Starting the conversation: Exploring racism and sexism in dance

A few weeks ago, my ballet class at Loyola University Chicago began by sitting on the floor in a pow-wow. We ended up spending over two hours talking about two issues that permeate the dance world: racism and sexism.

Admittedly, I had not thought much about racism and sexism in dance before that conversation, and a two-hour conversation was not enough for me.

I decided to talk to university students and dance professionals about racism and sexism in dance and post what I learned in hopes of continuing a conversation that I believe is integral to changing the dance world—and normal world—for the better. Continue reading

3 things I learned from aerial dance

Silk floats on stage, hanging vertically from the ceiling. Dancers glide in and out of the silks, flying and spinning beneath the soft lighting. As the audience watches the aerial dancers perform, they feel a sense of ease, like manipulating the silks is an effortless task.

April 13, Loyola University Chicago’s dance majors participated in a workshop class from Aerial Dance Chicago. Having never taken an aerial dance class before, I gained new perspective that informs both my everyday dance technique and my perceptions of aerial dance. Here are three things this workshop taught my fellow dance majors and me.

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“Everybody does something to inspire”

What is DanceSpire?

DanceSpire is a brand and company created in 2013 by Deavondre Jones, a current senior at Columbia College Chicago.

Through Dancespire, Jones visits schools and events around Chicago, Illinois, and Michigan where he combines inspirational speaking with hip hop dance. DanceSpire asks audience members to explore how their unique personalities and talents impact society.

Jones is the sole presenter, financier, and relationship builder for the company. Continue reading

Dancing for Social Justice: Vibrant retelling of black history

Feb. 20-22, Joel Hall Dancers and Center presented a full-length performance celebrating Black History Month, Many Rivers to Cross. The studio and company collaborated with arts communities across Chicago—both young students and professional performers—to create a program of dance, song, and monologue that was as diverse as the people Many Rivers celebrated. Continue reading