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Red Clay Dance Company Relocates to Woodlawn

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The new space will include two studios, equipped with Marley flooring, mirrors, dressing rooms and more.

Red Clay Dance Company Relocates to Woodlawn

With an eye on the future and a connection to its roots, Red Clay Dance Company (RCDC) is relocating to a newly developed space at Woodlawn Station, 808 E. 63rd Street, Chicago. Following a customized renovation of the 3,700-square-foot ground-level space that is currently underway, RCDC plans to occupy its new home in late November or early December 2020, returning to in-person professional company rehearsals and Academy dance classes with all city- and state-mandated pandemic safety protocols in place.

The new space will include two studios, equipped with Marley flooring, mirrors, dressing rooms, and state-of-the-art video and audio technology for livestreaming classes and events, along with administrative areas and storage space.

"A space of our own, to call home, was part of our five-year strategic plan," said RCDC Founding Artistic Director and CEO Vershawn Sanders-Ward. "Although we have enjoyed a productive relationship with Fuller Park, this new space will give us the autonomy we needed as well as professionally designed studios available to the community and our professional touring company. With this new home, we can expand access and visibility for Afro-Diasporic dance instruction and affirm the viability of a professional dance career for youth in this community."

Woodlawn Station was the last phase of the Preservation of Affordable Housing's Woodlawn Choice Initiative, a broad effort to rebuild and revitalize the Woodlawn community and encourage re-investment in this South Side neighborhood. Across the street from the Green Line and accessible to major bus routes, the facility is also close to restaurants, a new grocery store, and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

Sanders-Ward commented, "We remain committed to staying on the South Side. In this location we can add value to a historic commercial corridor and connect more deeply with the Woodlawn community. We can strengthen existing relationships with partners like the University of Chicago, while also building new partnerships." RCDC has received letters of support from 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette B. Taylor, the Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce, the Logan Center, and the South East Chicago Commission.

"This will be a community space for dancers, dance lovers, and other artists to convene," said Sanders-Ward. "It will be a home not only for Red Clay Dance, but also for the most diverse Afro-Diasporic dance classes in Chicago!"

In the meantime, RCDC's Academy has opened registration for its fall dance classes, which will begin virtually October 12 and, pending completion of the space renovation, continue with a weekly rotation between virtual and in-person classes through the end of 2020. A class schedule and tuition information are available at redclaydance.com/academy.

Red Clay Dance Company lives to awaken "glocal" change through creating, performing, and teaching dances of the African Diaspora-change that transforms cultural and socioeconomic inequities in our local and global community. Founding Artistic Director and CEO Vershawn Sanders-Ward conceived the idea of RCDC while on her first trip to Senegal, West Africa, when she became fascinated by the interconnectedness of dance and everyday life. The name Red Clay comes from her childhood memories of playing in red earth during her summers in Mobile, Alabama.

For information, visit redclaydance.com.


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