The Egg, the Empire State Plaza’s Center for the Performing Arts and The Sanctuary for Independent Media will present a double bill of contemporary African music featuring the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and Vusi Mahlasela on Friday, February 17 at 7:30 PM at The Egg to benefit radio station WOOC.

“We are looking forward to working with The Sanctuary for Independent Media to present these extraordinary African performing artists,” said Peter Lesser, executive director of the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center that manages The Egg.  “We are particularly happy to be part of the effort to raise funds and awareness about radio station WOOC 105.3 FM which plays a diverse selection of world music including the artists scheduled to perform on February 17.”

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix to the world stage mining the riches of Western African folklore, performing uplifting – and very danceable – highlife songs of hope, faith and joy.  Vusi Mahlasela – simply known as ‘The Voice’ in South Africa – is celebrated for his distinct vocal style, fine guitar playing and his poetic, optimistic songs.

“Both artists offer a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact”, stated Mr. Lesser.

Steve Pierce, executive director of The Sanctuary for Independent Media and program director for WOOC agrees.  “At the Sanctuary and WOOC, our mission is to use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression. South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle showed the power of music to change the world; these artists are at the forefront of the movement. “

Tickets for the performance are $29.50 and are currently available at The Egg Box Office at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, via phone – 518-473-1845 or online at


WOOC 105.3 FM is a non-commercial, listener-supported service of The Sanctuary for Independent Media, with a broadcast signal that covers the Troy/Albany area and an online presence at streaming worldwide.  WOOC offers alternative news and public affairs programming in partnership with the Pacifica Radio network from 6-10 AM and 3-7 PM weekdays, and at other times a cultural format featuring fifty years of music from the African Diaspora focusing on reggae and African pop.



For a second season, the performing arts centers at The Egg and the University at Albany have announced that they will present a joint Dance Albany series for the 2016-17 season, offering eight performances including one at the Massry Center at the College of St. Rose.

“We have found that by collaborating with UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and now with the Massry Center, that we can offer a series that is more diverse and includes both established and emerging companies,” says Egg Executive Director Peter Lesser.  “This provides dance audiences with both greater variety and the ability to save money on tickets.  It is our hope that eventually the series will include other Capital Region dance venues in future seasons.”

The Dance in Albany series features four fully staged shows at The Egg at the Empire State Plaza including performances by Koresh Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Pilobolus and its resident Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company. 

Three stripped down, up close and personal “In the Raw” performances at the Performing Arts Center on the UAlbany main campus feature the Vertigo and Palissimo companies as well as Dance Heginbotham.

“Dance in the Capital Region is so very vital.   There are a great number of dance presenters who are dedicated to making the art form available to the audiences in this area.  We at UAlbany are completely invested in celebrating dance and excited to be partnering with our closest colleagues here in Albany,” claims Kim Engel, Assistant Director of the UAlbany Performing Arts Center.

At the Massry Center, a concert by the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company will feature live music ensembles from the College of St. Rose.

“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with UAlbany Performing Arts Center and The Egg for a comprehensive dance series. This joint presentation allows us to expand our offerings and present dance for the first time as part of our season,” states Massry Center Program Manager Salvatore Prizio.  “Additionally, working with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company gives us the creative freedom to showcase modern dance works and fantastic original pieces composed at The College of Saint Rose.”

Tickets are currently available to members of The Egg and will go on sale to the public on July 8.  Subscriptions that include a ticket to each performance are also available for $120 at The Egg Box Office at the Empire State Plaza, by telephone – 518-473-1845 – or on line:  Single performance tickets are also available.

Details of the performances are as follows:

Koresh Dance Company – @ THE EGG Friday, October 21, 8 PM, $28: With choreography that has been called ““earthy, folk-dancey, emotionally direct, physically intense, and ostentatiously eccentric,” this Philadelphia-based dance company celebrates its 25th anniversary year with a program entitled “Classic Koresh” featuring choreographic interpretations of the music of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Ravel.

Vertigo Dance Company – @ UAlbany Wednesday, October 26, 7:30 PM, $15: Internationally celebrated not only for their artistic innovation but also for their unwavering commitment to the intersections of creativity, social responsibility and ecological sustainability, this contemporary dance company from Israel presents Vertigo 20 by weaving together twenty years of the company’s creations from its inception. Showcasing works from real to surreal, intimate to theatric and impalpable to tangible, the company has a unique body language accentuated by wit and hinted sadness.

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company – @ St. Rose’s Massry Center Friday, January 27, 7:30 PM, $20: A foundational component of the Capital Region’s dance community for over 25 years, Albany’s own modern dance company embarks on a new venture with The College of Saint Rose for an evening of original dance with live music performed by student and faculty ensembles.

Palissimo Company – @ UAlbany Friday, February 3, 7:30 PM, $15: Often described as both human and humane, this interdisciplinary company’s works merge the abstract aspects of dance with the nonlinear qualities of theatre and mise-en-scène into multidisciplinary creations that are rich in evocative imagery, piercing emotional resonance and non-narrative/nonverbal content.  Bastard is a work of dance, live music and spoken word that is loosely inspired by the harsh and controversial 1965 wartime novel by expatriate Polish writer Jerzy Kosiński entitled The Painted Bird.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence – @ THE EGG Friday, March 3, 8 PM, $28: Ronald K. Brown creates dances that fuse traditional African dance with contemporary choreography that invites audiences to share in their celebration of community and the resilience of the human spirit.  Evidence will perform the Afro-Cuban inspired “Why You Follow,” “”On Earth Together” – a celebration of the music of Stevie Wonder and “”March” set to a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pilobolus Dance Theatre – @ THE EGG Friday, March 31, 8 PM, $34: More than a dance company, this internationally acclaimed collective offers a spectacular, colorful display of movement, collaboratively creating, and continually exploring new ways of using the human body as a graphic and expressive medium. The company offers a retrospective of it ground breaking repertoire created since 1971!

Dance Heginbotham – @ UAlbany Thursday, April 20, 7:30PM, $15: Well-known for his dozen plus years as a dancer with Mark Morris Dance Group, Artistic Director John Heginbotham has quickly established his own company as one of the most adventurous and exciting on the American contemporary dance scene.  Acclaimed for its vibrant athleticism, humor and theatricality as well as its commitment to collaboration, the company is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary season.

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company – @ THE EGG Friday, May 5, 8 PM, $25: A creative tour-de-force for over a quarter century, Ellen Sinopoli’s dance partners range from painters and sculptors, musicians, poets, and storytellers, to photographers and physicists.  Expect a mix of audience favorites and new works performed by her company of compelling, athletic and versatile dancers.