The Leopard Tale eloquently fuses classical ballet, jazz, modern and African dance into a high energy, action filled, and powerful performance, Choreographed by Waverly T. Lucas, II. The audience will experience dancing sur la pointe work (on the toes), athletic jumps and turns, and partnering. As the dancers are transformed into animals of the jungle through makeup, and costumes.
The audience share the leopard’s journey, as it details the leopard interacting with his family and their plight against animal predators and prey. Excerpts from Act I showcase Ballethnic’s dance diversity as it depicts gazelles engaging in a balletic romp; zebras in a jazzy combination; cagey lions on a stomping prowl; and “spasmodic” snakes all danced to original music by L. Gerard Reid. Students will experience the survival of the leopard as it travels through the African jungle, the rain forest and ultimately into a village. The audience will also learn choreography, vocabulary and facts about the ballet, the animals and the environment as each space is transformed into a jungle.
Program available for grades: k-12 and is 45-60 minutes in length. Audience participation throughout the program and Q& A.
Ballethnic Dance Company, Atlanta’s first and only African American professional ballet company and the oldest in the Southern region is a 33-year-old classically trained culturally diverse ballet company that blends traditional ballet with the artistic influences of other ethnic cultures. Co-founders Nena Gilreath, a North Carolina native and UNC School of the Arts alumni, and her husband Waverly Lucas, are both former dancers with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Atlanta Ballet. Their artistic credits include performances at the John F. Kennedy Center in Reframing the Narrative: Ballethnic was featured nationally as one of three Black Professional ballet companies in the United States. Ballethnic Dance made its debut on the Coca-Cola stage at the critically acclaimed Alliance Theatre, presenting its signature ballet The Leopard Tale. Ballethnic Academy was hosted by Canada’s National Ballet School to attend Assemblée Internationale, an event touted as a global “Olympic caliber gathering of pre-professional dancers and artistic directors “featuring 37 leading international dance schools.
Cofounders have been honored by Dance/USA with the presentation of the Dance/USA Champion award. Ballethnic has been recognized by South Arts as a Southern Cultural Treasure for more than three decades of creating original works of exceptional artistry.
Additional performances include New York City’s Lincoln Center, Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival, the 1996 Cultural Olympiad and the Bermuda Arts Festival. Accolades include Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta Critics Pick (Best Dancer), the National Choreographers Award, The McPheeter’s Medallion Award for Community, Lexus Leaders of the Arts an the Atlanta NAACP President’s Award.