Mahogany ‘Dances on Giants’

Mahogany Dance Theater is putting on its final fall concert featuring the Strikers in Gaither Gymnasium on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Shepiro Hardemon, founder and artistic director of Mahogany Dance Theater and the Strikers, described the upcoming concert, “Dancing on the Shoulders of Giants,” as a diverse show that will showcase all types of dancing.

“There are 10 different dance works in the concert,” Hardemon said. “The concert will be sure to give the audience the best of both worlds. There will be modern jazz, African dance, gospel, contemporary, hip-hop and more.”

Tyler German, a junior accounting student from Chicago and Mahogany Dance Theater president, said she is excited for the comical gospel dance in the show.

“The dancers will be listening to a sermon, which will intertwine with dancing,” German said. “It tells the story of the Southern Baptist Church.

“You have your deacons … the moms, the kids. People are dancing in between. We are sitting there listening to the sermon. It’s a church scene, and people are dancing in between like praise dancing.”

Hardemon said thousands of dollars were spent to transform Gaither Gymnasium into the look of a Broadway theater.

“When you walk in, you’re not going to see the typical gym,” German said. “We’re going to have awesome lighting, awesome sound, we’re going to have curtains and wings. It’s going to look like Lee Hall but only better.”

Marcus Bailey, a senior theater performance student from Fort Myers, Fla., and Strikers president and rehearsal director, said there would be a few dance pieces collaborated between Mahogany and the Strikers. However, there are pieces each group will do separately.

Hardemon, German and Bailey said a lot of hard work and time was put in for the show. Lots of fundraising took place so both dance groups could have the necessities for the concert.

Hardemon said Mahogany was founded on campus Oct. 9, 1997.

“It gave students the opportunities to dance and express themselves in their artistic ways,” Hardemon said. “It gave them the choice to do other things within dance.”

The Strikers were founded on Feb. 25, 1989. However, the Strikers were no longer a campus organization as of April. Hardemon made the Strikers a community organization funded by the city, county and private funds. It is housed in Tallahassee’s Southside Arts Complex. But Hardemon was able to team up both organizations.

“You have the hip-hop components of the Strikers, and then you have the technical aspect of Mahogany,” Hardemon said.

The concert’s title, “Dancing on the Shoulders of Giants,” is derived from the history and legacy of Mahogany and the Strikers.

“Those that came before them set the tone, set the standard for dance at FAMU,” Hardemon said. “We are reminding where we’ve come from and the things we have accomplished and the fact that we must continue to be a driving force.”