Compiled by Jeff Slayton from information provided by Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

Online dance continues as Black Dance Stories announces the July 2020 lineup of its weekly storytelling series created and conceived by performer, producer, and dance writer Charmaine Warren. Airing via ZOOM at 6 PM (EDT) and 3 PM (PDT) on Thursdays in July, the newly launched series features discussions led by Warren with Black dance artists Jamar Roberts (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (Elisa Monte Dance), Cynthia Oliver (Cynthia Oliver Co. Dance Theatre), Marjani Forté-Saunders (formerly Urban Bush Women), Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), J. Bouey (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company), Kyle Marshall (Kyle Marshall Choreography), and Okwui Okpokwasil (Past Hodder Fellow).

Black Dance Stories launched on June 25, 2020, with internationally acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel and dancer, choreographer, and founder of Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland. The series adheres to the tradition of Black artists “finding a way for their voices to be heard during turbulent times. When civil, moral, and social freedoms are challenged and at times stifled, Black artists find ways to use their talents as activism”.  All sessions will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.

The Black Dance Stories team includes Warren, Kimani Fowlin, and Nicholas Hall. In the Michelle Tabnick Public Relations’ 7/3 press release the team wrote “Our dance world was pummeled by COVID-19 and Black dance artists around the world are finding ways to talk about life during this time, said Charmaine Warren, creator of Black Dance Stories. Our world was further turned upside down after horrible events ensued nationally and globally, bringing attention, yet again, to the need for the Black Lives Matter movement. Black dance artists have not been quiet since. Black dance artists have been doing the work. Black dance artists continue to make work. To stay involved, we will hold weekly impromptu discussions and tell stories-Black Dance Stories. This is one action–we will stay involved.”

Black Dance Stories Schedule:

Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 6 pm EDT
Black Dance Stories with Jamar Roberts and Tiffany Rae-Fisher
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Jamar Roberts was a member of Ailey II and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Dance Magazine featured Jamar as one of “25 to Watch” in 2007 and on the cover in 2013. He performed at The White House in 2010, and as a guest star on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2015 he made his Ailey II choreographic debut with his work Gemeos, set to the music of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti. His first work for the Company, Members Don’t Get Weary, premiered during the 2017 New York City Center season. Roberts won Outstanding Performer at the Bessie Awards and was a guest star with London’s Royal Ballet.

Tiffany Rea-Fisher subscribes to the servant leadership model and uses disruption through inclusion as a way to influence her company’s culture. In 2018, Rea-Fisher was awarded a citation from the City of New York for her cultural contributions and accepted an invitation to join the Bessies Selection Committee. Rea-Fisher is in her fourth year as Artistic Director of the NYC-based internationally acclaimed dance company Elisa Monte Dance (EMD). She joined EMD in 2004 where she was principal dancer until 2010. She was named Dance Magazine’s August 2007 On the Rise artist based on her 2006 performance at the Joyce Theater. As a choreographer, Tiffany has had the pleasure of creating numerous pieces for the company as well as being commissioned by Dance Theater of Harlem, Dallas Black Dance Theater, NYC’S Department of Transportation, Utah Repertory Theater, The National Gallery of Art in D.C. and having her work performed for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Recently Tiffany’s works have been seen on the Joyce stage as well the Apollo Theater, Joe’s Pub, Aaron Davis Hall, and New York Live Arts in New York City. Tiffany’s work extends well beyond the stage creating work for the film, fashion, theater, the music industry, and museums. She is the co-founder of Inception to Exhibition and the Dance Curator for the Bryant Park Dance Summer Series. She is the Director of the Lake Placid School of Dance in Lake Placid, New York. She is the Vice President of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation and a member of Women of Color of the Arts. Tiffany has recently completed the National Art Strategies: Chief Executive Program as well as the APAP Leadership Fellows Program.

Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6 pm EDT
Black Dance Stories with Cynthia Oliver and Marjani Forte Saunders
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Cynthia Oliver is a Bronx born, Virgin Island reared, award-winning choreographer, and performance artist. Her ongoing research is in the areas of intersection between contemporary dance, feminism, black popular culture, and the expressive performances of Africans in the diaspora, with an emphasis on the performance in the Anglophone Caribbean, particularly the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has danced with numerous companies, including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., the Bebe Miller Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Tere O’Connor Dance. As an actor, she has performed in works by Greg Tate, Ione, Laurie Carlos, and Ntozake Shange. She is professor of Dance, with affiliations in Gender and Women’s Studies, and African American Studies, and is currently serving as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation – Humanities, Arts, Related Fields at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign.

Marjani Forté-Saunders is an artist, educator, and organizer. She is a 2020 recipient of the Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants for Artists Award and an inaugural fellow of the UBW Choreographic Center, the Jerome Hill Artist, and DanceUSA Fellowship. Marjani is a two-time Princess Grace Foundation awardee and a three-time Bessie Award winner for her latest work Memoirs of a… Unicorn

(now touring internationally) and as part of the collective Skeleton Architecture. Marjani collaborates with husband and composer Everett Asis Saunders as 7NMS|, also founding directors of the emerging platform ART & POWER. Humbly, she defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers!

Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6 pm EDT
Black Dance Stories with Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris and J. Bouey
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater in 1992. He has received three Bessie Awards, four Black Theater Alvin Ailey Awards, a Herb Alpert Award in choreography, a Guggenheim, Dance Magazine’s Legend Award, and a lifetime achievement award from Palm Dessert Festival. At the turn of the century he was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history. The first street dancer to receive two honorary doctorates he was also the first choreographer to set a 60-minute work Lazarus, which is hailed as a modern version of Alvin Ailey’s signature work Revelations.

J. Bouey is a dance artist. As a performer, choreographer, educator, and writer they make art using movement as the language and material. They are also the founder and co-host of The Dance Union Podcast with Melanie Greene and is a current member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. J. Bouey has shown their original work at The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Judson Church, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Gibney Dance, BAAD!, CPR – Center for Performance Research, La Mama Experimental Theatre and South Mountain Center for Performing Arts. J. performed with Elisa Monte Dance as an apprentice, Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT Dance Company, AntonioBrownDance, Germaul Barnes’ Viewsic Dance, Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, and Maria Bauman’s MBDance. J. Bouey received a BFA in Dance from Arizona State University.

Jamar Roberts_Photo Nina Robinson Tiffany Rea-Fisher_photo courtesy of the artist Cynthia Oliver_Photo by LaTosha Pointer Marjani Forte Photo by Ian Douglas Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris_Photo courtesy of the artist J. Bouey_Photo by Malcolm X-Betts Kyle Marshall_Photo by Norbert de la Cruz III okwui okpokwasili_photo by Peter Born
Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris - Photo courtesy of the artist

Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 6 pm EDT
Black Dance Stories with Kyle Marshall and Okwui Okpokwasili
Hosted by Charmaine Warren

Choreographer and dancer Kyle Marshall is a 2018 Juried Bessie Award winner and a NJ State Council on the Arts Fellow. His company, Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC) sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. KMC has performed at venues including: BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joe’s Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, NYC Summerstage, Wassaic Arts Project, and Conduit Dance (PDX). Commissions have included: Dance on the Lawn Montclair’s Dance Festival, NJPAC, and Harlem Stage. Kyle has taught masterclass and creative workshops at the American Dance Festival, Montclair State University, County Prep High School and Muhlenberg College. He has been a recipient of residencies from MANA Contemporary, CPR and Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Presently, Kyle dances with the Trisha Brown Dance Company and is a resident artist at the 92nd St.Y. He has also worked with doug elkins choreography etc., and Tiffany Mills Company. Kyle graduated from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and resides in Jersey City.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and choreographer. Her experimental performance pieces bring together dance, theater, and the visual arts. Her performance work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, and Jacob’s Pillow. She has held residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Rauschenberg Foundation Captiva Residency, and New York Live Arts, where she was a Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Okpokwasili is also a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award Recipient. In 2020 Okwui Okpokwasili won an Antonyo Award For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf.

The story sharing and discussion series will live stream on Zoom, every Thursday in July at 6 pm. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page. For more information visit @BlackDanceStories on Instagram or email Sign up for updates here. For press information contact

To join Black Dance Stories, click HERE.

Featured image: Marjani Forté-Saunders – Photo by Ian Douglas