Janine Beckles joined the PVLA board in 2021, and has danced with Philadelphia dance company PHILADANCO! for eleven years, where she also serves as the Assistant to the Artistic Director. PHILADANCO! is known all over the world for their artistry, highly gifted dancers, and captivating performances.

In January, Janine performed with PHILADANCO! in “Philadanco MinEvent” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. These performances were comprised of excerpts from dances choreographed by Merce Cunningham and originally designed by Jasper Johns during his tenure as Artistic Director for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1967-80). Janine and fellow PHILADANCO! dancers performed in newly constructed costumes fashioned after an original design by Jasper Johns.

PHILADANCO! dancers performed an arrangement of choreographic material drawn from four Cunningham/Johns collaborations: Canfield (1969), Landrover (1972), Un jour ou deux (1973), and Exchange (1978). The MinEvent was arranged and staged in the Williams Forum at the PMA by Patricia Lent expressly for the PHILADANCO! dancers.

You can view a brief video of the performance here.

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Janine Beckles

What attracted you to joining the PVLA board?

Janine: What attracted me to joining the board of PVLA was all of the wonderful things PVLA stands for. As a fellow artist, I view the support PVLA provides for individuals as well as arts organizations as immeasurable. I worked for attorney Spencer Wertheimer who is a board member with PHILADANCO!, and who told me his story on how he connected with PHILADANCO! Founder, Joan Myers Brown. He assisted Joan from the beginning of her dance company. I credit Spencer and Joan for my involvement with PVLA, and wanting to know more about how PVLA specifically assists artists with contractual agreements concerning employment, dispute resolution, business formation, copyright, landlord/tenant, entertainment matters, plus regulatory/compliances issues. 

I want, through my engagement within the Philadelphia dance community, to give more visibility to PVLA and so that more artists learn more about this wonderful organization. I experienced one major contractual agreement issue in the beginning of my dance career that hindered me from getting another dance opportunity. If I would have had an organization like PVLA there to aid me, I could have been able to go on to the next job without any problems. Artists are not always informed about their rights, and often agree to terms without proper support. PVLA is a gem and needs to be utilized more within the Philly artists community; they will help many artists lives become a lot easier with free legal assistance. This organization should be a priority within Philadelphia’s arts world!

About PHILADANCO!

Founded in 1970 by Joan Meyers Brown, the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!), was created out a need to provide performance opportunities for Black dancers, who were then systematically denied entrance in many local dance schools and had even fewer professional performance outlets. PHILADANCO! has since grown into a professional dance company that is recognized across the nation and around the world for its artistic integrity, superbly trained dancers, and captivating performances. Established on principles of providing opportunity, inclusion, and hope, PHILADANCO! bridges cultural divides and consistently performs before sold-out audiences of people from diverse ethnicities and communities.