All too often, local dance company directors face the day-to-day challenges that leave little time to partner with other Atlanta-based companies. Potential benefits of sharing resources and artistic cross-pollination are often lost to pressures to produce work, maintain income streams, teach, engage the community, market the work, care for dancers’ well-being and countless other demands. Organizations tend to become insular.
This weekend, April 13 and 14, a new initiative aims to change that narrative. Atlanta Dance Connection, Ballethnic Dance Company and Anthony Burrell Center for Dance have partnered with the International Association of Blacks in Dance to produce EVOLVE | atlanta. The two-day networking event invites Atlanta dance leaders, studio owners, instructors, choreographers and enthusiasts to share work and connect through classes, rehearsals and a round-table discussion. A performance showcase will offer a chance to see local companies that are rarely seen under one roof.
Denise Saunders Thompson, president and CEO of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, will facilitate the round-table discussion on the Atlanta dance scene on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Administrators and professionals are invited to engage in dialogue on the dance community’s needs, growth and future.
On Sunday afternoon, a performance showcase at Tri-Cities High School will feature works by all three of the host groups as well as adjudicated works and repertoire that participants will learn during the workshop.
The showcase is particularly focused on presenting local companies with large African American bases, as these groups tend to face greater challenges and may benefit more from opportunities to lift one another up through partnerships and collaboration.
EVOLVE provides aspects of what the Association’s annual conference offers, but it is tailored to each local community, said Omar Ingram, the Association’s program director, who is originally from Atlanta. The city is a dance mecca and is ripe for recruiting new members, Ingram said. With three local organizations ready and willing to collaborate, “it was an opportunity to bring people together to connect and share their talent and love for dance.”