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Friday night’s Kahil El’Zabar performance in Takoma Park was a blast from the past. It was at Contradiction Dance, the space once known as Sangha, now a modern and contemporary dance studio in the Echo Park shopping center off Westmoreland Avenue, and once inside there was Bobby Hill, Transparent Productions-and-all-around-jazz guru extraordinaire, greeting customers, taking money, and selling CDs.
“So does this mean Transparent is back?” I asked him.
“Oh, we’ve never gone anywhere!” he chuckled. Transparent Productions, he said, had never gone so far as to call it quits; between the work responsibilities of its members (Hill, for one, is program director at WPFW) and the paucity of performance spaces, it had just been a significant down time for the promoters. The closure of Sangha, in particular, was a huge blow.
But now, it seems, Transparent and the new Contradiction Dance are back in partnership. “They are willing to work with us,” Hill acknowledges. “This is just the first show back here, but they have told us that they are willing to work with us on more shows in the future.”
“I hadn’t fully realized how much Sangha meant to people as a community center and performance space,” Kelly Mayfield, the studio’s founder and artistic director, told the crowd between sets. “But I’m so glad that we can be a part of it again.”
It sounds like the beginning of a renewed beautiful friendship, and a rebirth of avant-garde jazz performance in D.C. Stay tuned.