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2019 Bates Dance Fest kicks off with hip-hop weekend

In their July 11 Concert on the Quad, renowned hip-hop dancers MaMa2, featuring duo Amirah Sackett and “B-Girl Mama” (aka Mary Mar), will teach basic moves from their respective styles of popping and breaking, while DJ Man-O-Wax spins fresh beats on the 1’s and 2’s. 

The 2019 Bates Dance Festival will kick off on Thursday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. with a “Concerts on the Quad” concert-dance led by DJ Man-O-Wax and hip-hop dancers MaMa2. Taking place on the college’s Historic Quad at Campus Avenue and College Street, this free outdoor event will begin with 45 minutes of dance lessons followed by an hour of participatory dancing.

This hip-hop-themed weekend will continue with festival mainstage performances on Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m., and again on Sunday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m., when soul-roots musicians the Reminders will join the bill. In their mainstage performances, Man-O-Wax’s global-fusion sound will frame the Reminders’ socially conscious music and the high-energy movement of MaMa2 to create an immersive experience for all audiences. The festival beer garden will be open after Friday’s show.

These festival mainstage performances will take place in air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre, located at 329 College Street in Lewiston. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $12 for students. For more information or to buy tickets, call 786-6381 or visit batesdancefestival.org.

In their July 11 Concert on the Quad, renowned hip-hop dancers MaMa2, featuring duo Amirah Sackett and “B-Girl Mama” (aka Mary Mar), will teach basic moves from their respective styles of popping and breaking, while DJ Man-O-Wax spins fresh beats on the 1’s and 2’s. 

A Chicago-based dancer-choreographer, Amirah Sackett received the Sage Cowles Award for her choreography in Brother Ali’s music video “Mourning in America.” Her love of hip-hop dance and devotion to her faith fused to inspire a contemporary dance collective called “We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic,” which is dedicated to elevating the status of women and educating the public on women’s issues.

Mary Mar has been breakin’ since 2001 and has since studied, taught, and performed hip-hop dance all over the U.S. DJ Man-O-Wax is Asad Ali Jafri, a cultural producer, global arts leader, and interdisciplinary artist with a creative vision for sustainable social change. As Man-O-Wax, he plays and blends soulful, spiritual, and funky music from around the globe. The Reminders are Brussels, Belgium-born emcee Big Samir and Queens, N.Y. native emcee-vocalist Aja Black. They blend soulful sounds and roots music with thoughtful lyrics that message peaceful social change.

As the festival continues, two more free “Concerts on the Quad” will follow, both on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the college’s Historic Quad. On July 25, Portland Intown Contra Dance founder Dela Murphy will teach the basics of the style and then call a contra dance while Stomp Rocket combines powerful fiddle, shimmering mandolin, and driving Irish-style guitar playing. On August 1, the Maine band Stream will perform classic and new reggae music.

For 2019, the festival runs with an exciting new schedule and an artist roster comprising faces both new and familiar to Bates. Designed to build a critical mass of onstage excitement, the new festival schedule arranges the performances into three clusters in July and August. 

Festival performances will resume on July 25 with Doug Varone and Dancers, Lida Winfield, Netta Yerushalmy and the Reggie Wilson – Fist and Heel Performance Group. On stage starting August 1 for the festival’s final weekend will be Joanna Kotze, artist-in-residence nora chipaumire, and jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham.

In addition to mainstage events, the schedule includes additional happenings, new and established, including the expanded “Inside Dance” presentation series and a “How Was the Show?” series of midday gatherings bringing community members and festival participants together at a local brewery.

The festival’s “Inside Dance” series, which adds insight and context to festival performances, is newly expanded this year to include Community Conversations in Lewiston, South Paris and Portland. 

The “How Was the Show?” discussions, with drinks and snacks provided compliments of the Bates Dance Festival, will take place at the Lewiston nanobrewery Bear Bones Beer at noon on July 27 and 28 and August 3 and 4. 

For a complete roundup of 2019 Bates Dance Festival events, see batesdancefestival.org/performances. 

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