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Carolina Chocolate Drops and Twyla Tharp

Ballet meets bluegrass: Old-time band collaborates with famed choreographer at BAM

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Carolina Chocolate Drops has made a career out of subverting assumptions about music.

As a group of black musicians playing what is usually assumed to be traditionally white music — bluegrass and old timey songs — the band has worked to show the deep connectivity of all music. Now, it is teaming up with legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp to break down even more barriers with a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 10.

“It will be cool and interesting to see how someone else will interpret our music,” said Carolina Chocolate Drops multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins, who is the only member of the North Carolina-based band that lives in Brooklyn.

It was Tharp’s idea to collaborate with the band. Tharp’s dance, titled “Cornbread Duet,” will be performed by New York City Ballet principal dancers Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, to music by the band.

Jenkins declined to say exactly which songs the band will perform for the show, but said they are tunes that fans already know.

The band has not yet started practicing for the show, but Jenkins is sure it will be a fun collaboration.

“It is always great when different arts support each other and mingle with each other,” said Jenkins. “Our music is dance music and it is nice to be able to show people that.”

Carolina Chocolate Drops with Twyla Tharp, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100, www.bam.org]. April 10 at 8 pm. $16 members, $20 non-members.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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