Making It Black!

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The event will conclude with an interactive Talk Back on Zoom at 5:30 PM EST, that features some of the celebrated personalities from this evenings concert. Discussion will focus on work as Black creators, Intellectuals, and impacting audiences. Zoom information was emailed directly to you. You can use that link or click the link below and use the password to join.

Get to Know the Celebrated Personalities

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Wycliffe Gordon

Garth Fagan Headshot

Garth Fagan

GARTH FAGAN (choreographer) Critics have called Garth Fagan “a true original,” “a genuine leader,” and “one of the great reformers of modern dance.” Fagan is the founder and artistic director of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance, now celebrating our milestone 50th anniversary! A Tony and Olivier Award winner for his path-breaking choreography for Walt Disney’s The Lion King (1997), Fagan’s distinguished work in the theatre also includes the Duke Ellington street opera, Queenie Pie, at the Kennedy Center (1986) and the opening production of New York Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare Marathon: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1988). The Company’s distinctive movement quality comes from years of training in Fagan Technique, the teaching method Fagan developed hand-in hand with his own dance vocabulary. which draws on many sources: a sense of weight in modern dance, torso-centered movement and energy of AfroCaribbean, the speed and precision of ballet, and the rule breaking experimentation of the postmoderns. “Originality has always been Mr. Fagan’s strong suit, not least in his transformation of recognizable idioms into a dance language that looks not only fresh but even idiosyncratic,” writes Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times. In 2014, Lewis Segal of the Los Angeles Times wrote “it was American master Garth Fagan who best fused technical virtuosity with conceptual depth. The soul-deep conviction and spectacular flair of his 1983 (Prelude)“Discipline Is Freedom”…may have been the indispensable dance experience of the year.” 


In the world of concert dance, Fagan choreographs primarily for Garth Fagan Dance. Mudan 175/39, was named by The New York Times as the third of the top six dance-watching moments of 2009. Fagan has also produced commissions for a number of leading companies, including Footprints Dressed in Red, for the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Scene Seen for the debut of the Jamison Project; Jukebox for Alvin for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Never No Lament for the Jose Limon Company; and Ellington Elation, for the New York City Ballet in honor of Duke Ellington’s centenary and New York City Ballet’s 50th anniversary.

Bio Continued…


Sean McLeod

Sean McLeod is an Executive Producer, Award Winning Businessman, and American Choreographer whose work spans more than 30 years and 3 continents including New York City, across the US, and internationally to the West Indies, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.  Sean is founder of Reaching for Higher Ground Consulting – a Communication, Performance, and Development Company, President of Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre, and is Executive Producer of the Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival, New York Dance Festival and the Global Dance Initiative.  He has worked with several Senators and Congressmen and is a Conference Designer, Fortune 500 Executive Life Coach, Mediation Expert, and Motivational Speaker that uses the arts to teach Personality Development and Emotional Development for Corporations and Executives. He teaches Life Skills to Teens, Parental communication skills, and facilitates Family Development intervention for public schools and universities. Sean was inducted into the Auburn Music Hall of Fame and is presently working with the legendary Wycliffe Gordon on new arrangements of “A Soundtrack for Harriet Tubman,” a suite of songs he composed nearly 30 years ago. Sean is noted for promoting talent everywhere he works and has personally awarded over 400 thousand dollars to established and emerging artists.
Karen Brown - Right Side APPROVED BY PUBLICIST (1)

Karen Brown

Karen Brown spent 22 years as a principal ballerina, featured artist, master teacher and lecturer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) under the direction of legendary founder, Arthur Mitchell. .   Ms. Brown has been certified as an ABT® Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 7; in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of the Vaganova Syllabus and Reinforced Motor Function for Ballet Application (RMF) founded by Sean McLeod and has recently founded the En Pointe Plus Dance Mastery Institute (EPP), a division of Karenina, Inc. Brown served for six years as Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet Company in California (2000 – 2006).  Ms. Brown has received numerous awards, including New York Institute of Dance and Education Harriet Tubman Freedom Award in 2010 and  the New York Dance and Performance Award or the “New York Dance and Performance Award or The Bessie; for Sustained Achievement in Performance” as a company member with Paradigm, Dance Legends in Concert .  She has been an Executive Director for Garth Fagan Dance in Rochester, New York and a Guest Artistic Director of Ballet Wichita in Wichita, Kansas where she and black choreographer Sean McLeod set a new Nutcracker Ballet on the company.  In fall 2020, she was hired as a new Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory.

Nicole Clarke-Springer Headshot

Nicole Clarke-Springer

Nicole Clarke-Springer, Artistic Director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, began formal training under the guidance of Claudette Soltis  (Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Joliet Ballet Society) and the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre under Dace Diodonis. She received her B.S. in arts administration-dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, where she was honored as Butler Ballet’s Outstanding Performer.  Shortly after graduating from Butler, Clarke-Springer found her dance home within the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater family as an apprentice and later a company member. As a member of Deeply Rooted, she had the opportunity to perform with Roberta Flack in Kevin Iega Jeff’s Flack, as well as Jennifer Holiday in the world-renowned Penumbra Theatre’s Black Nativity. After leaving the company she taught as an adjunct professor in Western Kentucky University’s Dance Department. While there, she toured with the Clifton Brown Dance Company to Istanbul, Turkey.  Clarke-Springer returned to the Deeply family as Dance Education director and Artistic Team member in 2007.  She has presented her choreography in Durban, South Africa, and Sophia, Bulgaria as well as worked with and performed for choreographers such as Katherine Dunham, Matthew Rushing, and recording artists Jeffrey Obsborne. She teaches and choreographs throughout the country and has been on faculty as an adjunct professor at Chicago State University and Western Kentucky University and is currently on staff at Northwestern University. Crediting the Deeply Rooted mission, Clarke-Springer works to create an environment where artists participate in a process that is not only spiritually affirming but requires open and honest dialogue that leads to self-reflection, constructive feedback, and accountability to the work required. Nicole was appointed Artistic Director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in September 2019.
Gregory Livingston - Head shot

Gregory Livingston

Dance Artist/Educator (Shanghai, Frankfurt, New York) – Gregory received his M.A. Contemporary Dance Education in 2014 from the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK) Germany, his B.F.A. in Dance from the

SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and a 4-year classical vocal music education from Fiorello H. LaGuardia H.S. of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Gregory also holds a Shiatsu Practitioner Diploma from the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California.

Over three decades, Gregory has performed with world acclaimed dance companies in Asia, Europe and America. Presently, he is a performer with Punchdrunk International in “Sleep No More” Shanghai. Returning full circle to New York City, he was a guest artist with the José Limón Dance Company for two seasons and has danced for Roberto Galvan – Stadttheater Giessen, Joseph Tmim – Tolada in Berlin and City Contemporary Dance Company of Hong Kong. 

Gregory is a sought after visiting professor for several international arts universities for dance such as National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA) in Taipei, Korean National University of Arts in Seoul,Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, teaching BA and MA students.


Thomas Warfield

Thomas Warfield is the founder/artistic director of PeaceArt International (a local/global outreach organization using the arts to foster world peace), director of dance at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, associate director of Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre and vocal soloist at Unity Church in Rochester, NY and the Chilmark Community Church on Martha’s Vineyard. He is also co-president of Rochester Region Association of Teaching Artists (RRATA) and serves on the State Board of ATA.

The son of a minister and a conductor and nephew of internationally renowned singers William Warfield and Leontyne Price, Thomas Warfield began piano lessons at age 4, and at 6 was performing on stage. He began dance training in Rochester, NY with Olive McCue at the Mercury Ballet, studied at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet in NYC, and on full scholarship at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.

His 14yrs. with the Opera Theatre of Rochester, and performances with the New York City Opera and Metropolitan Opera allowed him to work with directors Franco Zefferelli and Spike Lee, composers John Adams and Marvin Hamlisch, scientist Carl Sagan, singer Placido Domingo, Beverly Sills and others. As a singer his repertoire spans German lieder to gospel.

His numerous acting credits include “The Tinman” in The Wiz and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As a dancer he’s performed works by Balanchine, Graham, Cunningham, Limon, Paul Taylor, Isadora Duncan, V. Nijinsky, B. Nijinska, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Jane Dudley and dozens of others and in companies worldwide. Warfield earned a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase, receiving the President’s Award for Excellence and MFA from the University of Utah winning a research fellowship in dance ethnology.

As a professional dancer, singer, pianist, actor, composer, choreographer, music/theatre director, teacher, producer and poet, Mr. Warfield has traveled to over 70 U.S. cities and over 35 foreign cities including: Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Paris, Taiwan, Bangkok, Seoul, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rome, Moscow, mainland China and Macau (where he was decorated as an honorary citizen). The New York Times, Hong Kong Standard, London Times, China News and La Monde are among the many newspapers which have written of Mr. Warfield’s exemplary performances. Mr. Warfield has worked as a facilitator/trainer for the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) doing workshops for schools and corporations in leadership training, welcoming diversity, prejudice reduction and non-violent conflict resolution. He has presented solo concerts and workshops in schools, hospitals, community centers, theological seminaries, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities; working with urban youth, professional dancers/musicians, the elderly, mentally & physically disabled, drug/alcohol abusers, blind & deaf children, AIDS/cancer patients and many others world-wide. Thomas Warfield has taught extensively in the U.S.A. and abroad on a variety of subjects which include: ballet, modern and African-based dance, choreography, improvisation, piano, voice, drama, poetry, English, African-American studies, art/religion, and classes on inner peace, self-esteem, and workshops on nurturing compassion.

Nena Gilreath Headshot Sirk Photography Black turtleneck

Nena Gilreath

 Nena Gilreath is the Cofounding Director of Ballethnic Dance Company, a 31-year Dance organization headquartered in East Point. She also serves as a guest Ballet Professor at the University of Georgia Dance Department. Her work at the East Athens Educational Dance Center and the collaborative work with many other dance organizations has enabled her to create an Athens to Atlanta Artistic Pipeline which continues to serve the mission of Ballethnic Dance of creating access and opportunity for those who are often overlooked. This partnership has enabled dance Majors and Minors to perform and intern with Ballethnic Dance Company and affording Fulton County artists additional opportunities. 

Mrs. Gilreath is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She began her career by joining the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre. She later joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem, touring nationally and internationally. Ms. Gilreath was a member of the Atlanta Ballet in 1988-89, after that season she joined the National tour of Heartstrings, a musical that raised money for Aids research. On January 15, 1990, along with husband and choreographer Waverly T. Lucas, II they created Ballethnic Dance Company. 

Her vision of creating access in dance has produced Alumni that have matriculated are currently working in the Dance field as well as in the fields of medicine, law and education. 

Some of her Career highlights include: Performing in the 1996 Cultural Olympiad, NYC Lincoln Center out of Doors Performances, National Black Arts Festivals, teaching performing and lecturing in Senegal West Africa, selected as Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta Critics Pick-Best Dancer; Atlanta Business League’s Success against the Odds Award, Global Diversity Business Exchange Atlanta Entrepreneur Award, and Pinnacle Leadership Award, The McPheeter’s Medallion Award for Community Leadership, Lexus Leaders of the Arts, Charles Loridans Award, The Atlanta NAACP President’s Award, Atlanta Magazine’s list of “Top Twenty Women in Business “and one of the Atlanta Tribunes Power couples and selected as The School of American Ballet National Visiting Fellows. She has been featured in media coverage such as Dance Teacher Now, Essence Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine’s Top 25 of Atlanta and on, and featured as part of the MODA Art Exhibit Love Nests exhibition. 

She has enhanced her artistic business acumen as a participant of the Kennedy Center Capacity Building Program. Ms. Gilreath is a recipient of the East Point/College Park Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Kuumba award for artistic excellence. Through her leadership Ballethnic was inducted into the Atlanta Business League Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Atlanta Business League and the International Association of Blacks in Dance. 


Robert Moses

Since founding Robert Moses’ Kin (RMK) in 1995 in San Francisco, Robert Moses has created numerous works of varying styles and genres for his highly praised dance company. Moses has worked collaboratively with numerous artists and organizations, received significant funding from regional and national Foundations, toured his company nationally and internationally, received a host of awards, and composed original scores for several of his dances. In addition to his work with RMK, Moses has choreographed for many dance, opera, and theater companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cincinnati Ballet, San Francisco Opera, and Lorraine Hansberry Theater, among others. An alum of California State University Long Beach and a highly regarded master teacher, Moses has taught on several campuses, including Mills College, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University, where he served as dance lecturer and Choreographer-in-Residence from 1995-2016. He has taught at festivals throughout the US and internationally, including Bates Dance Festival, OPEN LOOK St. Petersburg International Dance Festival, Serendipity Arts Festival (Kolkata, India), and more.

Waverly T Lucas

Mr. Lucas attended Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, where he conceived the concept and name for Ballethnic Dance Company. In Ballethnic’s short history, Mr. Lucas has created more than 30 ballets, including four full-length ballets: Urban Nutcracker, The Leopard Tale,  Flyin’ West … the ballet (based off of the Pearl Cleage play) , Epiphany….another Moment of Gospel Ballet and Jazz, and Jazzy Sleeping Beauty, which premiered in Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 2007 and was produced by Ballet Tech Cincinnati. He is the creator of Ballethnicize, an evolving dance/fitness discipline that combines African dance styles with classical ballet. He also established the Danseur Development Project, a dance-training program for young males. Mr. Lucas’ choreography has performed at the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, the 1997 Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Concert Series, the National Black Arts Festival, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Outreach Program. Mr. Lucas choreographed Aida for the Atlanta Opera and Once on this Island and Memphis for the Aurora Theatre and Theatrical Outfit. Internationally, Mr. Lucas has studied West African dance and drumming in Senegal and Brazil and taught at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference. He also taught Ballethnicize workshops and gave lectures at the Universidad de Technicale de Lisboa in Portugal. In 2003, he presented workshops in Sao Paulo Brazil at the Taina Cultural Arts Center. Due to his faithful commitment towards the arts, Mr. Lucas has received numerous awards and honors including the Princess Grace Scholarship, National Choreographers Award, and the McPheeter’s Medallion Award for Community Service by the Auburn Avenue Research Library. He has been recognized as one of Atlanta’s Community Leaders in the 2002-2003 edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, and a recipient of the 2003 TBS Trumpet Awards for Dancer/Choreographer. Mr. Lucas and Nena were selected as the 2006 Lexus Leaders of the Arts by Georgia Public Broadcasting and also received the 2008 Atlanta NAACP President’s Award for their positive influence on today’s youth. Mr. Lucas’s film credits consist of Miss Evers Boys, Krush Groove, Vision (on BET), as well as several short film projects. Mr. Lucas was inducted into the Atlanta Business League Business Hall of Fame. Completing his M.A. Ethnochoreology thesis from the Irish world Academy of Music and Dance of the University of Limerick. Recently commissioned by the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Arts & Culture to produce ‘Opposites Attract and Distract’ a multimedia dance project, and is now creating ‘Jazzing: Memoirs in Jazz’ a choreographic commission by the Bremen Museum based on the exhibit of Jewish Photographer Herb Snitzer’s lifelong collection of photos of Black Jazz legends.
Cedric Bolton

Cedric Bolton

Multidisciplinary artist, Cedric T. Bolton, is an educator, spoken word poet, entrepreneur, and music producer. He has performed in cities like Bellingham, Washington; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Toronto, Canada; Chicago, IL, and currently living in Syracuse, NY. Cedric received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University and Master’s Degree in Cultural Foundations at Syracuse University. He is the architect of Poetic Black Fusion, a poetry organization that provides access and opportunities to poets of African Ancestry living in Minneapolis, Minnesota; co-founder of Voices Merging, a student run spoken word poetry organization at the University of Minnesota that provides a social outlet for undergraduate writers—to develop, network and express themselves on stage; and co-developer of Verbal Blend, a multi-ethnic spoken word poetry program for student writers at Syracuse University. Cedric has shared the stage with the likes of The Last Poets, Jessica Care Moore, Slick Rick, Tara Betts, Willie Perdomo, Dr. Gloria L. Velasquez, Saul Williams, Dr. Crystal Leigh Endsley, Shihan Van Clief, Bao Phi, Isangmahal Arts Kollective, Nikki Giovanni, Talaam Acey, Toni Blackman, Rudy Francisco, Dr. DaMaris B. Hill, Kelly Tsai, and others.

Cedric is an adjunct instructor with Renée Crown University Honors Program and the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. He is a published poet and his poetry can be found in Stone CanoeMinnesota Spokesman RecorderMinnesota Saint Cloud Times, and the Post Standard. He has recorded two spoken-word poetry CDs, and published a chap book entitled The State of the Ghetto Address. He has mentored students, staff, faculty and community writers to be confident in their voice and writing for twenty years. His writer’s workshops are the embodiment of community, family, and the continuing presence of “One Mic, One Voice.”

He was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and was raised in Paterson, New Jersey. Cedric values and understands the importance of active community involvement and participate on few committees in the greater-Syracuse community.

Garth Fagan Headshot

Garth Fagan Continued

Garth Fagan was selected as an “Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by The Dance Heritage Coalition, An irreplaceable dance treasure has made a significant impact on dance as an art form, demonstrated artistic excellence, enriched the nations cultural heritage, demonstrated the potential to enhance the lives of future generations and shown itself worthy of national and international recognition. He is a Chancellor’s Award-winning Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York, and taught for over three decades at the State University of New York at Brockport. In the fall of 2003, Fagan received the George Eastman Medal from the University of Rochester for “outstanding achievement and dedicated service.” He holds honorary doctorates from the Juilliard School, the University of Rochester, Nazareth College of Rochester, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Golden Plate Award and was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. In 1996 he was named a Fulbright 50th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow. Fagan received the 2001 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a prestigious three year choreography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In recognition of his contribution to modern dance, Fagan has received the Dance Magazine Award for “significant contributions to dance during a distinguished career” and a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement. Other awards include the Monarch Award from the National Council for Culture and Art, the Lillian Fairchild Award, and the Arts Achievement Award from his alma mater, Wayne State University.