Photo of Kyle Marshall (left) by Christopher Duggan. Photo of Marjani Forté-Saunders (right) by Maria Baranova

Celebrating the 2020 Harkness Promise Awards

A partnership between Dance Magazine and the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Harkness Promise Awards recognize choreographers in their first decade of professionally presenting their work. The net proceeds from the Dance Magazine Award ceremony fund the Harkness Promise Awards, which include a $5,000 unrestricted grant, along with 40 hours of studio space and ongoing mentorship with Joan Finkelstein, the Harkness Foundation's executive director. Awardees are chosen for the excellence of their artistic work and their commitment to community transformation through dance.

This year's Harkness Promise Award recipients are Marjani Forté-Saunders and Kyle Marshall.

Kyle Marshall sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. In collaboration with his company of diversely brilliant artists, he is creating a unique body of work that addresses both personal and collective experience within racialized and stratified systems, challenging us to access our common humanity for change. A dedicated teacher of both high school and college students, he seeks to introduce them to new ways of questioning through the art of dance.

Marjani Forté-Saunders' artistic practice, informed by years of anti-racist organizer training and her experience as a lead facilitator with Urban Bush Women's Builders, Organizers and Leaders through Dance program, is committed to effecting liberation and justice through choreography, performance, teaching and cultural community organizing. Her compelling work encompasses the depths of human experience in search of a world in which true freedom elevates us all. She is the epitome of an engaged artist-citizen. —Joan Finkelstein

Join Dance Magazine in celebrating Marjani Forté-Saunders and Kyle Marshall at the December 7 virtual Dance Magazine Awards ceremony. Tickets are now available here.

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Photo by Ernest Gregory, Courtesy Fleming

How This Tap-Dancer-Turned-Composer Stays True to His Jazz Roots

From Riverdance to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr. has proved to be a triple threat on the stage and screen. He's also an entrepreneur, selling his own line of wireless microphones, DeW It Right Tap Mics. Last year, he added "composer" to his resumé with the release of Sax and Taps INTERSPLOSION!, the first tap dance and jazz album recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club. One of the songs, co-written with jazz saxophonist Erica von Kleist, was a finalist for last year's Unsigned Only music competition.

"When you're invited to dance with a jazz band, it's always assumed that, as a tap dancer, you're going to be a feature. If you go all the way back to New Orleans' Congo Square, and even before then, dance was a part of the music. I wanted to stick to those roots and create an album where everything was intertwined."

He recently spoke with Dance Magazine about his collaboration with von Kleist and the creation of their album.

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January 2021