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Celebrate Dance, Music & American History!

Jun 01, 2014 10:59AM ● By Elena Hutslar

Grown Women Dance Collective and Aspire Pilates Center present 5th annual Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars: A Juneteenth Celebration Through Dance on June 27 and 28. The concert honors African American musical artists who have died since the year 2000, but will influence us for generations to come. Sponsored by Diablo Valley: Defying Expectations, this magical collective is comprised of retired professional dancers in their 40s and 50s and a drummer in her 80s.  


Juneteenth is the oldest, nationally celebrated commemoration of African American liberation from slavery. The tradition dates back to June 19th, 1865, when Union soldiers informed enslaved people in Texas, two and a half years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, that slavery had "ended." Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and encourages self-development and respect for all cultures.


The musical genius of Ray Charles, Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and many others is combined with the marvel of middle aged dancers twirling and soaring through space, along with the telling of U.S. history through dynamic multimedia to make Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars the perfect marriage of the arts and education. This cross-cultural, cross-generational performance challenges the concepts of aging and speaks to us about struggle, achievement, and the common experiences we all share as Americans.  


Audience members, young and old, can’t contain their joy and hum and sway in their seats during the performance.  They leave the theater with huge smiles, beaming that they are “proud to be American.”  With so many people of different backgrounds brought together to celebrate history, music and dance, Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars speaks loud and clear to the power of art influencing who we are as human beings.


Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars: A Juneteenth Celebration Through Dance is presented at Diablo Valley College Theater in Pleasant Hill, 8pm, June 27, and at the California Theatre in Pittsburg, 8pm, June 28. For more info or to purchase tickets, please call (925) 680-4400 or visit


Grown Women Dance Collective was founded in 2009 to provide a positive and nurturing environment for mature, female dancers to create beautiful work that is relevant and accessible to diverse audiences.  GWDC creates cross-cultural, cross-generational bridges through the arts, introduces concert dance to new audiences and underserved communities, and challenges the stereotypes of aging.  Grown Women Dance Collective is fiscally sponsored by 501(c)3 Dancers Group.