Malpaso Dance Company in performance in New York this year.

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! This summer’s National Black Arts Festival — the 27th — wants you to talk about dance, see it, study it and do it, and is offering a range of opportunities to make that happen.

nbaflogoThis celebration of film, literary arts, music, theater, visual art and, yes, dance, begins July 11 with the annual fundraising gala, aptly titled For the Love of Dance!, at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta. Trailblazers and dance luminaries Mary Hinkson (1930-2014), Geoffrey Holder (1930-2014) and Carmen de Lavallade, now 84, and, incidentally, Holder’s wife, will be honored at this see-and-be-seen fete. Tickets start at $500.

NBAF 2015 ends Sept. 19 with a performance by the Havana-based Malpaso Dance Company, which is committed to bringing Cuban contemporary dance into the 21st century through international collaborations and by nurturing new voices in Cuban choreography. A pre-show conversation will explore the state of dance in Cuba today. This event is at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus. Tickets begin at $30, $20 for students.

Here’s a breakdown of all that’s happening, by genre.



Symposium. Dance Across the Diaspora: A Historical Lens on a Black Cultural Movement. JULY 18 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Local, national and international dance experts, scholars and performers examine the national and global impact and the history, traditions and rich variety of dance forms that have emerged since the 18th century. At the High Museum of Art. Space is limited. $75 (includes free High admission and same-day master class with Savion Glover); $20 students.


Master class with Savion Glover. JULY 18 (noon). The man who brought tap to the forefront of popular culture shares his knowledge and skills in a session designed for all ages, backgrounds and dance abilities.  High Museum. $20.

SoLe Sanctuary, a performance and conversation.  JULY 19 (6 p.m.). Tony Award winner Glover (Bring in ‘da Funk, Bring in ‘da Noise) celebrates his mentors, including Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines. At the Rialto Center for the Arts. $30; $20 students.

Step Afrika! Symphony in Step. AUG. 29 (6 p.m.). Washington, D.C.’s Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the African-derived tradition of stepping, as seen in the 2002 movie Drumline. At Center Stage on West Peachtree Street. $30 and up; $20 students.


Master class with Ronald K. Brown. SEPT. 11 (time TBA). A deep dive into the award-winning choreographer’s modern dance, which is rooted in history and the spiritual world. For all ages and abilities. Ferst Center. $20; free for registered symposium participants. Location TBA.

Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company: performance and pre-show conversation. SEPT. 13 (conversation at 5 p.m., performance at 6 p.m.). The company, in its 30th year, is known for its fusion of African dance with contemporary choreography and storytelling that combines Cuban, Caribbean, West African and modern American dance. Ferst Center. $30 and up; $20 students.

Master class with Malpaso Dance Company. SEPT. 18 (time TBA). Members of the Cuban company share their skills. For all ages and abilities. $20; free for registered symposium participants. Location TBA.

Malpaso Dance Company: Pre-performance conversation about the state of dance in Cuba today. SEPT. 19. (8 p.m.). At the Ferst Center. $30 and up; $20 students.



outsideGallery Hop 1: Intersecting Disciplines: Visual/Art/Dance. JULY 17 (6 p.m.). Participants are bused to three venues and, at each gallery, attend a private reception, viewing and tour. Includes a chance to meet the artists, socialize and see dance at each venue. The galleries: Bill Lowe Gallery (Ancestors: Origin and Return exhibition); Alan Avery Art Co. (Pursuit: Almost Drowned. New work by multidisciplinary artist Michi Meko; and ZuCot Gallery (Spectrum, featuring work by Julio Mejia and Steve Prince). $30; $25 if purchased before July 1.

Gallery Hop 2: Intersecting Disciplines: Visual/Art/Dance. SEPT. 18 (6 p.m.). Same as above, but this hop goes to the Hammonds House Museum for an exhibition by Albert Chong, and to Arnika Dawkins Gallery for Gordon Parks, American Champion. $30; $25 if purchased before Aug. 15. (Pictured: Outside Looking In, Mobile, Alabama, 1956, a pigment print that measures 16 inches by 20 inches).



Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam. JULY 18 (8-10 p.m.). See the final round of the nationwide poetry slam that began with more than 500 poets, spoken word artists and slam champions (ages 15-19) from 73 cities. The final competition is at Atlanta Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center. Find details about earlier rounds of the slam (beginning July 15) HERE. $25; $5 for youth.



stormy-weatherScreening: Stormy Weather. JULY 26 (3 p.m.). This 1943 musical features Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Bill Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers, and showcases performances and choreography by Katherine Dunham and her dancers. Discussion follows. At the Center for Civil and Human Rights downtown. Free.

Screening: School Daze. AUG. 27 (5 p.m.). Director Spike Lee’s second feature film, from 1988, is a pointed interrogation of skin-color politics at fictional Mission College. It includes a dazzling display of modern dance. Discussion follows. At the Bank of America Auditorium, Shirley Massey Leadership Building, Morehouse College. Free.

Screening: Rize. SEPT. 10 (5:30 p.m.). Director (and artist) David LaChappelle’s award-winning 2005 documentary examines South Central Los Angeles’ youth dance movement and follows the subculture of clowning and krumping. Bank of America Auditorium at Morehouse. Free.

Some NBAF tickets are on sale now, others will be on sale soon. Details HERE.


Slide-show photo: Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE in performance.