An Abundance of Talent in “DREAM, AbunDantly!”
Jun 19, 2018 | 2331 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Zuri McGann, Brooke-Lynn Williams, Coco Tate, and Kennedy Salley
Zuri McGann, Brooke-Lynn Williams, Coco Tate, and Kennedy Salley
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By Natalie Rios nrios@queensledger.com

If you loved the "Dreamgirls," you’re going to love “DREAM, AbunDantly!”

“DREAM, AbunDantly!” will be performed on June 24 by the AbunDance Academy for the Arts at Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn. AbunDance is a nonprofit arts organization that is dedicated to providing affordable arts instruction to adults and children alike. Specialized classes are offered on a sliding scale, in fields such as dance, theater, vocal and musical performance.

Inspired by the show and film “Dreamgirls”, “DREAM, AbunDantly!” will feature four stories from African American girls. Each story will emphasize each girl’s struggle to fulfill their dreams while taking on serious topics such as segregation, police brutality and cultural appropriation.

With over 100 performers ranging from 2 to 70 years old and a cast of Broadway alumni including Karisma Jay, the founder of AbunDance Academy of the Arts, “DREAM, AbunDantly!,” aims to inspire people to persevere to achieve their dreams, while using their voice to contribute to the greater good of society.

Jay began her intensive dance training in Guinea West Africa at two years old. She continued her training at Ifetayo and the Professional Center for the Arts where she studied Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Tap. She would later attend Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts for dance. In March 2013, Karisma Jay founded the AbunDance Academy of the Arts with Ms. Cheryl, the former Artistic Director of the Full of Energy School of Dance.

Today, Jay is one of the Lead performers in the hit Broadway musical, "STOMP". Jay strives to be a walking example to her students of how the arts can have a healing impact on one’s life.

On choosing the theme of this year's production, Jay said “all of our themes come to me organically, usually with a ton of confirmation after I have chosen the theme.”

“This summer ‘Dreamgirls’ was everywhere,” she added. “I even bumped into one of the original ‘Dreamgirls’ the exact night that I made up my mind. Talk about confirmation!”

Although the show will pay homage to “Dreamgirls” with songs like “Listen” and “Cadillac Car,” they will be performed in a unique context. The performance aims to show how the AbunDance “Dreamettes” are striving to achieve their dreams despite the system working against their attempts at stardom.

Most recently, AbunDance Academy is the recipient of several grants including Brooklyn Arts Council’s SPARC grant, the Department of Cultural Affairs’ SU-CASA grant, the Brooklyn Arts Fund and Family Circle’s Local Hero feature.

What’s next for AbunDance will be the First Annual International Cultural Dance Exchange. For one week, AbunDance and several dance studios from the Bahamas will be doing a “studio swap” where AbunDance will be taking students from New York to train in the Bahamas and students from the Bahamas will be coming to New York to train with AbunDance. This unique opportunity will allow dancers to share their many cultural influences with one another while building new relationships at the same time.

Reflecting on the challenges of the previous year, Jay said "we have been able to truly focus on the creativity of this year’s story and tell it with a thoroughness and clarity.”

“In a way, we ‘dreamed’ of a new home and manifested it AbunDantly," she added.

For tickets please visit, http://www.kingstheatre.com/calendar/abundance-academy-presents-dream,-abundantly!/

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