News: "Black Dance Stories" Announces July 2020 Weekly Lineup


Tiffany Rea-Fisher. Photo courtesy the artist/Michelle Tabnick PR
Black Dance Stories
 has announced its July 2020 lineup, featuring stories by and discussions with well-known dancers and choreographers who use their art to create commentary on the Black experience. Created and conceived by performer, producer, and dance writer Charmaine Warren, the newly launched story-sharing and discussion series highlights Black creatives in the dance world. Black Dance Stories streams live via Zoom every Thursday in July at 6 pm. Join Black Dance Stories here.

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), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (Elisa Monte Dance), Cynthia Oliver (Cynthia Oliver Co. Dance Theatre), Marjani Forté-Saunders (formerly Urban Bush Women), Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), J. Bouey (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company), Kyle Marshall (Kyle Marshall Choreography), and Okwui Okpokwasili (Past Hodder Fellow). Black Dance Stories launched on June 25, 2020, with internationally acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel and dancer, choreographer, and founder of Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.

The series is consistent with the tradition of Black artists finding a way for their voices to be heard during turbulent times. When civil, moral, and social freedoms are challenged and at times stifled, Black artists find ways to use their talents as activism. Black Dance Stories upholds, highlights, and celebrates Black creatives.

"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, said Charmaine Warren, creator of Black Dance Stories. 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, we will hold weekly impromptu discussions and tell stories-Black Dance Stories. This is one action--we will stay involved."

The Black Dance Stories team includes Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, and Nicholas Hall.
For more information visit @BlackDanceStories on Instagram and sign up for updates here

Black Dance Stories Schedule

Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 6 pm EDT with Jamar Roberts and Tiffany Rae-Fisher
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Jamar Roberts graduated from the New World School of the Arts. He trained at the Dance Empire of Miami, where he continues to teach, and as a fellowship student at The Ailey School. Roberts was a member of Ailey II and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Dance Magazine featured Jamar as one of "25 to Watch" in 2007 and on the cover in 2013. He performed at The White House in 2010, and as a guest star on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and The Ellen Degeneres Show. In 2015 he made his Ailey II choreographic debut with his work Gemeos, set to the music of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti. His first work for the Company, Members Don't Get Weary, premiered during the 2017 New York City Center season. Roberts won Outstanding Performer at the Bessie Awards and was a guest star with London's Royal Ballet.

Tiffany Rea-Fisher subscribes to the servant leadership model and uses disruption through inclusion as a way to influence her company's culture. In 2018, Rea-Fisher was awarded a citation from the City of New York for her cultural contributions and accepted an invitation to join the Bessies Selection Committee. Rea-Fisher is in her fourth year as Artistic Director of the NYC-based internationally acclaimed dance company Elisa Monte Dance (EMD). She joined EMD in 2004 where she was principal dancer until 2010. She was named Dance Magazine's August 2007 On the Rise artist based on her 2006 performance at the Joyce Theater. As a choreographer, Tiffany has had the pleasure of creating numerous pieces for the company as well as being commissioned by Dance Theater of Harlem, Dallas Black Dance Theater, NYC'S Department of Transportation, Utah Repertory Theater, The National Gallery of Art in D.C. and of having her work performed for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Recently, Tiffany's works have been seen on the Joyce stage as well the Apollo Theater, Joe's Pub, Aaron Davis Hall, and New York Live Arts in New York City. Tiffany's work extends well beyond the stage, creating work for the film, fashion, theater, the music industry, and museums. She is the co-founder of Inception to Exhibition and the Dance Curator for the Bryant Park Dance Summer Series. She is the Director of the Lake Placid School of Dance in Lake Placid, New York. She is the Vice President of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation and a member of Women of Color of the Arts. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 pm EDT with Cynthia Oliver and Marjani Forte Saunders 
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Cynthia Oliver is a Bronx-born, Virgin Island-reared, award-winning choreographer and performance artist. Her ongoing research is in the areas of intersection between contemporary dance, feminism, black popular culture, and the expressive performances of Africans in the diaspora, with an emphasis on the performance in the Anglophone Caribbean, particularly the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has danced with numerous companies, including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., the Bebe Miller Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Tere O'Connor Dance. As an actor, she has performed in works by Greg Tate, Ione, Laurie Carlos, and Ntozake Shange. She is professor of Dance, with affiliations in Gender and Women's Studies, and African American Studies, and is currently serving as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation - Humanities, Arts, Related Fields at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign.

Marjani Forté-Saunders is an artist, educator, and organizer. She is a 2020 recipient of the Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants for Artists Award and an inaugural fellow of the UBW Choreographic Center, the Jerome Hill Artist, and DanceUSA Fellowship. Marjani is a two-time Princess Grace Foundation awardee and a three-time Bessie Award winner for her latest work Memoirs of a... Unicorn (now touring internationally) and as part of the collective Skeleton Architecture. She collaborates with husband and composer Everett Asis Saunders as 7NMS|, also founding directors of the emerging platform ART & POWER. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6 pm EDT with Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris and J. Bouey
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater in 1992. He has received three Bessie Awards, four Black Theater Alvin Ailey Awards, a Herb Alpert Award in choreography, a Guggenheim, Dance Magazine's Legend Award, and a lifetime achievement award from Palm Dessert Festival. At the turn of the century, he was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history. The first street dancer to receive two honorary doctorates, he was also the first choreographer to set a 60-minute work Lazarus, which is hailed as a modern version of Alvin Ailey's signature work Revelations

J. Bouey is a dance artist. As a performer, choreographer, educator, and writer, they make art using movement as the language and material. They are also the founder and co-host of The Dance Union Podcast with Melanie Greene and is a current member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. J. Bouey has shown their original work at The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Judson Church, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Gibney Dance, BAAD!, CPR - Center for Performance Research, La Mama Experimental Theatre and South Mountain Center for Performing Arts. J. performed with Elisa Monte Dance as an apprentice, Christal Brown's INSPIRIT Dance Company, AntonioBrownDance, Germaul Barnes' Viewsic Dance, Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, and Maria Bauman's MBDance. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 6 pm EDTwith Kyle Marshall and Okwui Okpokwasili 
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Choreographer and dancer Kyle Marshall is a 2018 Juried Bessie Award winner and a NJ State Council on the Arts Fellow. His company, Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC) sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. KMC has performed at venues including: BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out, Joe's Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, NYC Summerstage, Wassaic Arts Project, and Conduit Dance (PDX). Commissions have included: Dance on the Lawn Montclair's Dance Festival, NJPAC, and Harlem Stage. Kyle has taught masterclass and creative workshops at the American Dance Festival, Montclair State University, County Prep High School, and Muhlenberg College. He has been a recipient of residencies from MANA Contemporary, CPR and Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Presently, Kyle dances with the Trisha Brown Dance Company and is a resident artist at the 92nd St.Y. He has also worked with doug elkins choreography etc., and Tiffany Mills Company. 

Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and choreographer. Her experimental performance pieces bring together dance, theater, and the visual arts. Her performance work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, and Jacob's Pillow. She has held residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Rauschenberg Foundation Captiva Residency, and New York Live Arts, where she was a Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts. Okpokwasili is also a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award Recipient. In 2020, Okpokwasili won an Antonyo Award for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.

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