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Dance is Featured at ELEVATE Art Festival


Dazzling, Dreamlike, Defiant

Dance is Featured at ELEVATE Art Festival

This year’s ELEVATE Art Festival examines arts and culture through the lens of our changed reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, racial unrest, economic recession, and a divisive political climate. Dance performances being presented are dazzling, dreamlike, and defiant. They provide insight into issues that we, and our communities, are dealing with including inequity, food insecurity, and isolation, but also seek to inspire hope, resilience, and activism as we move forward. Join us for this year’s virtual programming from Sunday, October 4 through Saturday, October 10. Below is the dance schedule.

Tuesday, October 6

Dancing into a New Normal – Atlanta Dancers Respond to Covid-19, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

When Covid-19 disrupted the world, the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs acted immediately to provide relief to artists and arts organizations throughout the city. Artists were able to deal with the impact of Covid-19 on their lives and the lives of fellow Atlantans. These dancers investigated the effects of the pandemic in terms of its impact on the human condition, spirit, and discovered what Covid-19 uncloaked in terms of systemic inequity. We are officially in the new normal.

Carolyn McLaughlin, Earlier Balance

Corian Ellisor, Charmed Ones, Vol. 3

DeWayne Jamar Brown, Back to a Nu Dream

Emma Morris, Close to Distance

Indya Childs, Loaded

Kathleen Wessel, HERE (after)

Leland Thorpe, COVID-19 Champz

Monica Noble, Oceans

Patrick Smith, Let There Be Peace on Earth

Zachary Todd, Wise Beyond Our Years

Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta, 6:00 PM – 8:45 PM

Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta was launched by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2017 to serve as a central meeting point for dance audiences, artists, teachers, and students in the Atlanta area. As the choreographer and cultural leader Alvin Ailey said, “Dance came from the people, and it should always be delivered back to the people.” The goal of Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta is to engage Atlanta’s vibrant cultural community through partnerships between Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — which has been performing in the city since the 1970s — and Atlanta-based cultural, civic, and educational organizations.

Using dance as the centerpiece for engagement, the partner organizations present performances, classes and workshops for the public, education programs in schools, conversations with artists and civic leaders, and more. Destination Dance “connects the dots” between these various activities, and it promotes them through the press, email, social media, and this website. The following programs demonstrate the excellent artistic work being offered by Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta partners.

Atlanta Ballet — Sunrise Divine, 6:00 PM

Described as a performance for the soul, Atlanta Ballet commissioned former Alvin Ailey dancer and Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Co-Founder Dwight Rhoden to create a unique work for Atlanta Ballet which premiered in 2019. This was Rhoden’s first commission for Atlanta Ballet. Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Johnson, members of the Spelman College Glee Club and the Golden Gate Singers created the musical landscape for the performance that expresses the heart and soul of the African American experience.

The movement is classical based, but not classical, with a use of upper body movement that’s mobile and contemporary – expressive torsos, complex footwork, physical and athletic. The weaving of bodies cutting through space to create a passionate symphony of shape and form. Themes of faith and devotion, tenacity and love, loss and evolution, power the work on a journey with a universal message of humanity and compassion.

A.R.E.A. — This Bitter Earth, 7:15 PM

Choreographed by Allyne D Gartrell this ballet was created during the pandemic, in response to the social unrest and injustices confronting our society as a whole.

Reigning Victory Dance Academy — “Awakening” Locate Authority Within Yourself, 7:25 PM

This dance film addresses a major shift in the social justice atmosphere that is spiritual and literal. Two works are being presented, Sunrise and Acceptance. Sunrise, a work by Indya Childs and the Peace, Love, and Dance Project, was birthed out of the Black Lives Matter Movement and ideas about mental health. Acceptance is a work created by RVDA Choreographer Imani Tornes which addresses being accepted in a world where people are searching for their identity.

Thursday, October 8

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents Lazarus, 7:30 PM

ELEVATE continues its longstanding relationship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater through this presentation of Lazarus, the company’s first two-act ballet. Acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris completes a trilogy of works — including past Ailey audience favorites Exodus and Home — with this hour-long work inspired by the life and times of Alvin Ailey. With Lazarus, Harris connects past and present in a powerful work that addresses the racial inequities America faced when Mr. Ailey founded his company in 1958 — and still faces today.

Partners for this year’s festival are Kroger, Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home, MARTA, Goodwill of North Georgia, The Mall West End, Selig Enterprises, Hammonds House Museum, Georgia STAND-UP, The City of Atlanta, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta, Facebook, HT Group, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, Canopy Atlanta, France Atlanta, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Hawks, Fulton County Registration and Elections, West End Tours, and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Destination Dance Ailey Atlanta Partners include Rialto Center for the Arts, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, A.R.E.A., Reigning Victory Dance Academy, Atlanta Ballet, and The High Museum of Art.

The City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ vision is to enhance the quality of life through arts and culture, and to contribute positively to the social and economic health of Atlanta and the region. Their mission is to promote rich, diverse, and educational cultural experiences; nurture artists and arts organizations; preserve and protect the city’s cultural heritage; and expand Atlanta’s international reputation. ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information about ELEVATE, please visit the web site:

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©2019 Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine

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