Wideman-Davis Dance Company to Visit N.C. A&T during N.C. Dance Festival

09/27/2023 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 27, 2023) – Every year, the North Carolina Dance Festival, powered by Dance Project in Greensboro, ignites the stage with thrilling modern and contemporary dance moves. The festival takes dance to every corner of the state, delivering electrifying performances, immersive classes and engaging conversations.

This week, the N.C. Dance Festival will feature nationally-celebrated Wideman-Davis Dance company, for a four-day residency in Greensboro from Wednesday, Sept. 27, through Saturday, Sept. 30. As part of the festival, the company will hold two workshops on North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s campus and engage with students in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS).

Wideman-Davis Dance is set to conduct a two-part workshop for students from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, including its student dance company, the E. Gwynn Dancers of N.C. A&T. The workshop will feature interactive discussions with both students and members of the local community.

“We are excited to partner with the Dance Project of Greensboro to bring Wideman-Davis Dance company to campus and witness our students embark on this enlightening journey,” said Frances Ward-Johnson, Ph.D., CAHSS dean. “We anticipate this event will leave an indelible mark on their academic and cultural experiences here at A&T.”

The E. Gwynn Dancers of North Carolina A&T, under the direction of professor of dance Melanie McLaurin, Ph.D., showcases an array of high energy dances of Africa and the Caribbean.

Wideman-Davis Dance, headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, and led by directors Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis, is dedicated to exploring social and political topics from an African American standpoint. They create work that draws inspiration from and actively addresses present-day issues, encompassing themes such as race, class, gender and location.

While in Greensboro for their residency, partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wideman-Davis Dance will engage with various community organizations in workshops centered on the themes of history, memory, family heritage, migration and the pervasive presence of art and culture in all aspects of our lives.

“We are thrilled about this year’s residency. For more than 30 years, Dance Project has been inspiring, educating, and entertaining Greensboro and the state through the N.C. Dance Festival, our school (a community studio in the Greensboro Cultural Center), and our community engagement and performance programs,” said Anne Morris, Dance Project executive director.

To culminate the visit, the N.C. Dance Festival will screen the short film, “We Dance,” followed by a conversation between Wideman-Davis Dance and the audience. The event will be Saturday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. at the African American Atelier Gallery, 200 N. Davie St. No. 14, Greensboro.

In “We Dance,” through stunning visuals and vivid poetry, the Davises take us from Chicago to Montgomery, Alabama, and from New York to the point where their lives meet and become one. Along the way, they honor and signify Black American art, poetry and literature. They offer commentary on the importance of movement and migration to Black American identity, lived experience and consciousness.

Support for the four-day residency includes The Cemala Foundation, Creative Greensboro, Ecolab Foundation, and Dance Project’s season sponsor, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. Additional funding and support for university workshops includes the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice Program and A&T’s CAHSS. The African American Atelier is the sponsor for the film screening and conversation.

Founded and directed by Jan Van Dyke until her death in July 2015, Dance Project is now co-directed by Morris and Lauren Joyner. 

For more information about the full schedule of residency activities throughout Greensboro, visit http://danceproject.org/wdd/.

Workshop Schedule:
General Classroom Building, Room 116
N.C. A&T Campus

Part 1: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m. (students only)

Using their dance film “We Dance” as a starting point, Wideman-Davis Dance will lead students in a workshop investigating their own experiences of family, memory, culture and legacy.

Part 2: Friday, Sept. 29, 3:15-4:45 p.m. (students and senior community members)

Wideman-Davis Dance will facilitate a session bringing together A&T students and local senior community members, bridging generational gaps and finding common ground.

Media Contact Information: mcrowe@ncat.edu

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