Largest Black-led ballet institution in the South will soon open in Memphis

Updated: Sep. 11, 2020 at 7:12 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - COVID-19 has paused a lot of projects and construction but it’s not stopping a new ballet facility that will open in the Binghampton area.

By next month, on the corner of Broad Avenue and Tillman Street, you’ll see a new state-of-the-art ballet facility.

“Right now we’re creating the new home of Collage Dance Collective,” said Kevin Thomas, Co-founder Collage Dance Collective.

Co-founders of Collage Dance Collective say once they open the new facility it will be the largest Black-led ballet institution in the South.

They currently have a facility on Broad Avenue. Co-founders Kevin Thomas and Marcellus Harper say the new space will be 10 times bigger and put them one larger spectrum.

“Will allow us to really just build on the momentum that we already have making us probably the one of the largest Black-led dance centers in the South,” said Harper.

Thomas and Harper began the program 10 years ago and say having an organization that is inclusive for everyone is a narrative they’ve been working towards.

“There is such a lack of diversity in ballet, there are so few particularly African-American young people that are training in the art form and because of that we see very few professional African-American ballet dancers,” said Harper.

The new facility will allow a capacity of 500 students, which is double the amount they can do at their current location.

Thomas says COVID-19 has brought a few setbacks, but says enrollment is doing great.

“It really hasn’t slowed us down, we were actually quite shocked at that, but due to COVID our class sizes cannot exceed a certain limit,” said Thomas.

Funds to build the new facility are coming from a $11 million campaign, they’ve already raised $9 million and hope the community can help close the $2 million gap.

If you would like to contribute, more information can be found on their website Collage Dance Collective.

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