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Krista Wilhelmsen
African American Arts Institute

Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition: Celebrating the diversity of black music and dance

Oct. 19, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute will present its annual "A Potpourri of Arts in the African American Tradition" concert on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in downtown Bloomington.

African American Dance Company

Mark McCullough

African American Dance Company

Print-Quality Photo

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and students (limit two per IU I.D.). Tickets are available at the Buskirk-Chumley Box Office, phone 812-323-3020.

"A Potpourri of the Arts" was created to bring together, in a single program, the diverse range of styles of the institute's ensembles: the African American Dance Company, African American Choral Ensemble and IU Soul Revue. This year's Potpourri encompasses music and dance from slavery to the present. The grand finale is a special arrangement of Earth Wind and Fire's "Celebrate," performed by the three ensembles.

The African American Dance Company will depict a story of black diaspora, illustrating an evolution of styles from African dance to hip-hop. The company will highlight circular configurations and circular movements, an African dance characteristic that has been carried over to the new world, including the "ring shout," one of the early African American religious musical traditions. The company will dance to African Bamayaa music from Ghana, Hubert Laws' "Amazing Grace," and Sweet Honey in the Rock's "When I Rise and Lean on Me."

The African American Choral Ensemble's program will draw from a rich and varied array from black sacred genres, ranging from the spiritual to contemporary gospel. An opening medley of spirituals, arranged by Gary Hines for Sounds of Blackness, takes the audience to director Keith McCutchen's special arrangement of "Ole Time Religion" coupled with ragtime version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." Contemporary gospel selections like "Free," recorded by Natalie Wilson and the S.O.P. Chorale, and Ricky Dillard's "Strange" merge sacred themes and gospel style with jazz, hop-hop and other styles of music representing the African American traditions.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the IU Soul Revue will perform an encapsulation of music from the early soul sound of Ray Charles ("I've Got A Woman") to the more recent sounds of Janelle Monáe ("Tightrope") and Beyoncé ("1 1"). Selections recorded by Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Bell Biv Devoe, and Sly and the Family Stone will fill in the Revue's diverse range of black popular music styles set for this program.

The African American Arts Institute is committed to promoting and preserving African American culture through performance, education, creative activity, research and outreach. For more information and a calendar of AAAI events, visit the African American Arts Institute website at or call 812-855-5427.

The institute's current executive director is Charles E. Sykes. The African American Arts Institute is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. The ensembles are credit-bearing courses offered through the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.