DANCE IQUAIL! Returns To Philadelphia With Three World Premieres March 22-23 At The Suzanne Roberts Theatre

It's been years since Dr. Iquail Shaheed has presented dance works on a Philadelphia stage with his company DANCE IQUAIL!.

By: Feb. 23, 2024
DANCE IQUAIL! Returns To Philadelphia With Three World Premieres March 22-23 At The Suzanne Roberts Theatre
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It's been years since Dr. Iquail Shaheed has presented dance works on a Philadelphia stage with his company DANCE IQUAIL!. The Mantua native, in the interim, has become the first Black Male to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Women's University. He brings his company back to the City of Brotherly Love for a two-night concert featuring  three World Premieres at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

This exciting evening of dance features three world premieres by Christian von Howard, Maleek Washington, and company founder Dr. Iquail Shaheed. Christian von Howard is the Artistic Director of the Von Howard Project.  Von Howard's choreographic work tends to be extremely athletic, yet infused with layered moments of subtle detail and sinuous control, where his interest in challenging the body's ability to play on its own senses is crafted seamlessly in space.  Using the body like an artist's canvas, he creates physical landscapes that take charge and sculpts the space pushing the boundaries of internal tracking and physical execution.

“I'm always proud to present new choreographers to our home  audiences,” said Shaheed. “We travel the world with sold out audiences that love the high energy, spiritual and down-right fun dance performances about Philly. I can't wait to show our hometown  audience what we're up to”

Christian von Howard is an international artist. He has worked with many dance artists such as Fred Benjamin, Fernando Bujones, Daniel Gwirtzman and organizations such as the American Dance Festival, Dance Masters of America, Iliev Dance Arts Foundation to name a few.  His choreographic work has been produced in venues across the globe including Europe, South America, Asia, and throughout the US. Christian is an Associate Professor at Montclair State University, part of the teaching faculty at the Alvin Ailey School, and served as the Northeast Regional Director of the American College Dance Association (2016-2023). He holds advanced degrees from the School of Classical and Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University and Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and as a Fulbright Specialist (2019-2021) for the United States.

Maleek Washington is a performer, choreographer, and teaching artist. A native New Yorker from the Bronx, he began his dance training at Harlem School of the Arts, Broadway Dance Center, and the Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts, and attended The Boston Conservatory on full scholarship. He began his professional career with CityDance Ensemble in Washington DC, before returning to NYC to collaborate with McArthur Genius Awardee Kyle Abraham as a part of Abraham.In.Motion (@aimbykyleabraham) for 4 seasons. He then became the first African-American male to perform in the critically acclaimed immersive show Sleep No More (Punch Drunk). 

Maleek choreographed for rap legend Nas' 2022 “Big Nas Masterclass” commercial and video, assisted choreography for Spike Lee's Mont Blanc commercial, and has performed for Sia, Phish, Rihanna, and NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE. He has been a member of Camille A. Brown and Dancers for 5 seasons and was an assistant choreographer for Porgy & Bess (Grammy Winner) and Fire Shut Up In My Bones at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.  His performance talents have been recognized nationally at prestigious venues including The White House, The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Jacob's Pillow, The Joyce Theater, and the Apollo Theater. He has been commissioned to present works by renowned organizations both nationally and internationally, and is a highly sought after teaching artist. Maleek is honored to be a 2022 Princess Grace Award Winner in Choreography, a 2021 Bessie Nominee as an Emerging Choreographer, and is a Co-curator of the 2019 Bronx APAP Dance Festival at Hostos.

The final piece is a brand new DANCE IQUAIL!  work  called Rain, choreographed by company founder Dr. Iquail Shaheed. Hailed in reviews as “a perfect example of his generation of male dancers… Technically superb and artistically infallible,” Dr. Iquail Shaheed is a Philadelphia-based artist, activist, and the executive artistic director of DANCE IQUAIL! through which he creates new works and programs that centers on Blackness, Justice, and Joy.

Dr. Shaheed has worked with internationally acclaimed companies such as Philadanco, Compagnie Thor (Brussels), Sean Curran Company, Ronald K Brown/ Evidence, and the Fred Benjamin Dance Company. He has also appeared in various Broadway productions including The Lion King, Hot Feet, and Super Fly. As an educator, Iquail preserves the Horton Technique by serving on faculty at The Ailey School, NAISDA Dance College in Australia, and is the second Black man to receive tenure and promotion to associate professor at Goucher College in their inception in 1889  Among his many honors are grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Black Art Future Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, MAP Fund, National Performance Network, the Philadelphia Dance Award – “The Rocky,” and the Marion D. Cuyjet Award. 

Dr. Shaheed received his training as a scholarship student at many prestigious schools including the Philadelphia Dance Company – Philadanco, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, The Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, Paul Taylor School, The Juilliard School and Pennsylvania Ballet, among many others. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ballet performance from the University of the Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography from Purchase College. Dr. Shaheed is also the first Black Male to earn a Doctor of  Philosophy degree from Texas Woman's University. 

He proudly serves on the board of directors for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, where he was the elected board treasurer. He is a board member with Dance/USA and the Stockton Bartol Rush Foundation.

DANCE IQUAIL! will present this concert  March 22-23 at 7:30 pm at the theatre located at 480 S. Broad Street. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com/event/6190775. More information on the company can be found at danceiquail.org.

About DANCE IQUAIL! 

 


DANCE IQUAIL!   is a 21st century cutting edge dance company that was born to not only educate and empower talented dancers and the audience alike, but also to bring positive influence to inner city youth through education and community awareness. DANCE IQUAIL! seeks to enhance the level of appreciation of dance in a spirit of excellence by embracing and pushing the talents of deserving, yet under-recognized dance artists. Founder, Iquail, experienced the injustice and politics in dance during his youth, and decided to make a stand by forming a company that would not only break such cultural and ethnic barriers, but also provide a window of countless opportunities for aspiring dancers to be employed in a stable and secure environment.

Steering inner city youth in a positive direction is DANCE IQUAIL's  most passionate pursuit. The company offers a place of purity and nurturing for inspiring young dancers to be taught not only the fundamentals of dance, but instills discipline and other virtues possessed by model citizens. This process is accomplished with the multi-talented teachers and choreographers that work within this organization. DANCE IQUAIL!  shows these youth how to channel the negativity that surrounds them daily, into a world of innovation and creativity through thought-provoking performances. DANCE IQUAIL!  gives the inner city youth a true voice through the art of dance. DANCE IQUAIL! is very fortunate to have such a creative and passionate founder at the helm.

DANCE IQUAIL! has established noteworthy companies in both New York and Philadelphia, two of the world's most visible cities for the art of dance. The company, being named for how one would speak with enthusiasm when seeing Iquail himself dance, have the privilege of learning firsthand from this credibly acclaimed, international teacher. Iquail is not only scholastically trained, but is a very versatile performer himself. He has experience on Broadway, and also in operas, concert dance, movies, television and print. Our founder is securing his legacy through this company, and will not only be appreciated for his selflessness as an artist, but will be celebrated for his willingness and devotion to share what he has learned, one community at a time.




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