A new generation of Atlanta artists takes center stage

What characterizes dance in Atlanta?

Full Radius Dance
(L-R) Tara Lee, Danielle Deadwyler, and T. Lang

Photographs by Mike Colletta

“It’s fun being one of the founding members of a new company. It’s a whole new world of learning different skill sets. Dance has the ability to express certain things that no other medium can. There’s something inherent and primal. My whole life will be dancing because that’s what I do. It’s not because I ever thought of it as a vocation or a job—my relationship with it has been a lot more profound than that.” –Tara Lee, co-founder and dancer at Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, former Atlanta Ballet Company dancer

“Dance is my first artistic language. The ability to close your eyes and just move creates a synchronicity with yourself and the energy that’s around you. My [style] is very much Southern because I’m honed by Southern people, Southern women, and Southern dancers. My performance explores motherhood, particularly black womanhood and what it means to be domestic, what it means to be sexual. I try to take frameworks of what that black body does in real life and funnel that into an endurant kind of movement.” –Danielle Deadwyler, actress, dancer, performance artist, poet, and filmmaker

“Dance is a storytelling practice, where I can see what’s happening in society, speak on it, and give it my perspective. It’s tying in facts—and a little bit of fiction and fantasy—to create these worlds that put a lens on what’s happening in society and our culture. What’s unique about Atlanta’s dance scene is that it’s not overly saturated, which allows artists like myself to take risks. I’m able to be free as an artist here.” –T. Lang, artistic director and choreographer at T. Lang Dance, and Dance Performance & Choreography department founding chair at Spelman College

Atlanta dance groups to know

  1. Full Radius Dance celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The modern dance troupe focuses on giving able-bodied and differently abled people an outlet to express themselves through choreographed performances, apprenticeships, intensives, and residencies. fullradiusdance.org
  2. Atlanta Ballet’s 2017-2018 season is the first entirely programmed by new artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. In August the company launched Atlanta Ballet 2. The 14-member training ensemble, comprised of emerging dancers, aims to strengthen ties between the Atlanta Ballet and the Centre for Dance Education. Their next performance is Bruce Wells’ Beauty & the Beast, February 8 to 11 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. atlantaballet.com
  3. In the years since its inception in 2009, collaborative modern dance conglomerate gloATL has continued to make a name for itself in the city through immersive dance shows, public art displays, and pop-up performances. gloatl.org
  4. Experimental dance organization The Lucky Penny has quickly become invaluable to the local art community thanks to its daring, often site-specific works and an innovative spirit perhaps best expressed in the Work Room, the organization’s East Point space that offers opportunities for practice, education, and performance. “The local dance community is small, but it’s very fertile ground,” says co-­director and co-founder Blake Beckham. “One of the reasons that I work so collaboratively is to make sure that the artwork reflects many different points of view.” theluckypenny.org. —Caroline Cox