NOW THE LARGEST BLACK BALLET COMPANY IN THE REGION, THE NEW CENTER TRAINS 600 STUDENTS AND IS HOME TO ITS INTERNATIONAL TOURING COMPANY.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (September 23, 2021) – Collage Dance, a national ballet organization now in its 12th performance season, is gearing up for a public celebration of its new center. Formally being named the Andrea Louise Jenkins Center for Dance in honor of the late founder of the Jenkins Family Foundation and an avid early supporter of Collage Dance on Wednesday, September 23rd during the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, the “Center for Dance” is home to the Collage Dance Conservatory and its international touring company Collage Dance Collective.
Completed in late 2020 and modified in real time to include thoughtful safety measures such as RTU ionizers and contact-less restrooms out of an abundant commitment to community safety, the Center for Dance has been operating cautiously and with limited visitor access for nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite these unprecedented times, Collage Dance has had a tremendous year and a half, shared Marcellus Harper, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Collage Dance. “In the middle of this global health pandemic we have been able to achieve our Capital Campaign goal, successfully raising $11 million dollars, build a new state-of-the-art facility in the Binghampton community of Memphis and achieve record enrollment in the Collage Dance Conservatory,” Harper added.
Features of the new Andrea Louise Jenkins Center for Dance include:
“Our new space is more than 10 times larger than our previous space which has allowed us to expand our programs and serve more youth and adults, said Kevin Thomas, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Collage Dance. “We’re incredibly excited to finally welcome our community into the fold, celebrating together and sharing our Center for Dance that was truly envisioned and built with them in mind,” added Thomas.
Collage Dance will host three days of Grand Opening events beginning Thursday, September 23rd. Details are as follows:
Thursday, September 23rd from 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Guest speakers include City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Beverly Robertson, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, Denise Saunders Thompson, President of The International Association of Blacks in Dance and Jim Jenkins, Executive Director of the Jenkins Family Foundation – title supporter of the new Center for Dance.
Friday, September 24th from 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Now in its 11th year, this year’s Gala benefiting the Collage Dance Conservatory includes performances by Grammy-nominated singer Eric Benét and Memphis-crooner Cameron Bethany, cuisine by acclaimed chefs Erling Jensen and Phillip Ashley and dance performances by Collage Dance Conservatory and Collage Dance Collective, the organization’s professional touring company. All attendees must be fully vaccinated, present a negative COVID-19 test and wear masks for entry. For tickets visit collagedance.org/gala
Saturday, September 25th from 12:00 – 4:00 pm
FREE and open to the community, this outdoors festival with limited tours of the new facility will include a Best of Memphis Dance Concert with performances by dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Memphis, Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies, Nashville Ballet, Grizz Girls, New Ballet Ensemble, Studio 413, SubRoy Studios, Kindred Spirit, Collage Dance Conservatory and Collage Dance Collective. Hosted by Ena Esco of WYXR 91.7 FM, with music by DJ Siphne Sylve, a special performance by the Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (4) and M4 Golden Girls of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, community partner participation by Creative Aging, Iris Orchestra, The Lab School of Memphis and Carpenter Art Garden and a host of food trucks including MemPops, Mango’s Caribbean Grill, Muddy’s Bake Shop, Slutty Salsa and Stickem.
The organization also just unveiled a new “online center for dance,” revamping its website and digital experience for supporters around the world. On the new site visitors can enroll students into the Collage Dance Conservatory, purchase tickets for an upcoming Collage Dance Collective professional performance, sign up for an adult class for beginners, contribute to the organization, become a sustained digital supporter through the ONE Membership digital program and more.
About Collage Dance Collective
Positioning itself as the largest Black-owned ballet company in the South, 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 eleven full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring presenting a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography. Its institutional arm, the Collage Dance Conservatory, trains more kids of color in a classical art form than any other non-profit in Memphis or the Mid-South. In December 2020, Collage opened a 22,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility to expand its programming, training and impact. 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.