The South Dallas Cultural Center (SDCC) will wrap up its celebration of Black Women’s Month on Saturday with the debut of Evolution, a new dance/theater work by its own Michelle Gibson.
Gibson has been a gifted addition to the Dallas dance community and is one of the “not to be missed” dancers in the area. She is a resident dance instructor at SDCC, a choreographer for Six Flags/WOW Entertainment in Dallas and an educator and instructor with the Dallas Independent School District teaching grades 9-12. Hailing from New Orleans, Gibson has been educating the youth of the South in the joys of African and modern dance. And I have had the pleasure of performing alongside her at the 8th Annual South Dallas Dance Festival (Muscle Memory Dance Theatre was a featured guest artist). I enjoyed seeing her work there and enjoyed taking her African dance master class. Gibson studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Jacob’s Pillow and adds a fresh voice to modern dance. She is a remarkable dancer and an equally strong choreographer, which will be illustrated by her company, Exhibit Dance Collection, and their new work.
In her own words, Evolution is about “struggle, strength, strife … despair, power, deliberation, triumph [and] God.” It’s about our, “mothers, daughters, sisters… Madea, Auntie, Yem-aya, Oshun and Oya … who we are, what we’ve been through, and where we stand.” It’s also about the journey African Americans have made. “Since the beginning of time, [they] have been the rock whose back stands many. From the Motherland through the Mafia, thrown on the block, forced into the fields, juking to the day of dawn, fighting for civil rights and now standing in the White House, [they’ve] come so far.”
The timing of Evolution’s debut could not be any better. We’ve just embarked on the biggest wave of change our nation has felt in decades, and even though we are constantly in a state of some sort of evolution — whether it’s by natural selection, divine authority, or our own misgivings — this new change could rock us. It’s exciting and new, but are we ready for it?
Evolution debuts Saturday at the South Dallas Cultural Center at 8 p.m.. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.