MoBBallet’s Roll Call is a list of professional black ballet dancers that today features 301 names and is growing as black ballet artists submit their names. The site also houses an E–Zine that features insights on issues affecting both the ballet world and society such as diversity and inclusion –and a timeline that spans the history of black ballet from 1919 to present day.
DANCER AND EDUCATOR THERESA RUTH HOWARD LAUNCHES MOBBALLET: A DIGITAL ARCHIVE PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF BLACK BALLET
Initiative Creates a Shift in Perspective on the Current Conversation around Diversity in Ballet through Stories of Current and Past Black Professional Ballet Dancers
Dancer Theresa Ruth Howard announces the launch of Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet), a groundbreaking legacy project documenting and transforming conversations around black ballet artists. The initiative will focus on bringing visibility to the lesser-known history of black ballet dancers around the world through video profiles, essays and archival data which capture the artistry and humanity of black ballet dancers. At launch, MoBBallet’s website houses a community sourced Roll Call which lists the names of black ballet dancers past and present, a digital timeline that places historical moments in black ballet history next to key events in world history, and an E-Zine that sheds light on issues affecting the ballet community and society at large.
The recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, MoBBallet’s first anchor project, the Philadelphia Project, will document the stories of four Philadelphia trained black ballerinas— including Joan Myers Brown, founder of The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!), Delores Browne from the New York Negro Ballet Company and Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Coinciding with the launch of MoBBallet, founder Theresa Ruth Howard will serve as keynote speaker at Dutch National Ballet’s Positioning Ballet conference on February 11th, where she will officially introduce MoBBallet’s mission to promote larger discussions within the international dance community around the stories of black ballet dancers. A select group of leading artistic directors from America, Europe, Asia and Russia have been invited to attend the conference.
“Diversity in Ballet in America is a very specific challenge given our racial history” remarks Howard. “The histories and demographics of each of the companies that will be represented during Positioning Ballet are just as specific. This is an unprecedented opportunity to see and hear what their issues are regarding diversity in the field.”
To date, MoBBallet has captured over 301 names to the Roll Call and calls for professional black ballet dancers not already on the list to add their names. MoBBallet’s archival information covers important moments in the history of black ballet from 1919 to present day.
ABOUT MOBBALLET Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MoBBallet) is a non-profit organization that is building a digital archive where the history of blacks in professional ballet can be preserved. Founded by ballerina Theresa Ruth Howard, MoBBallet facilitates authentic dialogues on diversity, equality and aesthetics through workshops, panels and video profiles of both iconic and emerging black ballet dancers. The online archive provides timelines of important moments in the history of black ballet and juxtaposes them against key moments in world history. The Roll Call initiative is an ever-expanding list of black ballet dancers past and present –E-Zine brings visibility to issues that loom large in both the ballet world and society such as diversity and inclusion.
ABOUT THERESA RUTH HOWARD Founder of MoBBallet, Theresa Ruth Howard is an expert and advocate on the issue of diversity in Ballet. She has sat on panels for Dance/USA, Dance/NYC, Collegium for African Diaspora Dance at Duke University, and collaborated with International Association of Blacks in Dance in the planning and facilitation of the first Ballet Audition for female ballet dancers of color. A former member of the Dance Theater of Harlem, and Armitage Gone! Dance, Howard has worked extensively with choreographer Donald Byrd, and was a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. As a contributor to Pointe, Expressions (Italy), Tanz (Germany) and dance media publications, Howard has emerged as a clear and defining voice on topics such as body image and race. She holds more than 17 years of experience as a dance educator including Ballet Faculty at the Ailey School.
The incredibly gifted dancer/choreographer Sarah Chien alerted us to this worthy cause:
I’m writing to you to ask you to consider contributing to The AFROFUTURISM Series, a work that I’ve been collaborating closely on since 2013 with choreographer Andre Zachery and his company Renegade Performance Group. Afrofuturism is a movement about collectively addressing issues on race, identity, gender through performance. Andre’s blend of movement, multimedia, and music is unlike anything else going on in NYC and we’re fundraising for a true home season in Brooklyn: four full evenings of our work Nov 4-7. Its work like this that makes me proud to be investing my time, energy and passion into New York City- I’d be honored if you join the movement with me!
This time, we are using a flexible funding platform (we keep everything we earn regardless of goal) and we are producing the fundraiser ourselves, rather than as part of a larger festival.
As with all crowdfunding, please share this appeal through your networks- I know that your time spent sharing is also a contribution. And feel free to contribute at any level- there are some really artsy merch perks at higher levels, but any amount is appreciated, truly.
Thank you so much for your continued support and I hope to see you at the show!
Founder, Floor Friends
Renegade Performance Group season at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn from 4 – 7 November 2015.
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Renegade Performance Group (RPG) is presenting The AFROFUTURISM Series with two unique full-length programs: “Untitled Distances” and “The Inscription Project,” introducing dance and technology as a vehicle of AFROFUTURISM. This will be the first RPG season in our home borough- Brooklyn. The company season runs for four nights, November 4-7, 2015, at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene. AFROFUTURISM as a movement, expresses new narratives, ideologies, and symbolisms of Black culture from a global perspective.
RPG launched the AFROFUTURISM Series in January 2014 to be an ongoing project investigating the presence of Blackness into and beyond 21st Century techno-culture and society. It is a platform where themes and contexts of Black diasporic culture will be remixed and reimagined through contemporary dance, digital projections, and interactive sound environments.
WHAT WE NEED & WHAT YOU GET
This season is entirely self-produced! That’s why we need your support to make the magic happen.
Our GOAL is $15,000.
The funds from this campaign support every step of this project’s process:
- securing rehearsal and creative space,
- printing publicity,
- obtaining production equipment,
- cover the cost of theater,
- pay the collaborators and performers, and
- video documentation of the performances
WE WANT TO LOVE YOU BACK
Contributors at certain levels receive unique incentives such as RPG phonecases, posters, vintage Haitian masks, the personal portfolio of André M. Zachery, and inside access to RPG.
Official AFROFUTURISM Series/RPG T-Shirt by Allied Shirts
Small Leatherbound Haitian Mask (only 3 available)
Large Leatherbound Haitian Mask (12 available)
Portfolio of Artistic Director, André M. Zachery
Renegade Performance Group was founded in Brooklyn in 2007 to engage a new generation of audiences with performance, media, and culture. The company was formed as an artistic outlet to foster dialogue compelled by the human experience. We collaborate with artists of all genres on projects that stretch the boundaries of performance presentation. The AFROFUTURISM Series, features collaborations with sound artists and composers Ivonne K. Paredes and Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, graffiti & visual artist Aaron “Spazecraft” Lazansky, and costume designer Joy Havens. The performers of RPG represent the diversity of Brooklyn in nationality, identity, gender, and dance backgrounds. RPG is building a new future with every artistic venture.
AFROFUTURISM is a movement about collectively addressing issues on race, identity, and gender. RPG seeks your help in helping make another liberating space for expression, influence, and possibility through performance. Our work is your work too!
SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT
Now is your chance to join us in our movement by contributing to this groundbreaking campaign! Our accomplishments ARE POSSIBLE because of generous contributions by people like you. By helping us, you become part of the innovative spirit that makes the work of Renegade Performance Group meaningful! Your investment in us, is an invest in the power of AFROFUTURISM.
for The AFROFUTURISM Series and Andre Zachery!
Eco-Music Big Band: Sun Ra Opera and CelebrationPeter Jay Sharp Building
Sep 26, 2015
Concept by Fred Ho
Music by Fred Ho, with Marie Incontrera
Libretto by Quincy Troupe
Directed by Virginia Grise
Conducted by Marie Incontrera
The dynamic ensemble Eco-Music Big Band presents the world premiere of scenes from the free-jazz opera Mr. Mystery: The Return of Sun Ra to Save Planet Earth! by late composer Fred Ho.