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“Black Dance Stories” Announces July 2020 Lineup

Black Dance Stories announces its July 2020 lineup, featuring stories by and discussions with, well-known dancers and choreographers who use their art to create commentary on the Black experience. Created and conceived by performer, producer, and dance writer Charmaine Warren, the newly launched story sharing and discussion series highlights Black creatives in the dance world. Black Dance Stories streams live via Zoom every Thursday in July at 6 pm. Join Black Dance Stories here


July 2020 artists include dancers who use their work to raise societal issues, strengthen community through their programming, and use history as a source of inspiration. The lineup includes Jamar Roberts (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (Elisa Monte Dance), Cynthia Oliver (Cynthia Oliver Co. Dance Theatre), Marjani Forté-Saunders (formerly Urban Bush Women), Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), J. Bouey (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company), Kyle Marshall (Kyle Marshall Choreography), and Okwui Okpokwasili (Past Hodder Fellow). Black Dance Stories launched on June 25, 2020, with internationally acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel and dancer, choreographer, and founder of Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.


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. 


“Our dance world was pummeled by COVID-19 and Black dance artists around the world are finding ways to talk about life during this time, said Charmaine Warren, creator of Black Dance Stories. Our world was further turned upside down after horrible events ensued nationally and globally, bringing attention, yet again, to the need for the Black Lives Matter movement. Black dance artists have not been quiet since. Black dance artists have been doing the work. Black dance artists continue to make work. To stay involved, we will hold weekly impromptu discussions and tell stories-Black Dance Stories. This is one action–we will stay involved.”


The Black Dance Stories team includes Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, and Nicholas Hall.


The story sharing and discussion series will live stream on Zoom, every Thursday in July at 6 pm. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page. For more information visit @BlackDanceStories on Instagram or email blackdancestories@gmail.com. Sign up for updates here. For press information contact blackdancestories@gmail.com

Black Dance Stories Schedule 

Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 6 pm EDT Black Dance Stories with Jamar Roberts and Tiffany Rae-Fisher Hosted by Charmaine Warren 
Jamar Roberts 
graduated from the New World School of the Arts. He trained at the Dance Empire of Miami, where he continues to teach, and as a fellowship student at The Ailey School. Roberts was a member of Ailey II and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Dance Magazine featured Jamar as one of “25 to Watch” in 2007 and on the cover in 2013. He performed at The White House in 2010, and as a guest star on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and The Ellen Degeneres Show. In 2015 he made his Ailey II choreographic debut with his work Gemeos, set to the music of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti. His first work for the Company, Members Don’t Get Weary, premiered during the 2017 New York City Center season. Roberts won Outstanding Performer at the Bessie Awards and was a guest star with London’s Royal Ballet.
Tiffany Rea-Fisher 
subscribes to the servant leadership model and uses disruption through inclusion as a way to influence her company’s culture. In 2018, Rea-Fisher was awarded a citation from the City of New York for her cultural contributions and accepted an invitation to join the Bessies Selection Committee. Rea-Fisher is in her fourth year as Artistic Director of the NYC-based internationally acclaimed dance company Elisa Monte Dance (EMD). She joined EMD in 2004 where she was principal dancer until 2010. She was named Dance Magazine’s August 2007 On the Rise artist based on her 2006 performance at the Joyce Theater. As a choreographer, Tiffany has had the pleasure of creating numerous pieces for the company as well as being commissioned by Dance Theater of Harlem, Dallas Black Dance Theater, NYC’S Department of Transportation, Utah Repertory Theater, The National Gallery of Art in D.C. and having her work performed for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Recently Tiffany’s works have been seen on the Joyce stage as well the Apollo Theater, Joe’s Pub, Aaron Davis Hall, and New York Live Arts in New York City. Tiffany’s work extends well beyond the stage creating work for the film, fashion, theater, the music industry, and museums. She is the co-founder of Inception to Exhibition and the Dance Curator for the Bryant Park Dance Summer Series. She is the Director of the Lake Placid School of Dance in Lake Placid, New York. She is the Vice President of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation and a member of Women of Color of the Arts. Tiffany has recently completed the National Art Strategies: Chief Executive Program as well as the APAP Leadership Fellows Program.


Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 pm EDT 
Black Dance Stories with Cynthia Oliver and Marjani Forte Saunders Hosted by Charmaine Warren
Cynthia Oliver 
is a Bronx born, Virgin Island reared, award-winning choreographer, and performance artist. Her ongoing research is in the areas of intersection between contemporary dance, feminism, black popular culture, and the expressive performances of Africans in the diaspora, with an emphasis on the performance in the Anglophone Caribbean, particularly the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has danced with numerous companies, including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., the Bebe Miller Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Tere O’Connor Dance. As an actor, she has performed in works by Greg Tate, Ione, Laurie Carlos, and Ntozake Shange. She is professor of Dance, with affiliations in Gender and Women’s Studies, and African American Studies, and is currently serving as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation – Humanities, Arts, Related Fields at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign.
Marjani Forté-Saunders is an artist, educator, and organizer. She is a 2020 recipient of the Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants for Artists Award and an inaugural fellow of the UBW Choreographic Center, the Jerome Hill Artist, and DanceUSA Fellowship. Marjani is a two-time Princess Grace Foundation awardee and a three-time Bessie Award winner for her latest work Memoirs of a… Unicorn (now touring internationally) and as part of the collective Skeleton Architecture. Marjani collaborates with husband and composer Everett Asis Saunders as 7NMS|, also founding directors of the emerging platform ART & POWER. Humbly, she defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers! 


Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6 pm EDT 
Black Dance Stories with Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris and J. BoueyHosted by Charmaine Warren
Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris 
founded Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater in 1992. He has received three Bessie Awards, four Black Theater Alvin Ailey Awards, a Herb Alpert Award in choreography, a Guggenheim, Dance Magazine’s Legend Award, and a lifetime achievement award from Palm Dessert Festival. At the turn of the century he was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history. The first street dancer to receive two honorary doctorates he was also the first choreographer to set a 60-minute work Lazarus, which is hailed as a modern version of Alvin Ailey’s signature work Revelations
J. Bouey 
is a dance artist. As a performer, choreographer, educator, and writer they make art using movement as the language and material. They are also the founder and co-host of The Dance Union Podcast with Melanie Greene and is a current member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. J. Bouey has shown their original work at The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Judson Church, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Gibney Dance, BAAD!, CPR – Center for Performance Research, La Mama Experimental Theatre and South Mountain Center for Performing Arts. J. performed with Elisa Monte Dance as an apprentice, Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT Dance Company, AntonioBrownDance, Germaul Barnes’ Viewsic Dance, Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, and Maria Bauman’s MBDance. J. Bouey received a BFA in Dance from Arizona State University.


Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 6 pm EDT 
Black Dance Stories with Kyle Marshall and Okwui Okpokwasili Hosted by Charmaine Warren
Choreographer and dancer Kyle Marshall is a 2018 Juried Bessie Award winner and a NJ State Council on the Arts Fellow. His company, Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC) sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. KMC has performed at venues including: BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joe’s Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, NYC Summerstage, Wassaic Arts Project, and Conduit Dance (PDX). Commissions have included: Dance on the Lawn Montclair’s Dance Festival, NJPAC, and Harlem Stage. Kyle has taught masterclass and creative workshops at the American Dance Festival, Montclair State University, County Prep High School and Muhlenberg College. He has been a recipient of residencies from MANA Contemporary, CPR and Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Presently, Kyle dances with the Trisha Brown Dance Company and is a resident artist at the 92nd St.Y. He has also worked with doug elkins choreography etc., and Tiffany Mills Company. Kyle graduated from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and resides in Jersey City.
Okwui Okpokwasili 
is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and choreographer. Her experimental performance pieces bring together dance, theater, and the visual arts. Her performance work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, and Jacob’s Pillow. She has held residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Rauschenberg Foundation Captiva Residency, and New York Live Arts, where she was a Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Okpokwasili is also a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award Recipient. In 2020 Okwui Okpokwasili won an Antonyo Award For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf.


About Black Dance Stories
Created and conceived by performer, producer, and dance writer Charmaine Warren, Black Dance Stories is a community working together to support our mission to uphold, highlight, and celebrate Black Creatives. The Black Dance Stories team includes Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, and Nicholas Hall. 

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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