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‘Ancestors’ Benefit to hail Caribbean Orisha choreographer

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It will be a hot time in this town Saturday, Feb. 28 when Michael Manswell of Something Positive accepts accolades for his commitment to the community from the People of the Sun Middle Passage Collective.

The Caribbean, dancer, choreographer, singer and instructor will be lavished with praise for his dedication to the community and also for empowering youths by raising their awareness about social and cultural issues.

Manswell is renowned as an orisha devotee in the Yoruba religion. He began his artistic life as a storyteller at arts festivals winning many prizes, awards and grateful audiences.

He studied dance at the Trinidad Dance Theater specializing in modern, ballet, jazz, ballroom and folkloric styles.

Eventually he collaborated with the likes of dancer/cho­reographer Geoffrey Holder and many of the most distinguished peers of his profession.

When Cheryl Byron, the founder of the Something Positive Dance Company died, Manswell assumed leadership and continues to helm the culturally enriching performance team as artistic director.

In addition he lectures and regularly conducts workshops in dance, music and traditional religious practice working in association with the Interfaith Center, the Caribbean Cultural Center at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL), the Brooklyn Arts Council, Caribbean Cultural Center and is an adjunct professor of dance at the City University of New York’s Lehman College.

He was named one of “Brooklyn’s Black Men of Distinction 2000” and one of “Brooklyn’s Black Dance Kings 2010.”

Manswell is also avowed for his operatic prowess and has distinguished himself performing solo in many productions.

On the last date in February, when Manswell is lauded, MEC’s Dean Richard Jones will also be hailed.

Simultaneously, a benefit fashion show is slated to raise funds for the annual Juneteenth (June 19) sojourn to the sea which pays tribute to ancestors who died while making grueling trips through the Middle Passage with their slave captors.

The annual fundraiser previews the cultural expedition to Coney Island by presenting a program of creative artistry with fashion, poetry, music and dance as the alluring attractions for an evening of honor and entertainment.

Creations by designers Moshood, Raif, Guereje and Akeem Collection will highlight the fashion showcase slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Medgar Evers College Auditorium, 1650 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn. A spoken word poetry performance along with a special treat from Kow Teff is also planned for the Black History Month closing event. Vendors will provide an array of items for purchase.

For more information, call Akeem @ 718-659-4999 or email akeem476@gmail.com.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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