Photo Credits: Tiffany Rea-Fisher by Ayodele Casel / Jonathan Alsberry by Steven Truman-Gray
In our last episode, we had a great conversation with two dancers about their experiences navigating the professional commercial dance field while Black. In today’s episode, we’re continuing this dialogue, talking to people whom we often call the “front of the room.” We didn’t want to stop the conversation with the experiences of those in the classrooms and on stage; we also wanted to include those at the audition tables and in the casting rooms – those who wield decision-making power and influence. This episode spotlights the experiences and challenges of Black dance leaders that we don’t often get to discuss.
Tiffany Rea-Fisher is a writer, choreographer, collaborator, and teacher. After performing for many years as a principal dancer, she is now the Artistic Director of Elisa Monte Dance Company. Jonathan Alsberry is a dance educator, creator, and coach who works with renowned artists such as Lar Lubovitch and Aszure Barton. He is also the Artistic Liaison for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
In our previous series on the LLAB, we spoke with Black dancers about their experience as dance students in undergraduate and graduate programs and the challenges they faced being minorities in those spaces. This week, we started a new two-episode topic, re-centering the conversation on what it’s like to be a professional dancer while Black. We meet concert dancers Rena Butler and Maleek Washington, and talk about their unique experiences dancing with both predominantly Black and non-Black companies, as well their experience of being overqualified.
Rena is a dancer, director, and choreographer dancing with Gibney Dance Company. Maleek is a dancer, choreographer, and educator dancing with Camille A. Brown and dancers.
This is the 3rd episode in our new fall series, The LLAB with Antuan Byers. LLAB stands for listening, learning, and building. The overall goal of this series is to create a space to share marginalized Black voices, to learn from their experiences, and dream for ways in which we can move forward.
We were lucky to catch Prince Credell of Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) at City Center during a busy day of rehearsal for the compay’s appearance at Fall for Dance. (NDT will be back for a full engagement in November! Get tickets!) Prince talked to us about his experience working with the exciting range of contemporary choreographers who come through NDT, learning to dance as a character, and some of his proudest moments as a teacher of dance. Speaking with Prince was an absolute pleasure, and we can’t recommend more highly seeing him perform with one of the most impressive and innovative dance companies of today at City Center Nov 16th-19th.(more…)