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Zita Allen

Stories by Zita

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Mentoring master class with Misty Copeland and Carmen de Lavallade

The phrase “each one, teach one” will take on a new meaning Nov. 6 when Harlem Stage hosts a unique conversation between two remarkable African-American dance pioneers—American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland and dance legend Carmen de Lavallade—before an audience of aspiring young dancers.

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Mentoring master class with Misty Copeland and Carmen de Lavallade

The phrase “each one, teach one” will take on a new meaning Nov. 6 when Harlem Stage hosts a unique conversation between two remarkable African-American dance pioneers—American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland and dance legend Carmen de Lavallade—before an audience of aspiring young dancers from two major Harlem arts organizations, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Harlem School of the Arts.

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Bessies awarded to two African-American dance artists

It’s an honor to have one’s work recognized by one’s peers. Of course, we heard that a lot during the recent Emmy Awards, but, trite or not, it’s gratifying to see African-American artists recognized by their colleagues.

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New York City Ballet’s Taylor Stanley leaps into history

When Taylor Stanley was promoted to principal at the New York City Ballet by Artistic Director Peter Martins, he was thrust into a spotlight shared with only a handful of others, most notably the ebullient, late Albert Evans and the venerable Arthur Mitchell, whose promotion by NYCB founder and Artistic Director George Balanchine made him the first African-American principal dancer with any of this country’s major ballet companies.

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Culture icon Carmen de Lavallade bows out of White House reception

Carmen de Lavallade, the 86-year-old dancer, choreographer and actress being honored by the Kennedy Center in December, recently announced that she will not attend the White House reception.

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Ailey Extension Dance Classes: Release your inner dancer

Have you ever sat in the audience at an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance during the magnificent dance company’s summer and winter seasons and thought wistfully, “I would love to try to do at least some of that!” Well, nothing’s impossible.

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Ailey Extension Dance Classes: Release your inner dancer

Have you ever sat in the audience at an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance during the magnificent dance company’s summer and winter seasons and thought wistfully, “I would love to try to do at least some of that!”

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Gilda Squire: The woman behind Misty Copeland

When Misty Copeland steps onstage in this, her second, year as the first African-American principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theatre, she will make history once again with debuts as the first Black ballerina to dance the lead in several iconic classical ballets on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.

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Alvin Ailey Lincoln Center summer season lights up the night with fireworks

Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, says there are a number of reasons folks should be excited about the company’s upcoming Lincoln Center summer season (June 14-18).

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DanceAfrica to celebrate 40th anniversary, Chuck Davis’ life and legacy

The deep, resonant sound of African drums and the rhythmic pounding of some 50 dancers’ feet make the floor and walls of the Brooklyn Academy of Music fourth floor rehearsal studio reverberate.

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Cutting-edge dance comes to HarlemStage

Fasten your seat belts.

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Misty Copeland talks new book, ‘Ballerina Body’

American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland’s latest book “Ballerina Body” has hit bookstores, and her excitement was palpable as I interviewed her in the “green room” at the Union Square Barnes & Nobles...

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Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates 48th anniversary

On a recent Sunday, in one of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s spacious, sun-drenched studios in its 152nd Street headquarters, Artistic Director Virginia Johnson beamed as she welcomed a standing-room-only audience to a special Sunday matinee, the celebration of DTH’s 48th anniversary.

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DTH’s Virginia Johnson on 48th Anniversary Celebration, February 19

Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) is excited about the upcoming celebration of the company’s 48th Anniversary on Sunday, February 19 at its 152nd Street headquarters.

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Complexions kicks off season at the Joyce Theater

Complexions Contemporary Ballet, a company formed in 1994 by resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden and dancer Desmond Richardson, kicks off its 23rd season at the Joyce Theater (Jan. 24-Feb. 5) with two distinctive new programs and a troupe of dancers that will knock your socks off.

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Black male ‘ballerina’ of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male comic ballet company, takes the stage at the Joyce Theater (Dec. 13-28) with a program presenting parodies of traditional classical ballets that tickle, tantalize and make audiences laugh out loud while treating them to technically skilled, impressive parodies of such iconic ballets as “Swan Lake,” “Giselle” and others.

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Afro Cuban Orisha Dance Theater has world premiere Dec. 17

“Siete Mares,” a new work by Afro Cuban Orisha Dance Theater, is set to have its world premiere this weekend.

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Ntozake Shange: A colored girl for whom the rainbow is not enuf Pt. 1

It has been awhile since Ntozake Shange’s paradigm-shifting “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” exploded onto the theatrical scene in 1973, introducing a provocative new voice and unique genre—the choreopoem.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 2016 winter season sizzles

The power of dance to unite and inspire us while shining a light on important issues will take center stage when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater explodes onto New York City’s Center Stage (Nov. 30- Dec. 31) with a sizzling mix of thrilling dances, awesome dancers and mesmerizing music, all of which promise to warm your heart and make your soul dance.

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Netherlands Dans Theater boasts Bronx native Prince Credell

Nov. 16, the famed Netherlands Dans Theater swings into New York’s City Center for a brief season (Nov. 16-19) that highlights the qualities that earned it an international reputation for pushing dance’s boundaries, namely, bold repertory and what one critic called “the world’s most magnificent dancers displaying a retina-shredding sxpectacle of passion and power.”

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Misty Copeland on ABT’s fall season, diversity in ballet

Misty Copeland’s performance at American Ballet Theatre’s fall 2016 Gala Thursday, Oct. 20, was a delightful display of classical ballet at its most technically challenging and musically responsive.

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Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation celebrates roof-breaking, design of new wing

Since 2005, home for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation has been a sleek, glass-enclosed building on the northwest corner of West 55th Street and Ninth Avenue in Manhattan known as the Joan Weill Center for Dance.

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Talented black dance artists among 2016 Princess Grace awardees

An unusually large number of young gifted Black dancers and choreographers are among the recently announced recipients of the coveted 2016 Princess Grace Awards.

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Former AileyCamper, now Ailey member Solomon Dumas affirms program’s value

Thursday, Aug. 11, more than 100 youngsters will take the stage at Hostos Center for Arts & Culture for a festive performance that caps their six-week summer at CAS/AileyCamp New York.

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Maurice Hines talks ‘Tappin’ Thru Life’

“Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life” is back! That delicious jazz- and tap-filled musical treat that enjoyed a limited Broadway run earlier this year is coming to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park July 28, for one night only.

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Misty Copeland’s first full season as ABT principal ballerina

This year, American Ballet Theater’s spring season marked a historic milestone. It was the first full season for the first African-American principal ballerina in that company’s 75-year history, Misty Copeland.

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Camille A. Brown: Exploring the Black Girl Spectrum

Choreographer Camille A. Brown stands in front of a group of Black women and girls who are hanging on her every word and movement.

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Dancer pursues passion despite diagnosis

A recent Intel commercial opens with the shadowy image of a Black female dancer in midair, like a cannonball caught in midflight, her Afroed silhouette illuminated by an electric blue backdrop.

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American Ballet Theater’s Project Plié: Making ballet dreams come true for children of color

An inconspicuous building in Manhattan’s Flatiron District is not only headquarters to the American Ballet Theater but also a wonderland of sorts for some 22 children of color enrolled in the JKO School Children’s Division Bridge Class, which is a local component ABT’s national Project Plié initiative.

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Ailey begins Lincoln Center season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle has announced the program for the company’s two-week Lincoln Center season, June 8-19, and it is a jam-packed choreographic grab bag featuring more than a dozen works on five different programs.

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Ailey begins Lincoln Center season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle has announced the program for the company’s two-week Lincoln Center season, June 8-19, and it is a jam-packed choreographic grab bag featuring more than a dozen works on five different programs.

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DanceAfrica 2016: A celebration in movement, rhythm and spirit

This Memorial Day weekend, the 39th annual DanceAfrica celebration promises to fill the Brooklyn Academy of Music and its surrounding community with a dynamic display of dance, music, film, food, fashion and more as it has done since it was founded in 1977 by Baba Chuck Davis, but this time there’s something different.

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Misty Copeland poised to take flight

This is an amazing time for ballerina Misty Copeland. On May 2, one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers, Mattel, launched a Misty Copeland Barbie Doll as part of its “Sheroes” program, honoring female heroes who inspire girls and women “by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities.”

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Savion Glover brings new musical to Broadway

When “Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed” opens this month at the Music Box Theatre, it won’t be tap dancer Savion Glover’s first time on Broadway.

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Misty Copeland, Virginia Johnson discuss ballet, diversity

Misty Copeland and Virginia Johnson took center stage seats before a standing-room-only audience at Dance/NYC’s recent symposium on diversity and inclusion in dance.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem: Celebrating diversity, dancing beyond barriers

As the talented members of Dance Theatre of Harlem pirouette, jeté, leap, run or just walk on stage during its New York City Center season (April 6-9 ) dazzling and delighting audiences, they will also be celebrating the company’s 45-year tradition of helping to, among other things, shatter one of America’s most enduring artistic glass ceilings.

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Diversity in dance: The new hot topic

Diversity and inclusion in dance is a hot topic that has reached critical mass, bubbling over from the insular dance world into mainstream media.

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Tribute held for iconic dancer Dudley Williams

“Love, Forever Dudley,” the recent tribute to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater soloist Dudley Williams, had all the warmth of a loving family reunion.

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Celebrating the life of Alvin Ailey on his 85th birthday

On Jan. 5, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated what would have been the 85th birthday of the man who founded the world-renowned company in 1958 and changed the face of American dance forever.

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Judith Jamison talks life, dance and AAADT

On New Year’s Eve, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will celebrate with a 50th anniversary tribute to Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison.

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The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: The gift that keeps on giving

Dec. 2, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater swept on stage at New York’s City Center exuding warmth, radiating brilliance and lighting up the night. If this opening night of its five-week winter season is any indication, audiences are in for a real treat.

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Pioneer Arthur Mitchell donates archives to Columbia

Arthur Mitchell, the pioneering ballet dancer, artistic director and choreographer who, in the 1950s, became the first African-American principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was celebrated at Columbia University Oct. 27 and 28.

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Donald Byrd talks about ‘The Minstrel Show Revisited’

When Donald Byrd’s “The Minstrel Show Revisited” is presented at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday, Oct. 28 through Friday, Oct. 30, it will be a perfect example, not of art imitating life, but of art illuminating life.

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Misty Copeland: The interview Pt. 2

And we’re back with Part 2, as promised, of the Misty Copeland interview with Amsterdam News. So let’s read on!

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Misty Copeland: The interview Pt. 1

We sit down for an interview with ballerina Misty Copeland.

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AileyCamp celebrates 25 years

On Aug. 13, at Hostos Community College, some 100 youngsters, 11 to 14 years of age, burst onto the stage of the main theater in a program bristling with energy, enthusiasm and talent, demonstrating not only what they learned but also how much fun they had during a six-week stint this summer at CAS/AileyCamp

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Over the moon for Misty Copeland in ‘On the Town’

In the lead up to Misty Copeland’s Aug. 25 debut in the Broadway musical “On the Town” at the Lyric Theatre, anticipation-inducing announcements of her limited engagement were everywhere.

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‘The Wiz’: George Faison celebrates a legendary hit

Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison perches on the edge of his seat in front of the mirrored wall of his Harlem rehearsal studio.

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Misty Copeland, Carmen de Lavallade, Raven Wilkinson discuss race, ballet

Friday, July 17, still aglow from the promotion that made her the first African-American principal ballerina with American Ballet Theater, Misty Copeland joined three other remarkable artists for a frank, informative and inspiring discussion of ballet and Black women, barriers and breakthroughs.

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Celebrating the life of Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Holder, the creative genius whose career spanned 50 years and dazzled us with a limitless talent, energetic exuberance and captivating charisma, will be honored in a series of celebrations on his birthday, Aug. 1.

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