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BLACK DANCE STORIES Announces August 2020 Lineup

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The August lineup features yonTande and Meredith Rainey (Aug 6); Sydnie Mosley and Raja Feather Kelly (Aug 13) and more.

BLACK DANCE STORIES Announces August 2020 Lineup

Black Dance Stories has announced its August 2020 lineup featuring dancers and choreographers who use their work to raise societal issues, strengthen community through their programming, and use history as a source of inspiration. This month the story sharing and discussion series brings together yonTande and Meredith Rainey (Aug 6); Sydnie Mosley and Raja Feather Kelly (Aug 13); Zane Booker and Oluwadamilare "Dare" Ayorinde (Aug 20); and Leslie Parker and Wanjiru Kamuyu (Aug 27) in discussion. Black Dance Stories will also present the world premiere video of nora chipaumire's new work-[another ] township manifesto (Aug 27). The piece was created specifically for the digital platform in response to our current world environment where Black artists are finding innovative ways to continue to address the politics of Black bodies and connect to their audience. The series streams live via Zoom every Thursday in August at 6 pm.

The Black Dance Stories team consists of Black creatives in the arts, including Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, Nicholas Hall, Cynthia Tate, and Gabe Dekoladenu. 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.

The series launched in June 2020. Previous artists include Ayodele Casel, Stefanie Batten Bland, Jamar Roberts, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Cynthia Oliver, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris, J. Bouey, Kyle Marshall, and Okwui Okpokwasili. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.

Black Dance Stories streams live on Zoom, every Thursday in August at 6 pm. For more information visit @BlackDanceStories or email Sign up for updates here.


Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 6 pm EDT

Black Dance Stories discussion with yonTande and Meredith Rainey­

Hosted by Charmaine Warren

yonTande  Whitney V. Hunter, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is a Chicago-born artist/culture worker, committed to activating #cultureascatalyst.  A BLACK SEED Native (art, activism, and community driven-apparatus) and Philadelphia resident, his work centers around nurturing and cultivating individual and communal spirit through dance-performance, education, and curation.  yonTande's choreographic and performance artworks have been presented through Kumble Theater, La Mama, Grace Exhibition Space, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival, and in the streets of NYC, Chicago, and Detroit. He has worked in performance with Martha Graham Dance Company, Rod Rodgers, Reggie Wilson, Martha Clarke, Fiona Templeton, Daria Faïn and Robert Kocik, John Jesurun, Kankouran West African Dance Company, Yass Hakoshima, and others.  He has also directed performance collectives under Hunter Dance Theater and Whitney Hunter [Medium], was a Movement Research Artist in Residence (2013-15), a founding member/curator of Social Health Performance Club, and is currently co-creator of Denizen Arts with his life partner, theatre artist, Jude Sandy.

Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. He became the first African-American to join the Milwaukee Ballet (1985). He was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet (1987). Among other awards and fellowships, Rainey has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003), and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010). Rainey has commissioned works for Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet X, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, and institutions such as The University of the Arts, Drexel University, Stockton University, Goucher College, Swarthmore College, and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain. In 2009 Rainey founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre. Rainey and Tania Isaac joined forces in 2016 and created (In)Visible and Request through their project Pitch an incubator for their collaborative work. In the Summer of 2018, Meredith became a member of the first University of the Arts Master of Fine Arts in Dance cohort and graduated in May of 2020.

Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 6 pm EDT

Black Dance Stories discussion with Sydnie Mosley and Raja Feather Kelly

Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Sydnie L. Mosley is a Harlem-based dancer, choreographer, and educator. As an artist-activist, she is interested in creative work that is both artistically sound and socially aware actively engaging audiences in the artistic process and in performance. She produces experiential dance works with her collective SLMDances. The collective works in communities to organize for gender and racial justice. Mosley's dances have been performed extensively throughout New York City and she was listed by as one of 25 "Up and Coming: Young Minority Artists and Entrepreneurs." Sydnie is a part of the 2017 Bessie Award-winning cast of the skeleton architecture, the future of our worlds curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. Mosley danced with Christal Brown's INSPIRIT (2010-2013) and continues to appear as a guest artist for Brooklyn Ballet since 2009. She earned her MFA in Dance with an emphasis on Choreography from the University of Iowa and is also an alumna of Barnard College at Columbia University, where she earned her BA in Dance and Africana Studies and where she is an Adjunct Lecturer for the dance department.

Raja Feather Kelly is a choreographer, a director, and the artistic director of the feath3r theory. He is a three-time Princess Grace Award winner (2017, 2018, 2019). In 2020 he was the Obie Award winner and Outer Critics Circle Award honoree for choreography for the Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop. Raja is also the 2019-2020 Randjelović/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts, an inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, and a 2019 Creative Capital award recipient. Over the past decade, Kelly has created fifteen evening-length premieres with his company the feath3r theory as well as directing and choreographing extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City. His choreography has also garnered a 2018 Breakout Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography. He was born in Fort Hood, Texas and holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Connecticut College.

Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 6 pm EDT

Black Dance Stories discussion with Zane Booker and Oluwadamilare "Dare" Ayorinde

Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Zane Booker, a native Philadelphian, began his dance training at the age of seven with the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts under the direction of Joan Myers Brown. By age fourteen he was selected by Ms. Brown to perform with the Philadelphia Dance Company. Booker has also performed nationally and internationally with Fosse /International Tour, The White Oak Dance Project, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Rhythmek, New York Chamber Ballet, New National Theater of Tokyo, the Opera of Monte Carlo, Les Ballets De Monte Carlo, Netherlands Dance Theater, and North Carolina Dance Theater. In 2006, Booker, Brandi, and Elaine Booker co-founded the Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative (SLJ), a socially conscious, multimedia, dance theater company, promoting HIV/ AIDS awareness. As Artistic Director he created Ebony, Beige, and Bronze: The Philadelphia Show to inspire social consciousness about HIV/AIDS and honor dancers from Philadelphia that had passed from the disease. In addition, SLJ produced Dance and Discussion Black Men's Health, a yearly community engagement event, in collaboration with over ten non-profit organizations in Philadelphia.

Dance Magazine chose SLJ as one of 25 companies to watch in 2007. Booker was part of The Elephant is in the Room with Rennie Harris and Raphael Xavier. The film was created by Roni Koresh responded to the death of Mr. George Floyd.

Oluwadamilare (Dare) Ayorinde is Nigerian-Black freelance performing artist living in New Jersey. Since Rutgers University he has worked with Colleen Thomas, Bill Young, Netta Yerushalmy, Stefanie Batten Bland, Susan Marshall, Kayla Farrish, Douglas Dunn, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, The Trisha Brown Dance Company, Kyle Marshall, and Miriam Gabriel + Carlo Antonio Villanueva. He has presented work at Smush Gallery, Morristown Museum, Stuffed Arts and Monday's At Judson, Participant Inc Gallery, and more. Last year he was Dance on the Lawn's fifth Emerging Choreographer and a Chez Bushwick resident. He is named a 2020 top 25 to watch in Dance Magazine.

Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 6 pm EDT

Black Dance Stories discussion with Leslie Parker and Wanjiru Kamuyu

Choreography by nora chipaumire: [another] township manifesto (world premiere)

Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Leslie Parker is a dance artist, maker, director, collaborator, improviser, and educator holding a BFA from Temple University in Choreography and Modern dance technique and a MFA in Dance from Hollins University in partnership with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company in Frankfurt, Germany. Parker received a Bessie award for Outstanding Performer and is an inaugural Jerome Hill Foundation Artist Fellow 2019-2021. Her most recent choreographer and director credits include Jimmy & Lorraine: A Musing by Talvin Wilks presented by Pillsbury House Theater and Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks' Collidescope 4.0 presented by University of Minnesota Theater Arts and Dance Department. As founder of Leslie Parker Dance Project-a foundation to direct and make dances-her credits include: Call to Remember, Bone Womyn Traces in Black, crystal, smoke n'spirit(s)..., Crossroads/Gateways pt 2., Ripen: Forbidden Truth In da Flesh, and In Search of Colors. Presenters for her work include Center for Performance Research, New York Live Arts, Harlem Stage Emoves13, Frey Theater, Painted Bride Theater, Hollins University Theater, Walker Art Center, Mama Laurie Carlos' Late Nite Series and Pillsbury House Theater. Her recent collaborative performance credits include works by Rosy Simas Danse, Marlies Yearby, and the improv-based collective - Skeleton Architecture.

Wanjiru Kamuyu's career began in New York City. As a performer, she has worked with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Bill T. Jones, Molissa Fenely, Nathan Trice, Dean Moss, Tania Isaac, Robyn Orlin, Emmanuel Eggermont, Nathalie Pubellier, Irène Tassembedo, Bintou Dembele and Stefanie Batten Bland. Kamuyu has performed in theater on The Lion King Paris production and FELA ! UK production. Her choreographic projects include tours in the US, Africa, and Europe. Commissions include musical À la recherché de Joséphine, Love is in the hair, Maître Harold, US esteemed dance departments (Mills College, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Stephens College) and community engagement projects with New WORLD Theater (USA), Euroculture and cities Pantin and Aubervilliers (France). While touring she offers master classes and workshops for dance companies, universities, community, and dance centers. Kamuyu also served as Visiting Guest Professor at Mills College (USA) and is currently core faculty for the University of South Florida's Dance in Paris semester and summer programs.

Born in Zimbabwe and based in New York City, nora chipaumire creates work that challenges and embraces the body, Black art, and its aesthetic. She has studied dance and choreography in Africa, Cuba, Jamaica, and the United States and has performed across the globe. Chipaumire is a choreographer and performer who uses her work to challenge and embrace stereotypes of Africa and the Black performing body. Her work critiques colonialism and complicates notions of spectatorship and power. Chipaumire made her directorial debut with Dance for Film on location at Montclair State University in spring 2016. Chipaumire's notable premieres include Chimurenga, Lions will roar..., at Museum of Contemporary Art, visible, Miriam, The Last Heifer, Parallels, and Dark Swan, reconstructed for Urban Bush Women. After receiving her 2016 Grants to Artists award, Chipaumire traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe to work with the Tumbuka Dance Company, the first and only contemporary dance company in Zimbabwe. Chipaumire won the Doris Duke Artist award in 2015, was a recipient of the 2016 Foundation of Contemporary Arts grant, and is a three-time New York Dance and Performance Bessie award recipient. Her work has been supported by the MAP Fund, the Jerome Foundation, NYFA B.U.I.L.D., National Dance Project, NYSCA, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Chipaumire received an M.A. and an M.F.A. from Mills College, in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

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