,” and Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard, which was a NY Times bestseller from an independent press and was featured in the “Debut Poets” issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Hanging Loose, Texas Review, World Literature Today and King Magazine, among others. He is the Executive Director of one of the nation’s largest youth literary arts organization, Urban Word NYC, and has authored two poetry curricula, Poetry Jam (Recorded Books, 2010) and Hip-Hop Poetry & the Classics. He teaches courses on hip-hop and critical literacy at New York University, Michigan State University, and the University of Wisconsin, and has also appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and Brave New Voices.
SAEED JONES, a 2013 Pushcart Prize winner, is the author of the collection Prelude To Bruise and the chapbook When The Only Light Is Fire. His work has appeared in publications like Guernica, The Rumpus, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Blackbird, among others.
Born and raised in New Jersey and the son of Filipino immigrants, PATRICK ROSAL is the author of three full-length poetry collections, most recently Boneshepherds, named a notable book by the National Book Critics Circle and the Academy of American Poets. His poetry and prose have appeared in Grantland, The New York Times, Hyphen, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and many other journals and anthologies. He is a founding co-editor of Some Call It Ballin’, a literary sports journal. A former Fulbright Fellow, he has been honored by the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award and the Asian American Writers Workshop Members’ Choice Award. His work in print, film, music, multimedia and live performance has appeared in the UK, Greece, South Africa, Argentina, the Caribbean, the Philippines, Australia and all over the United States—notably, ensemble work at the Rubenstein Atrium (Lincoln Center) and the Whitney Museum, a headline performance in Joburg, Cape Town, and Durban as part of the Urban Voices Festival, and a film collaboration with Jorge Caterbetti which screened at the Mar del Plata Film Festival. He teaches at Rutgers University-Camden’s MFA program and has taught at the Kundiman summer writers’ retreat.