Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) will present Having Come This Far By Faith at Central Baptist Church of NYC at 166 W. 92nd Street on February 25 at 3:00 p.m. in celebration of Black History Month. The performance is FREE to the community. Central Baptist Church of NYC is accessible via the 1, 2, 3, or B subway lines.

The program will feature dance excerpts from The Gospel According to THPAC, along with music and spoken word pieces from the members and students of Central Baptist Church of NYC. The Gospel According to THPAC was conceived by features choreography by Jamel Gaines, Walter Rutledge and Nijawwon Matthews. It is set to music by Stephanie Mills, Nina Simone, Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir, among others.

“I am thrilled to bring special moments of The Gospel According to THPAC to the stage. It was inspired by my mother and her great love of gospel music which she passed along to me,” said Smith. “She helped select the music, but she sadly passed away before she could see this work that tells the story of her spiritual journey. When I conceived Gospel, I envisioned it being performed in a church, and Central Baptist Church of NYC is the perfect setting.”

THPAC will present The Gospel According to THPAC in its entirety on June 17 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Central Baptist Church. Additional 2023 THPAC productions include So Very Sly, a multi-media presentation featuring choreography, visual projections and special effects set to music by Sly and the Family Stone from June 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mark O’Donnell Theater in Manhattan. A Ramp to Paradise, based on a short story by Smith published in an anthology, A River Runs Beneath Us will be performed on October 14 at 7:30 p.m. at The Schomburg Center, followed by an after-party with a live DJ.

About Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center:

The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC) was founded 46 years ago to support the creative ideas of choreographers and dance companies of color. Its mission is to preserve and present the artistic vision of dance artists of color. For 46 years, THPAC has supported and attracted emerging and established dance artists of colorwho seek out the organization’s experimental yet historically aware environment. THPAC has become a viableinstitution for communities that have traditionally celebrated and reflected on their social and cultural issues throughthe rituals of music, dance, literature, and performance. THPAC’s founder, Larry Phillips, began working as a dancetherapist in Brooklyn at a community center that sponsored children’s education and support programs for single parents attending New York Technical College. The programs were the forerunner of THPAC. In 1977, he renamed the organization after his renowned and highly influential teacher, the late Thelma Hill, who remains a positive force in the dance world of New York City and beyond.

About Central Baptist Church of NYC:

The mission of Central Baptist Church of NYC is the same mission Jesus gave his followers: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.