The $9 million project will nearly triple the organization’s conservatory capacity, training more
kids of color in a classical art form than any other non-profit in the region.
MEMPHIS: Collage Dance Collective, joined by county and city government officials, organizations and members of the community will gather at the construction site of Collage’s new headquarters for the official groundbreaking ceremony, Saturday, February 1st at 10 a.m. Taking place at the corner of Tillman and Sam Cooper, just one block east of the organization’s existing facility, the celebration also welcomes ballet students and their families to participate in the historic event.
“As a parent I have witnessed first-hand the excellent quality of the performances and instruction at Collage,” shared Elliot Perry, former NBA player and current director of player support for the Memphis Grizzlies. “Our new home will provide a place for dancers, teachers, parents and students from across the community to experience the transformative work of dance,” Perry added.
The groundbreaking ceremony will include brief remarks from key supporters adjacent to the dig site, just across Tillman Street. The program is set to conclude on the site of the new Binghampton location with a shovel ceremony.
“We’re an anchor institution amplifying our commitment to a community that for too long has been under-resourced and underserved,” said Marcellus Harper, co-founder and executive director of Collage Dance Collective. “Kids in Binghampton will be able to walk to the new facility and we can train even more kids from throughout Memphis,” Harper added.
Slated to open in fall 2020, the new 22,500-square-foot facility designed by archimania and being constructed by Grinder, Taber & Grinder, Inc. marks a host of history-making firsts for Memphis and ballet. It will be home to the first full-time Black ballet company in Memphis, one of the region’s most diverse ballet schools, and the largest concentration of full-time Black artists, designers and creatives working in Memphis.
“Collage is building on the legacy of pioneers who have come before us. At the same time, Collage is blazing trails of their own, embarking on a first of its kind, monumental capital project. We are proud to be investors and supporters in this monumental project,” shared Jim Jenkins, managing director, Jenkins Global Capital Management and chairman of the board for Collage Dance Collective.
The company has grand plans to build upon its decade-long history since relocating to Memphis. Co-founded by Harper and artistic director Kevin Thomas, former principal ballet dancer with internationally-acclaimed Dance Theatre of Harlem, the new location will enable the professional company to double in size and serve as its home base with seasonal Memphis performances plus an international tour schedule.
“We dreamed of opening a company that would break barriers and grow stronger with each season. Thanks to donor support we are poised for another monumental first– a company and conservatory with both staying power and international impact,” shared Thomas.
“Arts play a critical role in recruiting and retaining businesses for our city while also stimulating the economy. As a board member of Collage, I’ve seen the transformative power this organization adds to the life of our city, shared Beverly C. Robertson, president and CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce. “I’m excited to see this decade long dream become a reality,” Robertson added.
About Collage Dance
For 10 years, Collage Dance Collective has worked to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet by showcasing a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of our community. The professional company has presented ten full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring presenting a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography. Its institutional arm, the Collage Ballet Conservatory, trains nearly 400 kids of color in classical ballet throughout Memphis each year. The work of Collage Dance Collective has been featured in media outlets including Huffington Post, Allure, Yahoo!, The Commercial Appeal, Vibe, Afropunk and Pointe Magazine. www.collagedance.org