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The International Association of Blacks in Dance in partnership with Collage Dance Collective presented The 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance Can’t Turn You Loose: A Love Letter to Black Dance

February 22 @ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) in partnership with Collage Dance Collective presented 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 remain the most diverse place to share ideas, cultures and experiences.

The pioneering four-day all ages dance experience had over 900 attendees from 7 of different countries (Canada, England, Germany, Jamaica, Norway, Trinidad & the US), who attended a total of 19 hours of dance classes a day (over 90 classes). The conference and festival were also able to award over 500k in scholarships to at least 400 of recipients.

Curated by Collage Dance Collective, the 34th Annual International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance kicked off with Bluff City Soul, a program celebrating the MidSouth and featuring performances from university dance groups as well as Lil Buck & Friends, and that honored the Bluff City Cluster of the LINKS Incorporated, The Jenkins Family Foundation, and Tommie-Waheed Evans, who were 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. 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.

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.

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.


Details

Date:
February 22
Time:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Venue

Online