When Debbie Allen auditioned for a Texas ballet school as a young girl, she was initially rejected because of the color of her skin. Now world renowned for her performance, choreography, acting and producing credits, Allen seems dedicated to fighting the obstacles she once faced. This month, Debbie Allen Dance Academy is hosting DADA on Pointe, a five-day workshop March 19−23 that will offer students the chance to learn from such stars as Misty Copeland and Desmond Richardson—diverse artists who, like Allen, have paved the way for dancers of color.
Students will take technique, partnering and contemporary classes taught by Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancers, Debbie Allen and Bolshoi Ballet alumni Giana Jigarhan, Alla Khaniashvili and Vitaly Artiushkin. Misty Copeland will also teach a master class, open to students who purchase the highest of the program's three price packages.
The intensive kicks off March 19 with a one-on-one conversation between Copeland and Allen. “Misty Copeland has been part of our dance community since she was a young girl," Allen says. “Before she was anointed by the world, we knew who she was at the ripe age of 13." Allen believes that Copeland's meteoric rise to fame is deeply inspiring: “Her story resonates with every student who is challenged by anything. [It's] a story of success and the power of talent over perception."
Students' involvement may extend beyond the studio, too. Richardson and Rhoden will hand pick a group of 6−8 dancers to appear with Complexions for a performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles April 15−17. Allen says that the chosen dancers will have a unique opportunity, “to be on stage with dancers that will inspire them to go where they want to go." An inspirational week, indeed.
Registration is open until the first day of the program, March 19, space permitting. Tickets for the Misty Copeland talk are also available to the public. For more information on price packages and registration, click here.