For the past week, Black Dance has been our Bread and Butter, our Jelly and Jam.....our morning Coffee and Afternoon Delight. And now it is time to say our goodbyes. This morning we send our dancers off with a finale performance: The Sunday's Best, through Liturgical and Spiritual dance. It is an emotional one for all of us because this is process of both holding on to the things to be remembered as well as as letting go.....shedding part of us that allows new and greater things to emerge.
In between the dance performances our President and CEO Denise Saunders Thompson toting a green and white track suit with the International Association of Blacks in Dance Logo and emblem on the back of the jack, stands before us to announce to the awards, scholarships and recognition that the young dancers will be taking home from their audition.
I am standing in the back near the sound booth with the Artistic Director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Debbie Diggs calling out full ride to Summer Intensives to Dance Theater of Harlem, Houston Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, Lulu Washington just to name a few.....admission to universities like Alabama State or Las Vegas Contemporary Dance and much more. We both burst into tears as the numbers of opportunities, awards and invitations pile up. Years of working hard, dancing blood sweat and tears while knocking down doors to Sponsors and Investors to get them to simply Love, Support and Advocate for the companies that these children aspire to be a part of......become this. A place where they have everything that they need within a single unifying body, that they can exist, dwell in, be supported by and CELEBRATED for their unique talents and hard work and abilities. I understood the weight of that, as I think back on the memoir and book at that I read of Mr. Ailey about his students slept in the dance studio to complete a work or simply because at times they had no where to go.
Male Dancers of Divine Dance Institute
In fact, the beauty and the weight of seeing all of Dance Greats next to Ailey in a single setting surrounded by these next generation of young aspiring artists is Immaculate.
Congratulations to Malachi Stevens of the Divine Dance Institute led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Amanda Standard from Prince George's County MD Area and an integral part of the Dance Our Legacy Scholarship Movement that it's dedicated to the uplifting, enrichment and awareness of Dance Excellence that is taking place right here in the DMV Area.
Mr. Stevens has received an invitation to the Julliard School in NYC. Thee ARTS SCHOOL. Look at GOD!
This could not have been possible with out the support of his family and dance community of which he belongs that helped nurture his dance technique and artistry as well as build his faith in Ministry to God's People.
These are the kinds of opportunities and accolades our children are capable of achieving when attending the International Association for Blacks in Dance Conference.