Choreographer and dancer Jeremy McQueen is thrilled with what's happening in the dance world, with more opportunities than ever for performers of color, perhaps most famously, Misty Copeland making history as the first African American prima ballerina of the American Ballet Theater. But it's not enough.
"We have to tell stories that are going to engage a contemporary audience," McQueen says.
McQueen says in addition to dancers of color, he wants stories of the African American experience to be told through new ballets. So he's created the Black Iris Project: a ballet collaborative.
"We have composers, we have black scenic designers, costume designers all coming together to create these new stories and also go into the community and do education and outreach,” he says.
And you can check out the Black Iris project in Central Park as part of SummerStage.
McQueen originally created the Black Iris Ballet for the Joffrey Ballet Choreographers of Color Award. Interestingly, he and his company will perform this piece at SummerStage as part of a double bill that also includes a screening of the film "A Ballerina’s Tale" about Copeland.
"I think it’s also important for us to create new stories that can live on for hundreds of years that people can go back and look at and refer to and say, 'This is what it was like to live in the 21st century,'" McQueen says.
The two part event is June 29th in Central Park. Admission is free.