African American Dance Company’s annual workshop features classes, events, performance

Post by IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

Dancers stretching at a barre

Participants at the 18th African American Dance Company workshop. Photo courtesy of the African American Arts Institute.

Indiana University’s African American Dance Company will present its 19th Annual Dance Workshop on March 3 and 4 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at IU Bloomington.

The workshop exposes participants to dance and music from the perspective of the African American and African Diaspora through master dance classes, panel discussions and enlightening dialogues. The workshop will include dance classes exploring West Indian/Jamaican, Afro-Cuban and West African styles, vogue and contemporary modern dance.

“The dance workshop gives anyone a great opportunity to learn various dance forms and techniques that are not usually offered in the area of central Indiana,” said Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company and a professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies. “It is also about connecting, establishing new relationships and forging collaborations in the dance discipline with other dancers, teachers and performers.”

This year’s workshop features seven distinguished guest artists:

  • Alfred Baker, founding director of the West Indian Folk Dance Company, who has performed and taught Afro-Caribbean dance forms internationally.
  • Yaa Bekyore, dance instructor at the Dagara Music Center in Ghana, who toured for 10 years with Ghana’s Saakumu Dance Troupe.
  • Rogelio Kindelan-Nordet, former professor of folkloric percussion at Centro Nacional de Superacion de la Ensenanza Artistica, Pablo Milanes Foundation and Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte en Cuba.
  • Milagros Ramirez, lead dancer and general artistic director and choreographer for the Ballet Foklorico de Orient Cuba for 18 years.
  • Clifton Robinson, artistic staff musical director for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, a prominent African and African American dance company.
  • Cesar Valentino, instructor and choreographer at Alvin Ailey Extension in New York City, who has toured and taught vogue dance and history internationally.
  • Sheila Ward, a professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science at Norfolk State University and co-director of Eleone Dance Theatre in Philadelphia.

A reception and chat with the artists, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. March 3 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The dance workshop’s guest artists will lead a dialogue with the audience about their personal performing and teaching experiences, as well as answer questions.

Last year, the dance workshop introduced a scholarship program for high school and middle school students. The program offers these students the opportunity to participate in classes, visit campus and interact with IU students and faculty.

Participants at the 18th AADC workshop.

Participants at the 18th African American Dance Company workshop. Photo courtesy of the African American Arts Institute.

“With support of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, we are bringing young, talented dancers from the Midwest onto our campus for a rich experience offered by our esteemed guest artists,” said Charles Sykes, executive director of the African American Arts Institute.

Among the workshop weekend’s free events this year is “Vogue: Underground to Viral,” a lecture demonstration on Vogue dance, history and culture led by renowned Vogue artist Cesar Valentino. The event will be held at 7 p.m. March 2 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall and is co-presented by the LGBTQ+ Culture Center.

The 19th Annual Dance Showcase, featuring performances by the workshop participants and guest artists, is also free and open to the public and will be presented at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall.

Class registration and scholarship information is available through the African American Arts Institute’s website. The full registration fee for classes is $130 for both March 3 and 4. The cost for March 3 only is $55 and March 4 only is $70. Single class fees are $25. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, and the African American Arts Institute.

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