History of Black History Shows and Eleone Dance Theatre
In the mid-1990s, a historical journey through dance highlighting the emergence of African-Americans, “From These Roots,” was conceived by Eleone Co-Director and Virginia Artist in Education Residency Roster Artist, Dr. Sheila A. Ward.
In keeping with this theme, Eleone uses Black History Month to present a multi-media journey through dance highlighting historical and relevant themes that chronicles that Black Experience in America. This year’s theme highlights the arrival of the first documented Africans in what would become America in 1619 up to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
This History of From These Roots
From These Roots is about the emergence of African-Americans as told through dance, spoken text and visual images. Although dance is a major feature of the show, it is not about the history of Black Dance in America. The dancing is used to embody the peculiarities of the African-American experience. In addition to dance, From These Roots features the works of visual artists such as Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Catlett and James VanDerZee while addressing social issues. The performance includes a post show discussion. This exciting educational and entertaining performance features choreography by Dr. Glendola Yhema Mills, Parris Mann, Sheila A. Ward and Wayne St. David.
From These Roots is inspired by Dr. Sheila Ward’s dance research and residency activities called “From Africa to Hip-Hop,” which she has presented to hundreds of school students. Dr. Ward conducted the research, selected and created the text and staged the show. Alison M. Ward, Artist Educator, selected visual images reflecting the various historical moods and themes. Shawn-Lamere Willilams, Artistic Director of Eleone Dance Theatre, is the director of dance for the show. This show is great for classes in music, dance, art, English, history and social studies.