As youngsters, my brother, Gregory, and I went to the Apollo Theater in Harlem to watch tap greats like Teddy Hale, Bunny Briggs, the Step Brothers and Coles & Atkins. Most of those guys would come on the stage and just tap.
In Episode 1 of Black Dance Stories, a web series that launched on June 25, 2020, Stefanie Batten Bland talks about how she has no childcare. In another episode, Leslie Parker Zooms from the Twin Cities, where she is having solo rehearsals at a theater three blocks from the epicenter of the George Floyd protests. […]
As Black History Month comes to a close, YouTube Originals and Google Arts & Culture are presenting a dance-filled virtual celebration. Created in partnership with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Howard University Graduate Film Program and NAL Media, “Black Renaissance,” honoring the work of groundbreaking Black changemakers and cultural figures, premieres on February 26 on […]
Time to let your artistic skills blossom—but this time, we don’t mean on the dance floor. Dancer, choreographer and artist Amber Pickens has used her quarantine time to illustrate a coloring book that celebrates Black dance history. The Juilliard graduate, who recently made her choreographic debut, created Blooming in Motion as a fun, educational way […]
The lack of Black ballet teachers in professional training programs has long been known to be a weakness holding the field back from true inclusivity. The common refrain of “We can’t find them” might have been plausible before, given the scarcity of professional Black ballet dancers. Yet suddenly, qualified candidates are springing up. (Perhaps the […]
For many of us, the challenges of 2020 made artistic inspiration scarce. But director and choreographer Tislarm Bouie says he harnessed the hopelessness he felt last summer and transformed it into inspiration for a short film titled “Thug.” “Ball of Confusion” is one part of the larger project. It features Lloyd Boyd, Gabriel Hyman, Martell […]
In response to a national reckoning with racial injustice, Complexions Contemporary Ballet makes a powerful contribution to the conversation with its film “Black is Beautiful.” The company’s artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson choreographed movement to a spoken word piece by poets Terrell Lewis, Aicha Therese, Mr. Reed and Poetess Jess. An introduction prefacing […]
Last year’s Black Lives Matter protests jolted the ballet world into action. All of a sudden, things that once “took time” instantaneously became easy fixes, like it was an episode of Oprah’s favorite things for Black people: “You get an opportunity, and you get an opportunity!” Much of this sudden, reactionary change has elicited high […]