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PRESS RELEASE

COLLAGE DANCE IS REFRAMING THE NARRATIVE IN ITS 15TH PERFORMANCE SEASON

“Relevant, relatable and rooted.” –Pointe Magazine

 

Collage Dance Collective 2024-2025 Season Performances Include

FIREBIRD from October 25 to the 27 and

Their Eyes Were Watching God and Rise from January 31 to February 1

 

Additional Programming Includes

Annual Memphis Dance Festival on National Dance Day, September 21;

14th Annual Gala Fundraiser, April 27

 

Collage Dance Collective Tour of Southeastern & Midwestern U.S. Includes Stops in Starkville, MS; McLean, VA; Birmingham, AL; Newberry, SC; Clemson, SC; Charleston, SC; St Louis, MO; Mobile, AL; and Alexandria, LA

 

June 3, 2024 (Memphis, TN)Collage Dance – named one of the 50 largest ballet companies in the nation by Dance Data Project (DDP), a significant achievement for the organization, which happens to be one of the youngest companies to grace DDP’s list – today announces its 15th Performance Season, Reframing the Narrative which includes two signature home performances plus extensive national touring as part of this milestone season. Collage has proven its rapid ascent and growing influence in the dance world, and continues to engage diverse voices, pioneer new choreography, and empower the next generation of dancers in its endeavor to reframe prevailing industry norms.

 

Now celebrating 15 years of artistic innovation and community engagement, Collage Dance’s landmark season, Reframing the Narrative, spotlights stories from communities of color, reclaiming space in classical narratives and reshaping the landscape of ballet. This season is a vibrant collage of some of the most universal and powerful narratives ever told, certain to captivate dance aficionados and newcomers alike. Season highlights include: Kevin Thomas’s FIREBIRD plus a re-envisioned Rise (choreographed by Thomas; set to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final public speech), Their Eyes Were Watching God (choreographed by Thomas and Amy Hall Garner; a ballet reimagining Zora Neale Hurston’s iconic 1937 novel of the same title), plus two works from the father of American ballet, George Balanchine – Prodigal Son and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Watch the season preview video here.

 

Founding Executive Director Marcellus Harper says, “The past 15 years have been an amazing eventful journey. To witness the landscape of dance shift and evolve and our art form become more diverse and inclusive has been extremely gratifying. And, although there is still much work to do, I’m so proud that our work at Collage Dance is moving the needle forward within our community and our industry. This season is a celebration of that evolution and a reclaiming of the significant and long-standing contributions Black dance makers have contributed, often unsung, to classical ballet. I remain hopeful that this anniversary season will inspire our community to reframe their own narratives in pursuit of creating a more honest, inclusive world.”

 

Founding Artistic Director Kevin Thomas remarks, “Collage Dance is thrilled to announce a lineup of thoughtfully curated narrative ballets for our 2024-25 season that center communities of color, like FIREBIRD, this time set in a mystical Africa forest, and Their Eyes Were Watching God – a bold reimagining of Zora Neale Hurston’s iconic novel of the same title. This upcoming season our artistic choices more unapologetically reflect the communities we serve, the world-class BIPOC dancers set to perform these works, and the hundreds of students training in our conservatory each week. By deliberately expanding the canon of classical ballets with new works, reenvisioned masterpieces and classics that resonate across cultures, we are contributing to a new chapter in ballet.”

 

Collage Dance kicks off the new season with the Annual Memphis Dance Festival on National Dance Day, Saturday, September 21, 2024, now in its fourth consecutive year. Held at the Collage Dance Center from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, the free, family-focused community event features some of the nation’s best dance makers. Recognized as the preeminent dance festival in the region, many acclaimed companies are featured alongside hometown favorites: Alonzo King LINES Ballet (San Francisco, CA), Dallas Black Dance Theater (Dallas, TX), THECouncil (Los Angeles, CA), Nashville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Collage Dance Collective, Collage Youth Ensemble, TSU Sophisticated Ladies, TSU Drumline, Grizz Girls, Grind House Dance, Kindred Spirit, Orange Mound Steppers, and Company d. Festival attendees can enjoy an afternoon full of dance, food trucks, and family fun.

 

Taking the stage from October 25 to 27, 2024 is Kevin Thomas’s FIREBIRD. Performances will be held at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts and will feature FIREBIRD, Prodigal Son, and Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux. Thomas’s dazzling FIREBIRD, set in South Africa, is a magical tale of salvation, and George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, based on the biblical parable, is the ultimate tale of sin and redemption. Memphis Symphony Orchestra also joins for this event. A special abbreviated matinee performance for 2,000 students will take place on Friday, October 25 at 11:00am, offering discounted tickets to youth living in the greater Memphis area.

 

Collage Dance Collective presents its winter performance from January 31 to February 1, 2025 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. Collage Dance Artistic Director Kevin Thomas’s hallmark ballet Rise – set to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final public speech – is the centerpiece of this program, which features additional choreographic voices: Thomas and Amy Hall Garner’s ​​Their Eyes Were Watching God plus Kevin Iega Jeff’s Trilogy, a work in three movements that reflects on the struggle for civil and human rights from 1863 to now. Memphis Symphony Orchestra also joins for this event. A special abbreviated matinee performance for 2,000 students will take place on Friday, January 31 at 11:00am, offering discounted tickets to youth living in the greater Memphis area.

 

On Sunday, April 27, 2025, Collage Dance hosts its 14th Annual Gala Fundraiser in support of the Collage Dance Conservatory. This VIP-only experience from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the FedEx Event Center features performances by Collage Dance Collective and students from the Collage Dance Conservatory, in addition to special musical guests to be announced.

 

Collage Dance Collective will additionally tour in its fifteenth season, elevating new audiences across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States. Tour stops are as follows: November 18 to 21 at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS; January 13 to 19 at The Alden Theater in McLean, VA; January 21 to 26 at The Alys Stevens Center in Birmingham, AL; February 7 to 11 at the Newberry Opera House in Newberry, SC; February 12 to 15 at Clemson University in Clemson, SC; February 17 to 22 at the Sotille Theater in Charleston, SC; April 3 to 6 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St Louis, MO; April 7 to 11 at the Seanger Theater in Mobile, AL; and April 12 to 14 at the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in Alexandria, LA.

 

Season subscriptions are available via collagedance.org or by calling 901-800-1873. Subscription levels include Platinum and Gold, which offer premier in-person seating at all upcoming ticketed performances, discounts on additional in-person tickets for family members and guests, and discounts on Collage merchandise. Collage Dance Collective also offers ONE MEMBER Digital subscriptions to provide subscribers the opportunity to watch all upcoming performances from the comfort of their own home, plus access to additional exclusive Collage content, discounts on in-person tickets, and discounts on Collage merchandise.

 

Collage Dance’s fifteenth season is made possible through generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, James R. & Anita Horne Jenkins Family Foundation, SouthArts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Assisi Foundation, Hyde Family Foundation, Bank of America, ARTSMemphis, The Shubert Foundation, Orion Bank, and Buckman Laboratories.

 

2024-25 Program Information

 

Annual Memphis Dance Festival
Saturday, September 21, 2024 from 12:00 to 4:00 PM

Collage Dance Center | 505 Tillman Street | Memphis, TN 38112

 

Artists:

Alonzo King LINES Ballet (San Francisco, CA)

Dallas Black Dance Theater (Dallas, TX)

THECouncil (Los Angeles, CA)

Nashville Ballet

Ballet Memphis

Collage Dance Company

Collage Youth Ensemble

TSU Sophisticated Ladies

TSU Drumline

Grizz Girls

Grind House Dance

Kindred Spirit

Orange Mound Steppers

Company d

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Fall performance featuring FIREBIRD 

October 26 – 27, 2024 at 2:30 PM

Cannon Center for the Performing Arts | 255 N Main St | Memphis, TN 38103

 

Program:

Kevin Thomas: FIREBIRD

George Balanchine: Prodigal Son, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux

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Winter Performance featuring Rise and Their Eyes Were Watching God

February 1 – 2, 2025 at 2:30 PM

Cannon Center for the Performing Arts | 255 N Main St | Memphis, TN 38103

 

Program:
Kevin Thomas: Rise

Amy Hall Garner and Kevin Thomas: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Kevin Iega Jeff: Trilogy

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14th Annual Gala Fundraiser

Sunday, April 27, 2025 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM

FedEX Event Center | 415 Great View Drive East | Memphis, TN 38134

 

Artists:

Collage Dance Company

Collage Dance Conservatory students

Special musical guests TBA
__________________________________________

 

Collage Dance Collective on Tour

November 18 to 21, 2024 | Mississippi State University | Starkville, MS

January 13 to 19, 2025 | The Alden Theater | McLean, VA

January 21 to 26, 2025 | The Alys Stevens Center | Birmingham, AL

February 7 to 11, 2025 | Newberry Opera House | Newberry, SC

February 12 to 15, 2025 | Clemson University | Clemson, SC

February 17 to 22, 2025 | Sotille Theater | Charleston, SC

April 3 to 6, 2025 | Touhill Performing Arts Center | St Louis, MO

April 7 to 11, 2025 | Seanger Theater | Mobile, AL

April 12 to 14, 2025 | Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center | Alexandria, LA

 

About Collage Dance 

Collage Dance, recently named a “Southern Cultural Treasure” by South Arts and the Ford Foundation, and listed among the 50 largest ballet companies in the nation by Dance Data Project, is one of the largest Black-led performing arts organizations in the South and one of just a few professional ballet companies in the world with a roster of BIPOC dancers.

Working to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet, Collage Dance Collective showcases a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of the communities we serve. The professional company has presented fourteen full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring presenting a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography from George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Nacho Duato, Ulysses Dove, Joshua Manculich, Amy Hall Garner, Kevin Iega Jeff, and more.

The work of Collage Dance Collective has been featured in media outlets including Huffington Post, Allure, New York Magazine, Essence, Memphis Magazine, Afropunk, Dance Magazine, and Pointe Magazine.

 

Learn more at https://collagedance.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mallory McFarland | Morahan Arts and Media

mallory@morahanartsandmedia.com | (646) 241-0899