In 1959 Barry Gordy with a $800 loan from his family, started the label he ultimately expanded into an entertainment empire, despite the racial prejudices he and his staff encountered. In 1988, he sold Motown to MCA for $61 million. This Piccolo 2009 we celebrate 50 years of Motown. The incredibly talented CBT dancers bring to life and honor the Motown legends that brought the world to its dancing feet with million-selling hit, following million-selling hit song .
Just shy of finishing the Motown 50th Anniversary yearlong celebration — MOTOWN MANIA premiered for Charleston Ballet Theatre this past January. . As with any creative project. the slow tedious process of historical information gathering began with Steve Lepre, & Mark McKinney of Sunhead Projects. I needed a hook- to tell my story. The google digging became harder and harder. The facts and more importantly for my needs, the images are mind boggling which became my necessary thread to propel and jumpstart the viewer up to the setting. Take the Supremes as an example.
The most successful American performers of the 1960s, the Supremes for a time rivaled even the Beatles in terms of red-hot commercial appeal, reeling off five number one singles in a row at one point. Critical revisionism has tended to undervalue the Supremes’ accomplishments, categorizing their work as more lightweight than the best soul stars (or even the best Motown stars), and viewing them as a tool for Berry Gordy’s crossover aspirations. There’s no question that there was about as much pop as soul in the Supremes’ hits, that even some of their biggest hits could sound formulaic, and that they were probably the black performers who were most successful at infiltrating the tastes and televisions of middle America. This shouldn’t diminish either their extraordinary achievements or their fine music, the best of which renders the pop vs. soul question moot with its excellence.
The Supremes were not an overnight success story, although it might have seemed that way when they began topping the charts with sure-fire regularity. The trio that would become famous as the Supremes — Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard — met in the late ’50s in Detroit’s Brewster housing project. Originally known as the Primettes, they were a quartet (Barbara Martin was the fourth member) when they made their first single for the Lupine label in 1960. By the time they debuted for Motown in 1961, they had been renamed the Supremes; Barbara Martin reduced them to a trio when she left after their first single.
The Motor City music scene fills the Black Box Theatre with a rollicking tribute to the golden era of Motown’s biggest hits. Set in the same vein CBT’s instant classic Magical Mystery Tour, the dance company lets loose to a barrage of r&b/soul classics from such giants of the era as The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson Five. Get ready for a throwback to a simpler time when dancing in the streets was common place and no mountain was high enough. The ballet also features multi-media visuals by Sun Head Projects on CBT’s multiple screens.
Show Dates: Sun. May 30th, Fri. June 4th, Thur, June 10th, Fri. June 11th at 7pm, Sat. June 12th at 9pm // Monday May 31st at Noon