West& Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary
August 29th is a special day for many reasons. Not only was it the day that I was brought into this world 25 years ago, but it also marks the birthday of one of the greatest entertainers to ever do it Michael Jackson. In honor of the King of Pop’s BDAY, it’s only right that I reflect on an experience that I blessed to share with him. Twelve years ago I had the pleasure of performing apart of Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary, which took place at Madison Square Garden September 7, 2001 and September 10, 2001. The TV special aired In late November 2001 on the CBS network as a two-hour special in honor of MJ’s thirtieth year as a solo entertainer since his first solo single, “Got to Be There.” The shows sold out in less than five hours and ticket prices for the best seats were $5,000. I performed with Batoto Yetu for the opening number of the show, “You Wanna Be Staring Something,” along side Usher, Mya and the late great Whitney Houston. I still get chills thinking about that experience, which to date is still among my greatest career highlights. Not bad for a 13 year old? If you watch the following link we start dancing at the 3:03 mark (you can’t miss me) I’m center stage between two taller males killing it as the top photo reflects. RIP MJ and thank you.
West& Fall Street Style with Sirreal Photography
I had the pleasure of shooting with the incomparable Sir Dex R. Jones of sirreal photography. Embracing the beauty of the fall, I paired a pair of tapered denim washed khakis with a bold navy blue velvet vest with gold buttons and a great emblem. The pinstripe button down I felt added more character, opposed to a solid choice. My choice of a paisley necktie effortlessly makes the entire look cohesive with gold, green, and navy, orange and purple embellishments. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I threw my summer straw fedora on in attempts to get a last wear for the season. I completed the look with a pair of Allen Edmonds tasseled loafers. This was my second time shooting working with him and look forward to doing so again in the near future. He has an impeccable vision and is truly humble. Please follow more of his work at the following links!
West& Westampersand Dance Visual Commercial
Starring Jerijah West
Filmed By Dex R. Jones
Production Assistant Terry Lovette
Choreographed/Styled by Jerijah West
Music Dj Djeff feat Nacobeta, Agre G e Game Walla - Mwangolé
Photography: Dexter R. Jones
© All Rights Reserved
West& SummerStage:The Harlem Dance Caravan
This past weekend I had the pleasure of performing apart of SummerStage:The FireHouse Presents: The Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing Boundaries August 15-16, 2014. The event took place at the Richard Roger’s Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. It felt great being able to share the stage with so many phenomenal dancers. In addition to that it was a dynamic evening of dance showcasing visionary choreographic works featuring the incomparable Cecilia Marta, Jamel Gaines, and George Faison. The Harlem Dance Caravan marked the closing of the dance component of New York’s largest FREE performing arts festival.
I performed under the direction of the LEGENDARY George Faison with the George Faison Universal Dance Experience/Lotus Music and Dance. The piece was so dynamic because it featured “Nationals” in the ballet. Multiple Lotus dancers were featured including Marie Ponce (Native American), Makalina Gallagher (Hula), Ricky Santiago (Flamenco), Junko Fisher (Okinawan), and Minila Shah (Bollywood). The Powerhouse Kim Holmes and I were added to represent the Motherland (African Dance). As the opening piece it set the tone for a thrilling celebration of our diversity through music and dance. Creative Outlet and the incredible Cecilia Marta Dance Company who followed up in the show also delivered some breathtaking works that left me inspired. The packed audience was absolutely perfect and filled with energy. Some of the legends you could of caught a glimpse of in the audience included my mentors Dyane Harvey, Abdel R. Salaam and none other than the one and only Ms. Judith Jamison! I’m so grateful to have had the honor of working with the Legendary George Faison and his wonderful dancers.Harlem as always knows how host a great evening full of joy, live music and stunning art and I am so thankful to have be apart of it!
Photos courtesy Durst Breneiser, SummerStage FB Page, Maria Panina Photography and I.
West& Emancipation Day 2014 Guyana w/ Batoto Yetu
On Friday August 1, 2014, Batoto Yetu took the National Park Stage for Emancipation Day 2014 in Guyana. Guyana specifically highlighted Angola where our founder and Artistic Director Julio T Leitão is from. It was exactly 180 years ago August 1, 1834, 83,545 slaves (according to one source) were declared “free”. Emancipation day is widely celebrated in Caribbean countries following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. There is nothing like performing for a purpose. There were a few thousands of beautiful faces there celebrating this remarkable event.
Another reason why the performance was so special is because we had to represent for our guardian Angel Mrs. Lorraine Nelson while in her home country. Mrs. Nelson was B.Y late manager/ mother of the group. She truly was the backbone of the company and such a genuine spirit. We love you Mrs. Nelson and your spirit will continue to live on through us. We were able to reconnect with Mr. Nelson and his granddaughter who came to the big show. We came with a mission and gave it our all. Let’s just say I am a proud rehearsal director. This was for you Mrs. Nelson!
As the headlining dance act of Emancipation day we had a few television interviews and facilitated a dance workshop at the ACDA Headquarters. The participants were great. They brought so much energy and that Guyanese flava. That experience teaching them is a memory that I will definitely hold dearly. At Emancipation Day performance we saw several of our students from the workshop before they competed representing their villages in the parade. I had to capture those moments. They all looked gorgeous with their spin on traditional African attire. Until next time, Guyana was beautiful and necessary to help me put things in perspective. We represented like true headliners for a day that essentially represents the tenacious spirit of our people and tradition of resistance, perseverance and overcoming. Until next time Africa4theFuture.
Soaking it up in Guyana. #Happy #Dancelife #Downtime #Pool #Guyana (at Pegasus Hotel Guyana)
It felt great being able to share the stage with so many phenomenal dancers for SummerStage and Faison Firehouse Present: The Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing the Boundaries! There is 1 more show tomorrow night (8/16) starting at 7pm. This is a FREE Event so there is no excuse. I have the pleasure of performing with the Faison Firehouse Theater/Lotus Music and Dance under the direction of the Legendary George Faison. Creative Outlet and the incredible Cecilia Marta Dance Company are also delivering breathtaking works. Come celebrate the beauty of dance and leave inspired! The show is at Marcus Garvey Park, 122nd ave between Mount Morris Park and Lexington Ave. #Dancelife #Summerstage14 #GeorgeFaison #FaisonFirehouseTheater # CreativeOutlet #CeciliaMarta #CeciliaMartaDanceCompany (at Marcus Garvey Park Richard Rodgers Amphitheater)
West& Summer Street Style Stopping Courtesy of YBPlastik
This summer bold prints and a hard bottom have been my staple. This day was no exception. I completed the look with off with a classic straw boater hat. Special thanks to Yinka Parris of YBPlastik for capturing.
West& Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Batoto Yetu Part Deux
From July to 23rd to the 27th 2014, Batoto Yetu made a return to Aspen Colorado as apart of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Summer 2014 season. This was extremely special because it marked the second year, this unparalleled cultural exchange program that merged children from the renowned Harlem-based Batoto Yetu, and the award-winning Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico. Although our styles differ we both share the commonality of celebrating our to celebrate the rich traditional dances of Africa and Mexico.
As the rehearsal director for B.Y this was a great opportunity to not only strengthen bonds among our youth dancers but a great opportunity grow collectively as performers. Because we had 3 performance engagements we dedicated a lot more time to rehearsing in preparation. The fruits of the labor I’d say paid off because all 3 performances felt pretty dynamic. It’s not easy trying to get acclimated to dancing in high altitudes in the matter of a few days but our extraordinary young dancers did.
As I mentioned previously this is an exchange program. There was nothing better than witnessing the synergy amongst both groups as they conversed, taught steps and shared aspects of their cultural identity. It was absolutely beautiful. My purpose for this blog is to highlight those moments specifically. I captured several candid shots during those moments that I found to be profound. The performance was “emblematic of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s continuing commitment to preserving and providing access to dance heritage.” On behalf of Batoto Yetu I want to thank the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, JP, and Stephen for being such gracious hosts. I saw a growth within the company and that is PRICELESS.
Post from last year’s collaboration with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: