Kicking off Wed 1/21
Whether you’re a dance professional or just an occasional member of the dance audience, clear your schedule for the next 5 days because, starting today, Wed 1/21, a tsunami of dance performances, classes, panels, and auditions sweeps into Cleveland. It’s the National Conference and Festival of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, and whether you’re black or white it’s huge in the dance world and a huge opportunity for Cleveland dancers and dance audiences.
In the first of four concerts local dance companies including Verb Ballets, Dancing Wheels, Greene Works Project, and Djapo Cultural Arts share the stage with out-of-town groups including Stivers School for the Arts from Dayton and special guests Duke Ellington School of the Arts from Washington D.C. The emphasis is on choreographers of color but the vibe is inclusive. 6:30 pm Wednesday, 1/21/2015, at Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106. For more information go to http://verbballets.org or phone CMA at 216-421-7350. (This concert is FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited so please arrive in plenty of time for the 6:30 pm start time, NOT at 7:30 pm as some publications have erroneously announced.)
Thursday night it’s the Emerging Artist Youth Showcase, featuring dance ensembles from arts high schools around the nation. “It is the concert to see,” opines Terence Greene, Vice President of the board of Cleveland Dance Movement, the organization that is bringing the IABD conference to Cleveland. “Those young dancers are hungry and they know that the dance companies they are auditioning for will be watching.” 8pm Thursday at Playhouse Square. http://playhousesquare.org
On Friday night 14 groups from Cleveland and around North America including university dance programs and second companies perform in the Members Artists & Company Showcase. 7:30 pm Friday at Playhouse Square. http://playhousesquare.org
On 8 pm Saturday it’s the Founders Showcase, featuring the companies of Philadanco!, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Camille A. Brown and Dancers, and Forces of Nature Dance Theater, any one of which we’d drop everything to see in concert.
Most of the conference’s 64 classes take place between 10 am and 4:30 pm at Playhouse Square or Cleveland State University, but don’t overlook the Thursday midnight Youth Hip Hop class or the Friday midnight Traditional African class. Midnight Hip Hop is taught by Crystal Frazier, long a mainstay of Rennie Harris Puremovement. Midnight African is taught by Assane Konte and Chuck Davis, winner of the 2014 Bessie for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.
Panels, workshops, and round table discussions include Wellness4Dancers, presented by 3 health professionals who are also dancers, a panel on teaching dance in a K-12 setting, a round table discussion, Collective Strategies for Women of Color in Dance, and a panel for male dancers, Man to Man.
Networking and mentoring will be no small part of this 27th Annual Conference and Festival of the IABD, we suppose. It’s a chance to meet and greet dance professionals of national importance, many of them Clevelanders.
And if you’re going to the auditions on Sunday afternoon, merde!
[Photo: Dan LeHoty]
From Cool Cleveland contributors Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas. Elsa and Vic are both longtime Clevelanders. Elsa is a landscape designer. She studied ballet as an avocation for 2 decades. Vic has been a dancer and dance teacher for most of his working life, performing in a number of dance companies in NYC and Cleveland. They write about dance as a way to learn more and keep in touch with the dance community. E-mail them at vicnelsaATearthlink.net.