GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — Two Mid-South cultural institutions are celebrating milestones together this year. Collage Dance Collective, the city’s only African American dance company, is celebrating its 10th year and the Germantown Performing Arts Center its 25th.
The two are working together to give Mid-Southerners a view of the world.
“We are showcasing our dancers and representing Memphis in every city we go,” said Collage Founding Artistic Director, Kevin Thomas.
This weekend that showcase will be on display at one of Shelby County’s premiere cultural venues, the GPAC.
The last several months have taken Collage Dance Collective to China, French Guyana and Washington D.C., but this performance is extra special because of the milestones being celebrated by both organizations said GPAC Executive Director Paul Chandler.
“We looked back into past seasons for acts that were very, very successful and were in high demand and brought many of them back in,” said Chandler.
In a never before move they called Collage Dance Collective.
“We said you’re a really important dance company in this market and have toured like the other national touring acts. Would you be on our performance season?”
Now located on Broad Avenue new studios are being constructed in Binghampton for the hundreds of young dancers taught in Collage’s conservancy.
As a young male dancer of color Thomas recalls not seeing anybody that looked like him who was classically trained until he was a teenager.
“It’s only when I went to Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York and I was part of being on a stage of color. That changed my whole mind set.”
It’s what led Thomas to create Collage Dance Collective.
“How we laugh. How we cry. All those things are important to life. When you see it in dance. That’s how we communicate,” said Thomas.