Dance Iquail hosts Black History Month talk

Dancer Penda Jahmil of Dance IquailDance Iquail, in partnership with Dance/NYC and the Harlem Arts Alliance, will present a free panel discussion titled Black Swan: Solidarity Beyond Colored Pointe Shoes on Monday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Riverside Theatre in NYC.


This discussion will examine the importance of resilience as seen in the stresses on black artists, communities and institutions. A panel of distinguished women of color in the ballet world will gather for what promises to be a lively and stimulating discussion on how dance as an art form can help organizations and individuals adapt and recover from the stress of racial segregation, diminished resources and social disenfranchisement.


Speakers include dance historian Zita Allen, former ballet teacher and 1957 NY Negro Ballet dancer Delores Brown, former Oakland Ballet Artistic Director Karen “KB” Brown, former New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer Andrea Long-Naidu, and Dance Iquail Artistic Director Iqail Shaheed. The moderator will be independent arts consultant and former New Jersey Performing Arts Center Programming VP Baraka Sele.


This discussion is part of a community engagement campaign surrounding Dance Iquail’s Black Swan, a new 75-minute dance-based production choreographed by Iquail Shaheed to the music of artist/activist Nina Simone (1933-2003). The project explores the experience of the black ballerina as a window into issues of race, identity and isolation, incorporating elements of performance art to investigate these psychological tensions. 


In its eighth season, Dance Iquail is a 21st century cutting edge dance company that was created to not only educate and empower both talented dancers and audiences, but also to offer a positive influence to inner city youth through education and community awareness. 


Also scheduled for Black History Month, Dance Iquail will present its new full evening work Black Swan in NYC on February 13-14 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, and in Philadelphia on February 25-27 at the Mandell Theater. For more information, visit


Photo: Penda Jahmil. Photo courtesy of Dance Iquail.