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Black Ballet Research Collaborative DINNER. 9.22.23. Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Friday, September 22, 2023, Ms. Nena Gilreath, Mr. Waverly Lucas, and Ms. Lydia Abarca Mitchell were recognized for continuing the legacy of Dance Theatre of Harlem and Arthur Mitchell in Atlanta, Georgia by The Black Ballet Research Collaborative on the occasion of the announcement of their new research and book project.

Google Folder of Photos and Vids The Black Ballet Research Collaborative invited members of the dance community to a sit down dinner in Fellowship Hall at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Black Ballet Research Collaborative (BBRC) directed by Joselli Audain Deans, Thomas DeFrantz, PhD, and Spelman Professor, P. Kimberleigh Jordan will produce an anthology of research on the work of DTH.

Anthology Contributors and essays: Epistemological Utterances on Sunday Afternoon by Adesola Akinyele, PhD Detourne: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Soviet Union Tour by Anjali Austin, MFA Illuminated in Blackness: Arthur Mitchell's Reconceptualization of Creole Giselle as an An American Classic by Christian Cottman Pierangeli, M.Ed Female Ballet Dancers of Color: Our Voices Matter by Melanie Person, MFA Arthur Mitchell: Sower of Seeds for Leadership by Endalyn Taylor, MFA Dance Theatre of Harlem: Moves Keith Saunders, MFA Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews was also recognized for his musical contributions, scholarship, and faith who has worked to bring the spirit, the arts, and creativity into "one seamless reed". The first music he wrote was for dance. The dinner was hosted by Ebenezer Member and co-director of the BBRC P. Kimberleigh Jordan, her husband and Ebenezer's Senior Pastor Vaughn, and Director of Communications, Tameka Bell. Bell, also Ebenezer's lead Psalmist, serenaded Thomas DeFrantz with a rendition of Stephanie Mills song "Home" from the iconic film and stageplay, The Wiz, in honor of his contributions to this project and dance history scholarship. Aku Kadogo shared a memory of running from The Booth Theatre to The Majestic in the late 1970s to watch Stephanie Mills sing that very song as Dorothy on Broadway. Kadogo performed as "Lady in Yellow in Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" from 1976-78 at The Booth Theatre. The room was joyful and the food was superb. Amateur and Veteran dancers shared the floor line dancing with the younger folks leading the newer shuffles. Spelman College was represented by Cici Kelly, Aku Kadogo, Kathleen Schaag, Anastasia Velecce, shady Radical, and hosted by Philosophy and Religious Studies professor P. Kimberleigh Jordan. Ebenezer as a site was also recognized for being the home of Dr. King, who largely inspired Arthur Mitchell to establish the Dance Theatre of Harlem following his assassination in1968. It was nice to see my church family, Ballethnic family, and Spelman family in the same space. I look forward to seeing what else comes from this intersection of art, faith, and scholarship.

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