Young Dancers Learn from Professional to Promote Ailey II
CLARKSDALE – Local elementary and middle school students were given the unique opportunity to learn from a class act, professional dancer this week.
The students learned about the fundamentals of dancing from Shirley Black-Brown Coward, an accomplished choreographer and artistic director, during three workshops designed to enhance the students’ awareness of dance as a cultural art form as well as to promote the upcoming Ailey II performances at Coahoma Community College.
Coward attended The Julliard School of Music in New York and has certification from Zena Rommett Floor-Barre. She has taught extensively throughout British Columbia, Saskatchewan, West Canada, Jamaica, Bermuda and the United States. On the stage, she has worked as a featured dancer in “The Wiz”, as the assistant choreographer in “Dream Girls”, as well as the principal dancer and choreographer in the Langston Hughes’ “The Black Nativity”. She has also participated in several dance companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Balance Dance Theater and The George Faison’s Universal Dance Experience.
The students were made up of the George H. Oliver Elementary School’s Jazzy Divas Dance team, led by Javette White, as well as the Young Ladies in Training for Excellence and Service (LITES), a group of girls that are mentored by the Mississippi Delta Chapter of the LINKS, Inc. The workshops were held after school, Tuesday through Thursday at the W.A. Higgins Middle School’s performing arts building. The girls seemed excited to watch Coward and learn about the proper techniques.
“This is designed to spark their interests about performing arts. Hopefully it’ll get them excited about the Ailey II performance, and give them the chance to see what it takes to be a dancer,” said Sherley Fields, program coordinator for the Young LITES.
“We’re glad to have this association with W.A. Higgins Middle School and the LINKS, and we’re excited to bring this workshop to the students,” said CCC’s Director or Library Services Yvonne Stanford, a member of CCC’s Lyceum committee.
The Ailey II performance is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 18. A matinee student performance will also be held a 1 p.m. Both performances will take place in The Pinnacle on CCC’s campus and are free and open to the public.
The event is part of a series of productions sponsored by CCC’s Lyceum and the Mississippi Festival.
For more Photos visit our Facebook Page.