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11 Year Old Twins Receive Scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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Eleven-year-old Canadian twins Nia and Imani Lindsay are making a name for themselves in the ballet world. They were awarded scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre’s annual “Young Dancers Summer Workshop” in the summer of 2014 (they were 10 years old at the time). According to ABT’s  website, the workshop “provides an opportunity for serious young dancers, ages 9-11 and 12 year-olds at the beginning pointe level, to actively flourish in a professional, yet nurturing environment. The outstanding faculty members of ABT will provide unparalleled instruction, while remaining sensitive to the developmental needs of younger dancers.” Not only do they continue to develop their skills and talent with some of the best, they are making their students well-rounded, educated ballerinas by offering sessions in nutrition, ballet terminology, dance history, classroom and rehearsal etiquette, and injury prevention.

During an interview with Urban Bush Babies, the young ladies showed off how insightful they are at their young age. They discussed being awarded a scholarship, what it means to work hard, and one of their idols Misty Copeland. saying “I went to meet her,” said Nia. “She was really nice. She’s humble, a good dancer, and not cocky.” “And she’s a good influence,” Imani chimed in. “She’s not like Miley Cyrus at all.”

In a time when Black youth are rising in the arts and their voices are more prevalent in the fight for justice, Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love Of All” is quite true: the children are the future. These two young ladies are proof of that, continuing to break the mold and exist in spaces that traditionally aren’t “for us.” It’s a good reminder to see when the youth do something positive and groundbreaking. It’s our responsibility to lift them up and to encourage them to never give up on their dreams. This one is for you Nia and Imani. Broadway Black always has your back.

Check the talented duo in a video below! For more, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel here!

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Broadway Black Kids

Okieriete Onaodowan to Host 3rd Annual Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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Before picking up the accordion for his upcoming run in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan, from the original cast of Hamilton, will host the third annual Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival for New York City Public Schools.

On Monday, March 13th at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street) at 7 p.m, more than 100 students from five New York City high schools across the city make their Broadway debuts performing from their selected winter musicals or plays.

Additional guest artist presenters include Shoba Narayan, Nicholas Belton, and Paul Pinto of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, with cast members from Dear Evan Hansen.

A panel of professional theatre artists and theatre educators selected a total of five productions from a pool of 25 schools. Students from the chosen schools will present excerpted scenes and musical numbers from:

The Music Man: Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (Queens)
Almost, Maine: Brooklyn High School of the Arts (Brooklyn)
Company: Susan E. Wagner High School (Staten Island)
Angels In America: Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts (Manhattan)
Into The Woods: Edward R. Murrow High School (Brooklyn)

School principals and teachers, along with student family members, will attend to support their young performers representing four of the five boroughs, along with Philip J. Smith, Chairman of The Shubert Organization and Robert E. Wankel, President of The Shubert Organization.

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña states:

“Theatre instruction teaches students the importance of rehearsing while building self-confidence and strengthening public speaking skills. These are critical skills that prepare students for college, careers and beyond. That’s why I’m so pleased that we continue to expand access to theatre programs and arts education across the City. In particular, we are committed to leveraging the incredible connections we have to New York City’s rich cultural resources and developing meaningful arts partnerships with organisations like Shubert.”

According to the press release:

“The High School Theatre Festival showcases the ongoing and excellent theatre work currently taking place in NYC public high schools, as well as highlighting the positive effects of theatre study on skills for the stage and in life: collaboration, artistry, discipline, focus, literacy, student voice, self-awareness, presence, active listening and empathy.”

Peter Avery, the Festival’s producer and the Director of Theater for the NYC Department of Education, further expressed the importance of the festival, and the impact it might have:

“How inspiring for our student performers to have such unique support for their Broadway debut of their show excerpts, from a professional tech crew and pit musicians to the broader embrace of the theatre community. Given today’s discourse, it is all the more crucial to celebrate the next generation of diverse, talented artists in our NYC public schools. These young men and women, representing a myriad of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, expand the definition of casting and collaborate to produce meaningful theatre for others.”

Sponsored by The Shubert Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), the festival focuses on the impact a full theatre program might have on students and school communities, and further enables them to see theatre and the arts as a potential career path. Since 2005, The Shubert Foundation has provided more than $4.3 million to the New York City Department of Education for Theatre/Arts programs.

For more information, visit Shubert Foundation.

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Broadway Black Kids

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Visits The Color Purple

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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Even though we’re out on summer vacation, the proud teacher in me never takes a break. Case in point, last night The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit paid The Color Purple a visit and didn’t go out quietly. After curtain call the group of extremely talented youngsters SANG for the cast and BABY THOSE HARMONIES!

Thank God for social media, cast member Danielle Brooks reordered the lovely thank you message and tweeted:

 

Cynthia Erivo and Heather Headley also offered their gratitude via social media last night as well;

What the Mosaic Youth Theatre is doing is such fulfilling and necessary work, them bringing all those kids out to Broadway makes me want to melt. Danielle Brooks summed it up perfectly in her Instagram post:

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