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The 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance

January 24 @ 3:00 PM - January 28 @ 5:00 PM

The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) in partnership with Collage Dance Collectivepresents the 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance, Can’t Turn You Loose: A Love Letter to Black Dance from January 24-28, 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee. Continuing its legacy as the broadest international gathering of Black dance professionals, agents, artistic directors, artists, choreographers, company managers, executive directors, historians, presenters, scholars, teachers, and many others, the conference and festival remains the most diverse place to share ideas, cultures and experiences. For more information and to register, visit www. http://conference.iabdassociation.org.

The event is a pioneering four-day dance experience where attendees will engage in a multitude of invaluable opportunities expanding their understanding of dance history and technique through Conference and Festival programming that includes an awards celebration, social events, a membership townhall, performances and sessions. Now – 34 years later – the conference and festival draws thousands of people. All are invited to the conference and festival. The event is for everyone of all ages.

Curated by Collage Dance Collective, Bluff City Soul celebrates the MidSouth and kicks off the 34th
Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance, including performances from Lil Buck & Friends and Collage Dance Collective. This year, IABD AND Collage Dance Collective will honor the Bluff City Cluster of the LINKS Incorporated, The Jenkins Family Foundation, and Tommie-Waheed Evans. These distinguished honorees are highly respected for their professional accomplishments. Their outstanding achievements and contributions have advanced the art of dance, enhanced our rich cultural landscape, and inspired audiences, artists, and local communities. They will be acknowledged and honored for their service during A Blues’ for Memphis, the Founders and Invited Guests performance presentation at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday, January 28, 2024.

Full Performance Schedule:
Wednesday, January 24 | Bluff City Soul
Memphis Regional Artists Performance
7:30pm-9:30pm at the Orpheum Theater
Curated by Collage Dance, Bluff City Soul celebrates the MidSouth and kicks off the 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance.

Featuring works by:
• Collage Dance Collective
• Kindred Spirit
• Lil Buck & Friends
• Memphis Grizzline
• Stax Alumni Band
• Tennessee State University Sophisticated Ladies
• The Divine 9 of the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC)
• Tonya Dyson

• Purchase tickets for Wednesday’s Bluff City Soul Performance here

Thursday, January 25 | Love For The Rhythm
Youth and College Artists Performance
7:30pm-9:30pm at the Orpheum Theater
Memphis is known as the home of the blues and birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Pushing the limits of contemporary and traditional choreography, audiences will be inspired by an explosive range of styles, techniques, and forms of dance. This high-energy performance will feature youth and collegiate performers from throughout the country.

Featuring works by:
• B.Faithful LLC with George Mason University
• City of Las Vegas West Las Vegas Arts Center
• Collage Dance Collective
• Detroit School of Arts
• F.I.R.E. Expressions Performing Arts Conservatory
• Howard University
• Jones-Haywood Dance School
• LSODance Company
• Matthew Crittenden
• Stivers School for the Arts

Purchase tickets for Thursday’s Love For The Rhythm Performance here

Friday, January 26 | Groove Supreme, a Rhythm Renaissance
Established Artists Performance
7:30pm-9:30pm at the Orpheum Theater
For years, Memphis has been a vehicle for the sound of soul music. Carrying the legacies of Black dance pioneers forward, these artists continue to forge ahead meeting high artistic standards through an array of dance forms and techniques while providing audiences with exceptional dance performances.

Featuring works by
• Dance Iquail
• Forces of Nature Dance Theatre
• HopeBoykinDance
• Muntu Dance Theatre
• NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre
• Red Clay Dance Company
• SOLE Defined

Purchase tickets for Friday’s Groove Supreme, a Rhythm Renaissance Performance here

Saturday, January 27 | A Blues for Memphis
Founders & Invited Guests Performance
7:30pm-9:30pm at the Orpheum Theater
Memphis has been a music hub since the first Mississippi Delta bluesmen started drifting north, making Beale Street the center of the city’s Black community and a melting pot of musical styles. Mastering the works of Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Martha Graham, Lester Horton and so many others, these highly unique and respected companies define the Black dance aesthetic and continue to lead the field.

Featuring works by
• Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
• Collage Dance Collective
• Dallas Black Dance Theatre
• Dance Theater of Harlem
• Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
• Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
• Lula Washington Dance Theatre

Purchase tickets for Saturday’s A Blues for Memphis Performance here

Sunday, January 28 | The Soul Must Dance
Gospel Performance and Scholarship Awards Brunch
9:00am-10:30am at the Renasant Convention Center

Spreading the “Good News”. Celebrate performances drawn from the Black religious experience through music and liturgical dance. Take solace in creative expression and interpretive movement that culminates the weeks’ activities of the annual international conference and festival.

Featuring works by
• Atlanta Dance Connection
• Alabama State University
• Dance E.L.I.T.E. Performance Academy
• Divine Dance Institute Inc.
• Hill Dance Academy Theatre
• The Maryland Academy of Dance

Purchase tickets for Sunday’s The Soul Must Dance Performance here

Black dance has been a container for black joy, black hurt, black love and black authenticity. At a time where the rights of people of color remain under attack, globally, it is intentional to hold space for the furtherment of Black dance in a landmark city of civil rights. This opportunity to engage in dialogue, discussion and discourse is the association‘s continued commitment to advocacy, artistry, and scholarship, says IABD Co-Executive Director, Omar Ingram.

This gathering of the national and international dance community is the perfect opportunity to learn from and share experiences with dance artists from around the world. The Conference and Festival engages each registrant to promote a vibrant future for dance. The curated programming is designed to make participants move, talk, learn & more:

● MOVE – Lecture demonstrations, Movement workshops, Midnight dance classes, and At the Feet of the Masters (A two-hour session focused on a specific style/technique of dance followed by a Q&A with a master teacher for intermediate and advanced dancers).
● TALK- Networking and Social Gatherings, Roundtables, and Workshops.
● LEARN- Digital Presentations, Films, Lectures, Panels and Performance Presentations.
● & More- The 2024 IABD Auditions, on the 1 | Memphis, a dance class series.

The 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance is funded in part by: Ford Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts, and many individual donors. The Conference and Festival is sponsored in part by: ARTSmemphis; Creative Studios by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Madison Square Garden Entertainment- The Radio City Rockettes; and Performing Arts Readiness.

About The International Association of Blacks in Dance
For over 30 years, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) has preserved and promoted dance by people of African ancestry or origin and has assisted and increased opportunities for artists in advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue, and touring. A National Medal of Arts recipient, IABD serves a diverse, national and international membership that spans cultures and generations. IABD’s vision is for dance, by people of African ancestry or origin, to be revered, respected, and preserved in the consciousness and cultural institutions of all people. Through its tireless efforts in the arts and culture sector, IABD validates the significant connections and influence that Blacks in Dance have on the American and international cultural landscape. IABD’s work is rich with insights, knowledge, and expertise vital to current and future Black Dance professionals and the dance sector at large. iabdassociation.org

About Collage Dance Collective
Recently named a “Southern Cultural Treasure” by South Arts, Collage Dance is one of the largest Black-led performing arts organizations in the South and one of a few professional ballet companies in the world with a roster of BIPOC dancers. Working to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet, its professional company, Collage Dance Collective, showcases a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of the communities they serve. The professional company has presented thirteen full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring performing 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 the region. collagedance.org

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts patrons, and groups by the United States Government and honors exemplary individuals and organizations that have advanced the arts in America and offered inspiration to others through their distinguished achievement, support, or patronage. The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.