On Sunday 11 July, Dance Consortium partnered with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) to deliver an all-day workshop for young dancers. The workshop consisted of a cinema-style screening of the Ailey Spring Gala, a live Q&A session over Zoom, and a workshop led virtually by AAADT. This marked the beginning of a new collaborative relationship between Dance Consortium and AAADT called Ailey Project UK
Choreographer and former AAADT dancer Marcus Jarrell Willis helped to facilitate the project in person. Through Zoom, dancers Soloman Dumas and Samantha Figgins led the Birmingham-based young participants through a dynamic workshop. Using the streaming service and space at ACE Dance and Music, we were able to facilitate an opportunity for collaborative learning. In delivering Ailey Project UK, it was important that we remove geographical boundaries to inspire young dancers and provide them with an insight into world-leading contemporary dance.
Thirty dancers from two Birmingham-based, black-led dance organisations attended the launch of Ailey Project UK: ACE Dance and Music, the touring dance company internationally recognised as leaders in Contemporary African and Caribbean Dance, and Eloquent Praise, a multi-award winning dance company and community organisation.
“I had the best time dancing today. I was really inspired by Marcus, and zooming the American dancers was amazing.” – Ailey Project UK Participant
Head of Community & Talent Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, Sophia Griffin says: “I think it’s really important and exciting actually for our local dancers here in Birmingham to connect with the Ailey dancers, to really share their community, share learnings and hopefully bring that back so we can support them as a cohort of dancers to continue to grow and learn.”
Following a difficult couple of years for the arts, it was fantastic to see that engagement in international contemporary dance was feasible. Dance Consortium are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Thank you to all of the participants of Ailey Project UK: ACE Dance and Music, Eloquent Praise Dance Company, Birmingham Hippodrome and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.