Viral Videos

What to Watch: Collage Dance Collective's Moving Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, April 4, marks the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee. It's a date heavy with meaning and symbolism for Kevin Thomas and Marcellus Harper, the founding directors of Memphis-based Collage Dance Collective. King's death not only marked a turning point in the civil rights movement, but it inspired Arthur Mitchell to found Dance Theatre of Harlem, a company and school devoted to providing opportunities to dancers of color. Harper and Thomas, a former DTH principal, have helped carry on Mitchell's mission through Collage Dance Collective, a company that showcases black dancers and choreographers.


To pay homage to Dr. King, Collage released Rebirth, a short film produced by Pigeon Roost in advance of the company's spring season. Shot at the historic Clayborn Temple, where King led one of his final marches against economic injustice, it features the dancers moving to a mix of music, poetry and Dr. King's famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. Made the day before his assassination, his words are eerily prophetic: "And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

Collage, on its Instagram page, had this to say about Rebirth: "We present this piece to represent the power of the arts to turn poison into medicine." Watch below, and be inspired.

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Earlier this month, 15-year-old American dancer Ava Arbuckle was one of eight scholarship winners at the Prix de Lausanne. For her classical selection, Arbukle, clad in an ultra-feminine, rosette-covered tutu, performed Flora's variation from The Awakening of Flora, Marius Petipa's 1894 one-act ballet about the Greek goddess of Spring. Back in 2007, historian and choreographer Sergei Vikharev reconstructed the work for the Mariinsky Ballet, with Evgenia Obraztsova, then a soloist at the Mariinsky and now principal at the Bolshoi Ballet, originating the titular Flora.

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Yesterday, the first of Nike's new Common Thread video series dropped, and we were thrilled to see that it featured dancers; namely, Dance Theatre of Harlem member (and June/July 2017 Pointe cover star) Ingrid Silva, and Florida-based ballet student Alex Thomas. Even better, it's narrated by tennis phenom Serena Williams. This series of short videos celebrates Black History Month by focusing on representation in sport. (We're not crazy about ballet being called a sport, but we'll let it slide.) In each installment, athletes united by a common thread discuss their passion, and the lack of role models they saw in their fields while growing up.

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Happy Valentine's Day! Below, Josephine Lee plays a version of the Newlywed Game with Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancers and couple Michael Montgomery and Shuaib Elhassan.

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Profiles

Former American Ballet Theatre principals Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones—known for their inimitable stage presence and penchant for flair—dazzle in this performance of the Black Swan pas de deux. They draw the audience into their characters' worlds, even in a gala performance

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