Finding space and resources for developing new work has always been an especially difficult challenge for independent choreographers. Most choreographic work takes months to conceptualize, rehearse and workshop before it is ready to be performed for audiences. In order for choreographers to get their work to stage (or performance), the choreographers will rent studios, hire dancers, collaborate with musicians, buy costumes, rent performance venues, hire lighting designers and technicians; all of which can be quite an expensive undertaking. Now, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on all communities, and facilities remaining closed for 8 months, choreographers find themselves at a loss for spaces to create work, as well as unable to find bodies to choreograph with. This conversation will explore how choreographers at different stages in their careers are tackling the challenges of finding space, innovating new ways to interact with dancers and audiences, and channeling inspiration in troubling times

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Angela Harris

Angela Harris is the Executive Artistic Director of Dance Canvas, Inc., a career development organization for emerging professional choreographers and youth. Through Dance Canvas, Angela has been a catalyst, consultant, and resource for numerous new dance organizations and artists. Angela has developed programs for the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Usher’s New Look Foundation, and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation. Angela is a graduate of The Baltimore School for the Arts and trained at Dance Theater of Harlem, School of the Hartford Ballet & Eglevsky Ballet. She attended Mercyhurst College and City College of New York, earning a B.A. in Journalism, while dancing at Steps on Broadway in NYC. Angela danced professionally with The Georgia Ballet, Columbia City Ballet and Urban Ballet Theater. She has choreographed for companies and academies, including The Georgia Ballet, Steps on Broadway, Ballet Lubbock and Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. Her theater choreographic credits include 110 in the Shade (Theatrical Outfit); The First Noel (True Colors Theater Company); Bridges of Madison County (Aurora Theatre). Angela was one of five Inaugural National Visiting Fellows at the School of American Ballet. In 2017, she received a SDCF Observership and worked with Tony Award winning director/choreographer, Susan Stroman, on the new musical, Little Dancer, during its Broadway Lab. Angela served on the national Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts and was a member of the 2014 class of Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta. She received the 2011 National Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and American Express. Currently, Angela is on faculty at Emory University and is a ballet instructor at Dekalb School for the Arts & Academy of Ballet.

T. Lang

T. Lang is dedicated to exposing the arts and emerging communities to the creative impact and genius of dance. Lang earned her Bachelors and Masters of Fine Arts in performance and choreography from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts respectively. In the early days of her career, Lang danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater. Lang relocated T. Lang Dance from New York City to Atlanta in 2008, continuing to develop, direct, and produce a high-impact blend of traditional and experimental contemporary movement. Arts America called Lang’s choreography “powerfully thought-provoking,” “masterfully blended,” and “unsettling genius.” Creative Loafing named T. Lang Atlanta’s Best Choreographer in 2016 and Best Collaboration in 2015 for her work with visual artist Nick Cave. Lang’s work has been commissioned by the High Museum of Art, Goat Farm Arts Center, Flux Projects and others. Lang stays engaged with the next generation of movement artists through her summer educational intensive, Sweatshop, and as an Associate Professor and founding Department Chair of Dance Performance and Choreography at Spelman College.

Iquail Shaheed

Iquail Shaheed is the executive artistic director of Dance Iquail!, a Philadelphia-based dance company working at the intersection of dance and social justice. Mr. Shaheed has performed in the companies of Ronald K Brown/ Evidence, Fred Benjamin Dance Company, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Compagnie Thor in Brussels Belgium; on Broadway in The Lion King, Hot Feet, Bill T. Jones’s Super Fly, as well in films directed by Julie Taylor and Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Shaheed serves on the faculty at Goucher College, The Ailey School, Dance Theatre of Harlem and NAISDA Dance College in Sydney, Australia. Mr. Shaheed received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in ballet from the University of the Arts; a Master of Fine Arts from Purchase College - SUNY, and is a candidate for a Doctorate of Philosophy at Texas Woman’s University. His scholarship is devoted to the advancement and perseveration of Black artistic contributions in dance and community. His creative work has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Arts, amongst many others. Reviewers have described Iquail Shaheed as “a perfect example of his generation of male dancers…Technically superb and artistically infallible.”

Hope Boykin

Hope Boykin– educator, creator, mover, and motivator, was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She was a three-time recipient of the American Dance Festival’s Young Tuition Scholarship and while attending Howard University in Washington, DC, she continued to pursue her desires to dance working with choreographer Lloyd Whitmore and his New World Dance Company. In New York City, Hope studied at The Ailey School and worked as assistant to choreographers Milton Myers and the late Talley Beatty. Hope was an original member of Complexions, and joined PHILADANCO, where she received the acclaimed “Bessie”, a New York dance and performance award. Just completing her 20th and final season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she continues to build and create work as a 2019-20 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow. She has choreographed for numerous dance company’s including Philadanco, Minnesota Dance a Theater, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. In 2016, Hope presented her third work of choreography for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater called r-Evolution, Dream., and most recently, in 2018 for DEMO, commissioned by Damian Woetzel and the Kennedy Center, Hope had the honor to choreograph, write, and perform with New York City Ballet Principal dancer Lauren Lovette in MomentsUponMoments which was redesigned for Vail Dance Festival in 2019. Most recently she created a work for BalletX and Guggenheim Works And Process Virtual Commissions program, has her words and work displayed at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, and has been an annual keynote speaker for Lincoln Center Activate, a national education forum. Serving as Artistic Lead for the Kennedy Center Dance Lab (KCDL), a two-week summer dance program for high school students, and Artist-In-Residence at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance is confirmation of the mission of HopeBoykinDance, which includes leading young and aspiring artists to a secure foundation and a concrete understanding, which develops a confidence and an assurance that will be unmatched. THERE ARE NO LIMITS.

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