On Sept. 14 and 15, 2023, the American Dance Festival (ADF) will present Les Ballet Afrik’s newest work, New York is Burning, in Jones Auditorium at Meredith College. Les Ballet Afrik is a multi-cultural dance company who works to give recognition to marginalized communities.
According to the American Dance Festival, Les Ballet Afrik’s New York is Burning will draw inspiration from the 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning. The reflective piece will explore the story of aspiring young artists who are also living in the age of racism, homophobia and the stigma surrounding the AIDS crisis. Les Ballet Afrik strives to showcase the importance of individual expression and acceptance with this performance.
Carol Finley, Professor of Dance at Meredith College, is thrilled to bring the company to Meredith. Professor Finley notes that, “Les Ballet Afrik has fused African, Afrobeat, House, Vogue and Latin dance styles to create their own style called Afikfusion. And not just the movement. In the context of the U.S., each of these forms grew in response to oppression, so fused together they are one powerful voice in solidarity and celebration.”
Welcoming such an esteemed company to Meredith’s stage is an immense opportunity for the dance program. Finley said, “Partnering with the American Dance Festival to present a professional dance company is a really big deal. Small colleges don’t generally have a professional arts series like larger universities [do], so to be able to partner with the very prestigious ADF to bring a company to [Meredith] students is significant to their learning.”
Finley continued, “We presented with ADF by accident last season when two of their shows at the NC Museum of Art got rained out. Meredith Events stepped up to present two companies in 24 hours; it was absolutely amazing. The partnership worked so well that the executive director of ADF, Jodee Nimerechter, wanted to collaborate on purpose this year!”
Finley encouraged all dance enthusiasts at Meredith to come see this performance. Any students interested in attending the performances of the Les Ballet Afrik, follow the link here to request Meredith student complimentary tickets. Tickets are also available for purchase through the Duke University Box Office.
By Haileigh West, Associate Editor
Photograph by Grayson Morris, Co-Podcasting Director