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The Black Iris Project


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The Black Iris Project


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 Calvin Royal III, American Ballet Theatre

Calvin Royal III, American Ballet Theatre

 

VISION


By harnessing the Black community's inherent creative spirit, The Black Iris Project will encourage and inspire youth of color to pursue art, movement and music as an expressive outlet and means for collective healing, as well as educating audiences about how Black history relates to the modern Black journey.  

 

MISSION


The Black Iris Project's mission is threefold: create original ballets and arts education curriculums that directly address and celebrate diversity; provide a performance platform for Black artists to collaborate and share their personal stories with their respective communities; and provide ballet training to the Black community as a means of developing structure, focus and discipline through teamwork. 

 

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SummerStage


Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem
August 16, 2018

7:00-9:00 PM
Free Performance

Choreographer Jeremy McQueen’s ballet collective, The Black Iris Project, has been using movement to celebrate black artists since 2016. At SummerStage, the performance will include MADIBA, a ballet inspired by the life of the late Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday is being commemorated this year. The work, which was selected by the celebrated ballerina, Misty Copeland, and previously performed at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2017, will be followed by the world premiere of A Mother’s Rite, featuring Alvin Ailey dancer and Princess Grace Award recipient Courtney Celeste Spears. The ballet, set to a four hand piano version of “The Rite of Spring” written and arranged by Igor Stravinsky, was co-commissioned through The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Dance and Visual Arts Collaborative Commissioning Program.

To learn more, click here

 

 

 

 

SummerStage


Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem
August 16, 2018

7:00-9:00 PM
Free Performance

Choreographer Jeremy McQueen’s ballet collective, The Black Iris Project, has been using movement to celebrate black artists since 2016. At SummerStage, the performance will include MADIBA, a ballet inspired by the life of the late Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday is being commemorated this year. The work, which was selected by the celebrated ballerina, Misty Copeland, and previously performed at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2017, will be followed by the world premiere of A Mother’s Rite, featuring Alvin Ailey dancer and Princess Grace Award recipient Courtney Celeste Spears. The ballet, set to a four hand piano version of “The Rite of Spring” written and arranged by Igor Stravinsky, was co-commissioned through The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Dance and Visual Arts Collaborative Commissioning Program.

To learn more, click here

 

 

 

 

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Repertory


Repertory


“Jeremy McQueen telling this story of Nelson Mandela and using dance is a great example of sharing a story of justice. Using art to share these stories is so incredible. It’s something that so many people from different levels of society and different backgrounds can come together and experience in a beautiful way.”
—Misty Copeland, Principal, American Ballet Theatre

 

A MOther's

rite

 

A MOTHER'S RITE is a new ballet that explores one mother’s journey through stages of grief after being thrust into the spotlight by way of her son's murder. Inspired by countless Black mothers who have lost their children to police brutality and racially targeted violence, A MOTHER'S RITE, is a thirty-seven minute solo set to Igor Stravinsky's iconic Rite of Spring musical composition. Directed & Choreographed by Jeremy McQueen and developed in collaboration with librettist Angelica Chéri, A MOTHER'S RITE features artwork by Sophia Dawson and performance by Alvin Ailey dancer and Princess Grace Award recipient Courtney Celeste Spears. A MOTHER'S RITE has been co-commissioned through The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Dance and Visual Arts Collaborative Commissioning Program and will premiere on Thursday, August 16, 2018, presented by City Park's Foundation's SUMMERSTAGE

 

Black Iris

 

BLACK IRIS, inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's Black Iris III painting and set to Felix Mendelssohn's "Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66", was commissioned by the Joffrey Academy of Dance, and premiered on March 10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois as part of McQueen's 2013 Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award. The work honors the unique challenges of Black womanhood found in life, work, and even ballet, while also demonstrating the persevering human spirit. BLACK IRIS is inspired by and dedicated to Mary McQueen, Ann Tinsley, and Beverly Anderson, three Black women who to McQueen exemplify the perseverance, determination, confidence, and faith that is distinctively Black and woman. 

 
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Black

Excellence

 

Travel back in time through an artistic revolution as The Black Iris Project presents BLACK EXCELLENCE. This visual guide of artistic explosion will take you on a journey through the Harlem Renaissance where social and cultural movements were expressed through the likings of artists such as Langston Hughes, Arthur Mitchell, Augusta Savage, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others who have shaped the society we see today. Choreographed and directed by Jeremy McQueen, written by Savon Bartley with costumes by Mondo Morales. Commissioned by ConEdison and New York City's Town Hall, BLACK EXCELLENCE premiered on February 6, 2017.

 

Madiba

 

Based on the life of South African anti-apartheid activist and humanitarian Nelson "Madiba" Mandela, MADIBA—set to award-winning composer Carman Moore's original score which premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2015—features a cast of fourteen dancers. The production also features Yale School of Drama graduates, costume designer Montana Levi Blanco and lighting design by Alan C. Edwards. The BIP was personally invited by ABT Principal Dancer, Misty Copeland to perform MADIBA at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Ballet Across America festival in July 2017.

 
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Brown Baby

 

BROWN BABY is a collaborative thirty minute work for thirteen dancers created by choreographers Jeremy McQueen and Lauren Cox, and composed by accomplished jazz pianist Aaron Diehl for an six-piece musical ensemble that evokes the golden age of American jazz. The story begins in Munich, Germany, post-World War II at a time when jazz music was banned, and continues to post segregated Flint, Michigan during the late 1950s. The title of the piece refers to the term used to name children born to Black soldiers and white European women during and after World War II. BROWN BABY is inspired by the true story of Beatrice Reynolds, the daughter of the controversial interracial relationship, who went on to be one of the country's first Black mainstream fashion models. The ballet traces her unique journey as a young biracial woman struggling to embrace her identity.

 
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Engage


Engage


 DaVon Doane, Dance Theatre of Harlem

DaVon Doane, Dance Theatre of Harlem

In addition to performance-based work, educational outreach plans include master classes with professional Black ballet dancers; panel discussions about the state of the arts in Black society as well as about the creative process of the newly created works; and demonstrations and lectures at potential partner organizations throughout New York City.

 

Presented by The Black Iris Project, MADIBA is a celebration of the life of one of the most influential peace activists in history through the language of dance.  Through interactive lessons incorporating physical movement, dialogue, literacy, and a live performance by renowned professional dancers, students learn about the inspiring life of Nelson Mandela and the fight for civil rights and equality.  Students learn about dance history and be taught dance steps from MADIBA, while being taken on a journey through South Africa and the American South during times of turmoil.  Students are also guided in methods for collaborative storytelling through dance and choreography.  To work for peace and community in today's society is essential.  The Black Iris Project believes that the performing arts, at its core, is a form of community building.  The MADIBA curriculum is one which fosters creativity, empowerment, and encourages activism and teamwork. 

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Collaborators


Collaborators