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Atlanta Contemporary and Dance Canvas have announced eight artists who will participate in a new choreographic residency program to create works in response to both the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement to address systemic racism and inequality.

The two institutions have partnered in the residency program, which will begin next week at Atlanta Contemporary.

“This residency will hopefully offer our choreographers a sense of creative renewal after spending the past few months inside and away from artistic endeavors,” Angela Harris, Dance Canvas executive artistic director, said in a press release. “We are thankful to Atlanta Contemporary for extending this opportunity. All the selected choreographers have such different experiences to bring to their work. I am looking forward to seeing their pieces come to life.”

To protect both the choreographers and dancers, only solo and duet pieces will be created. The artists will present two performances of their work in August and September via livestream. The organizations hope that a small live audience can be present for the September performance.

“Every summer, Dance Canvas’ DC NEXT students visit Atlanta Contemporary and create choreography in response to what they see and experience,” Veronica Kessenich, Atlanta Contemporary’s executive director, said in the release. “Due to Covid-19, this could not occur. Yet, art — in all its forms — does not cease to exist. It is our hope that this residency supports the fact that art is essential, and it can be safely crafted and presented.”

The eight choreographers in residence are:

Jessica Bertram – dancer/choreographer; graduate of Emory University

Perlizbeth De Leon – North Carolina Dance Project (recent choreography residency)

Xavier Demar – Artist’s Sandbox (NYC); instructor/choreographer (ATL, NYC)

Xavier Lewis – educator/choreographer (dance director at Grayson High School)

Tamara Irving – Disney’s “The Lion King” – US National Tour and Germany

Danielle Swatzie – I.L.L. artist in residence: T.Lang Dance; graduate of University of the Arts

Thulani Vereen – graduate of Spelman College/Spelman Dance Theatre

Nadya Zeitlin – founder, Bautanzt Here

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