Sunday, July 22, 2018

Red Clay Dance Company Announces 10th Anniversary Season in Chicago

Red Clay Dance Company

World Premieres, Youth Ensemble Performances and More

Red Clay Dance Company (RCDC), which creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance, celebrates its 10th anniversary season with fall and spring performance series by its professional touring company, showcases for its Youth Ensemble, and fundraisers to ensure its continued growth and success as it begins its second decade.
“We made it to 10 years—double digits,” exclaimed RCDC Founder and Artistic Director Vershawn Sanders-Ward. “This is a huge milestone for any organization, but especially an arts organization and even more for a dance company. In the midst of our current communal challenges, we remain committed to our work of ‘artivism’ to help build an equitable society. Now is the time to dig deeper, stay rooted, and fight for everyone’s voice to be celebrated and elevated! I am excited to share our creative work with our village and to continue to welcome new folks into the Red Clay Dance family.”
Opening the season is RCDC’s fall performance series, featuring the world premiere of EKILI MUNDA|What Lies Within, choreographed by Sanders-Ward and Jonas Byaruhanga, founder and director of Keiga Dance Company in Kampala, Uganda. The evening-length work seeks to unearth the cultural history and knowledge around identity that is archived in the body and the unapologetic liberation of this knowledge. EKILI MUNDA|What Lies Within represents the culmination of the TransAtlantic Project, a yearlong cultural exchange between the two internationally recognized dance companies. Performances take place November 8–10, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Tickets are available at A post-show fundraiser Tukwaniriza (“Welcome” in Luganda, the primary language in Kampala) reception takes place November 10 at 3 Flytes Loft, 2635 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago.

RCDC’s Academy and Youth Ensemble concludes its fall term with a Winter Sharecase on December 15, 2018 at Fuller Park Auditorium, 331 W. 45th St., Chicago. RCDC’s Academy, which offers year-round instruction, led to the development of the Youth Ensemble, which has begun to handle its own operations: the high school-age company members curate the concert, secure a performance space, plan the budget, and determine and execute all of the concert’s technical needs.

The third edition of La Femme, a festival of work by black female choreographers, takes place February 28–March 2, 2019 at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., Chicago, a partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks. RCDC will issue a call for artists on August 1.
In May, RCDC presents the world premiere of Sanders-Ward’s Art of Resilience 2.0, a co-presentation with the DuSable Museum of African American History. The three-part evening-length work explores the theme of embodied resilience that lives inside of the black bodies found in Chicago’s historically disenfranchised communities. The work explores the history and culture behind Chicago’s unique house music and dance scene and represents multiple Chicago locations. Performances take place May 16–18, 2019 at the DuSable Museum of African American History’s Roundhouse, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. RCDC’s Paint the Town Red, a post-show fundraiser, takes place May 18 on the Roundhouse’s outdoor patio. Tickets will be available in early 2019.

Concluding the season will be RCDC’s “Dance4Peace Youth Concert & Community Hug Awards” June 1 at 5 p.m. at Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago.

An important component in RCDC’s education programming is a workshop series, “Making the Artivist,” which cultivates the process of making art and combining it with activism. “We guide participants in activating their voice and civic engagement through movement or other art-making,” Sanders-Ward explained. RCDC has conducted this program at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center for the past five years. This summer, the program expands into several South Side communities, including Roseland, Pullman, and Washington Park.

Red Clay Dance Company lives to awaken “glocal” change through creating, performing, and teaching dances of the African Diaspora—change that transforms cultural and socioeconomic imbalances in our local and global community. Founder Vershawn Sanders-Ward conceived the idea of RCDC while on her first trip to Senegal, West Africa, when she became fascinated by the interconnectedness of dance and everyday life. The name Red Clay comes from her childhood memories of playing in red earth during her summers in Mobile, Alabama.

RCDC’s 10th anniversary season is supported by the Chicago Community Trust, the Field Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Springboard Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Illinois Humanities Council, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The creation of EKILI MUNDA |What Lies Within is supported by the International Connections Fund at the MacArthur Foundation. 

The 10th Anniversary Season Host Committee includes Ebony Ambrose, Jessica Bell, Amy Clark*, Belinda Farr*, Leslie Guy, Tam Herbert*, Kesha Jackson*, Jeff Perkins*, Jada Russell, Brea Sanders, Marilyn A. Sanders, and Ira Staples (* denotes RCDC board member).

For more information about RCDC and the 10th anniversary season, visit

NOBLE 42nd Annual Training Conference Invitation (Concierge Information)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

OperaCreole: WWNO: Edmond Dédé: The Classical Composer You've Never Heard Of

Edmond Dédé

The Historic New Orleans Collection, Gift of Mr. Al Rose

OperaCreole forwards this transcript: 

Jul 19, 2018

Sultana Isham is a violinist and composer in New Orleans, and is studying Dédé. “He had a really hard time when he was here” she says. “Because of the discrimination that he was constantly going through, specifically as a dark skinned black man.”

In the 19th Century, white composers published sheet music with their faces on the front cover. But Creole composers didn’t, for fear their music wouldn’t sell. And pictures of Dédé show he was particularly dark skinned. “But he was extremely talented,” Sultana adds, “and didn't allow that to stop him from getting what he needed to get, and do what he wanted to do.”

Dédé realized his musical career could only go so far in the South, and so he needed to get out. He moved to Mexico when he was nineteen, and worked in a cigar factory to make money. He worked, and saved for three years. When he returned to New Orleans in 1851, the Civil War was looming, and race relations felt more threatening than before. The cards were against him here.

Dédé continued playing music and working as a cigar maker in New Orleans for six more years, until he finally had enough money to leave for good. He went to France, bounced around conservatories there, and a few years later became the conductor of the Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux. Clearly things moved a lot faster for him across the pond.

Museum of African American History: Music and Saints: The Art of Jerome Wright to 2/19


Music and Saints: The Art of Jerome Wright

Now – February 2019


Miles Davis As The Angel Gabriel

Friday, July 20, 2018

Deeply Rooted Alumni: Where Are They Now? Nicole Clarke-Springer

Nicole Clarke-Springer

Nicole Clarke-Springer, an alumna of DRDT’s apprentice program, is currently the company’s Dance Education Director. She received her B.S. in arts administration-dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, where she was awarded Butler Ballet’s Outstanding Performer. Shortly after graduating, she found her dance home within the Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre family, first as an apprentice and later as company member. With DRDT she has performed with Roberta Flack in Kevin Iega Jeff’s Flack and Jennifer Holiday in the world-renowned Penumbra Theatre’s Black Nativity. In 2007, she briefly left DRDT and served as adjunct professor at Western Kentucky University’s Dance Department and toured to Istanbul with Clifton Brown Dance Company. She returned to DRDT as Summer Intensive program director and began deepening her choreographic voice, creating and later setting works such as Nine, Dounia and Femme for the first and second companies. She also served as assistant choreographer to Kevin Iega Jeff for Congo Square Theatre’s Nativity for two years. She joined DRDT’s Artistic Team in 2013 and was named emerging choreographer for the program Generations. In 2015, she traveled with DRDT to the Jomba! Dance Festival hosted by Flatfoot Dance Company where she had the pleasure of setting her ballet Until Lambs Become Lions on the host company. She recently choreographed the opening number for the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Show- Halloween Celebration.
What first brought you to Deeply Rooted? 
I was in the very first summer intensive class! I “stumbled” upon Deeply Rooted. I was teaching dance at Chicago State University and saving money to relocate to New York with plans to study with the Ailey program. A friend had told me about the company and encouraged me to audition for Deeply Rooted’s Apprentice program. I decided to go, thinking it would be a free class if nothing else, and found myself worked into a frenzy! The energy in the space was electric, and the voice in my head was clear and loud and said, “You are never leaving here. This is home.” I then matriculated through the program as an Apprentice and later performed with the company.

How has your experience with Deeply Rooted affected your perspective on teaching? On choreography? 
My experience with Deeply Rooted has not only influenced but affirms the work that I do as an instructor and choreographer. The Deeply process is more than steps; it is a process that teaches life skills and gives you the fortitude to move forward despite the challenges that come towards you. My mission through my teaching and choreography is to inspire, ignite and create individuals thru self-actualization.

What do you feel is the most important lesson you’ve learned from being part of Deeply Rooted? As a teacher, what is the most important thing you hope to impart to your students? 
 Self-actualization is the basis for the Deeply Rooted mission and is key to being an artist in our process. A huge part of discovering who you are as an artist is being open to process and realizing that this is a neverending journey. You must be honest with yourself and your approach to the work. Once that work is done, you then are held accountable to the work. I teach and choreograph from this perspective, especially during the Summer Intensive. The process is intense and at times extremely difficult. However, if you understand who you are, why you are here and your importance, the steps become a language for communication and are easier to learn.
What’s coming up for you that you’re excited about? 
I am excited for the upcoming season with our main company. I also have a female choreography showcase called Femme Festival in the works and lots of teaching throughout the Chicagoland area. However, I’m most excited for a much-needed vacation!
Your chance to see the next generation is this weekend!
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater’s Summer Intensive
and Emerging Choreographers Showcase performances
take place Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at
the Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts,
915 E. 60th Street, Chicago. Tickets are $25–50.
Tickets to the July 20 performance are available at
Tickets to the July 21 performance are available at
For information, visit

Chicago Sinfonietta: Get Ready for Sept. 24: We. The. People. A Fundraiser for Unity

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Action of Greater Lansing [MI]: Incarceration: The Ripple Effect, 5:30-8:30 PM July 30

The Michigan Power To Thrive (MPTT) Tri-County Caucus (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton) invites you to our Summer Town Hall event: 'Incarceration: The Ripple Effect'. Join us at the Lansing Public Media Center, 2500 S Washington Ave, Lansing, Michigan 48910.

There will be two parts to this panel based discussion. The first examines the roles that county officials and policymakers have in association with the arrest, sentencing and lockup practices; and the impact that these experiences have on families and households.

The second presents the various family support stakeholders and services that are helping to ensure equitable access to diversionary programs for defendants; provide a greater standard of care for family and dependent household members. 

The audience will be given opportunities to interact through moderator led dialog. Meal offerings will include servings for standard, gluten-free and vegetarian preferences. Because this event is open to the public and free of charge, we ask that you please RSVP either in Eventbrite or Facebook so we can have a proper headcount for meals and seating. 

For questions, please contact us at

3rd Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders, 9/23-28

American Underground Announces Call for Applications for 3rd Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders, 9/23-28

Startups Have Until August 6 to Apply

(Durham, NC) -- The American Underground startup campus in Durham will once again host Black founders from around the nation, Sept. 23-28, as part of the Google For Entrepreneurs (GFE) Exchange series. The GFE Exchange is a week­long immersion program that bridges the gap between startups, experts, and new markets. The focus of the American Underground’s Exchange programming is to address documented funding gaps, by empowering Black founders with tools and resources to help them access capital and grow.

The 2018 group of startups will join a diverse group of company founders from Hollywood to DC who participated in past years.

Participating teams will receive intensive mentoring, and a behind-the-scenes view of the approach venture capitalists take in vetting prospective companies, so they are prepared to raise a round of capital. Training will also be provided around overcoming racial bias in the fundraising process. The program ends with a pitch event before dozens of venture capitalists and corporate CEOs from up and down the East Coast. The goal of the program is for at least half of the startups to be funded within nine months.

“American Underground is committed to being the most diverse tech hub in the country,” says Doug Speight, executive director, American Underground. “Given the rich legacy of Black entrepreneurship in Durham, mentors and investors from across the nation coalesce to provide founders of color the wise counsel, connections and energy to grow and scale their companies.”

The deadline to apply is August 6 and teams will be announced within two weeks. Teams can apply here:

About the American Underground
The American Underground, a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, is where smart startups grow and thrive. Deemed “the startup capital of the south” by CNBC, the American Underground is home to more than 270 entrepreneurial organizations. The American Underground is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC). American Underground visitors include TechCrunch, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, G.E’s Jeff Immelt, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Steve Case.

Historic Promotion, LAPD Appoints First African-American Female to Deputy Chief

Deputy Chief Regina Scott
Los Angeles Police Department

NOBLE forwards this release from the Los Angeles Police Department:

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore has announced the promotion of the Department's first female African American Deputy Chief.

Commander Regina Scott was the first female African American to achieve the rank of Commander, and with her new promotion, Deputy Chief Scott will become the LAPD's first female African American to achieve the rank of Deputy Chief.

"Regina embodies the spirit of the Los Angeles Police Department with a balance of determination, excellence and heart," said Chief Moore.  "In her new role as Deputy Chief, she will undoubtedly continue that quality work with an emphasis on building bridges, creating healthy communities and fighting crime."

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Deborah Santana Shares How Young Women Can Embrace Their Heritage

All The Women In My Family Sing
Deborah Santana
Nothing But The Truth Publishing, LLC

Deborah Santana

2018 has been a year plagued by gender and racial discrimination. From the numerous cases of sexual assault, to the racial injustices across America, it is becoming increasingly important for young women of color to stand strong in the face of adversity.
Deborah Santana is empowering young women and encouraging them to embrace their heritage despite the racial injustices happening every day.
Her new book, All the Women in My Family Sing, highlights stories of cultural strength by 69 women of color from ages 16 to 77. The book celebrates diversity and promotes female empowerment at a time when young girls need it the most.