Like many dance artists in our community, I aim to find ways to support my fellow dance artists. Our dance world was pummeled by COVID-19 and Black dance artists around the world are finding ways to talk about life during this time. Our world was further turned upside down after horrible events ensued nationally and globally, bringing attention, yet again, to the need for the Black Lives Matter movement. Black dance artists have not been quiet since. Black dance artists have been doing the work. Black dance artists continue to make work. To stay involved, I began weekly impromptu discussions where fellow dance artists could tell stories—Black dance stories. This is one action—we will stay involved.
With unyielding support from fellow Black creatives Kimani Fowlin and Nick Hall, our series, “Black Dance Stories” launched on June 25 with internationally acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel and dancer, choreographer, and founder of Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland. We are determined to hold space as a community working together to support our mission to uphold, highlight, and celebrate Black creatives. Each session will be archived on the “Black Dance Stories” YouTube page.
The impromptu story sessions will highlight Black creatives in the dance world and streams live via YouTube every Thursday in July at 6 p.m. Participants can find out more about “Black Dance Stories” at https://www.instagram.com/blackdancestories/.
The July 2020 artists include dancers who use their work to raise societal issues, strengthen community through their programming, and use history as a source of inspiration. The lineup includes Jamar Roberts (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre) and Tiffany Rea-Fisher (Elisa Monte Dance) on July 9; Cynthia Oliver (Cynthia Oliver Co. Dance Theatre) and Marjani Forté-Saunders (formerly Urban Bush Women) on July 16; Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement) and J. Bouey (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company) on July 23; and Kyle Marshall (Kyle Marshall Choreography) and Okwui Okpokwasili (Past Hodder Fellow) on July 30.
For more information, visit @BlackDanceStories on Instagram, or email email@example.com. Sign up for updates at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHySLfWacGYb9YcxEj-HlrcvU57sf59cZqO9PhlklsFKAkyw/viewform.