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Dance Concert to Celebrate Women, African Ancestry

February 21, 2012 Student director Jasmine Morton (C’12) says the Black Movements Dance Theatre concert Feb. 24 and 25 will celebrate the experience of black women around the globe.

“We are celebrating our ancestry and all those who have come before us to pave the way,” says Morton, a government major from West Palm Beach, Fla.

Each year, Georgetown’s Black Movements presents its spring semester dance performance in February in honor of Black History Month.

This year’s concert, called Reflections, features three pieces by professional choreographers as well as works choreographed by three students, including Morton.

Movement and Music

Alfreda Davis, the group’s artistic director, says this year’s concert is a tribute to women of African ancestry, noting their contributions, triumphs and struggles around the world.

Alfreda Davis stands with dancers at a rehearsal.

Alfreda Davis, artistic director for Black Movements, with dancers at a rehearsal.

“It’s the movement and the music that helps it all come together, but it starts with the storyline,” says Davis, who also teaches intermediate modern dance and the Black Movements performance classes at Georgetown.

Local and regional professional choreographers Katherine J. Smith, Mari A. Travis and Princess Mhoon Cooper developed works inspired by poetry, music and human rights issues.

Mutual Respect

Morton’s piece, “The Comeback,” is a mix of songs by R&B singer Mary J. Blige and includes a cast of nine dancers.

“I decided to do an homage to [Blige’s work],” says Morton, who has choreographed four pieces during her years with the company. “I feel like it speaks to women and all those who have been through love and loss or searching for redemption.”

She says it’s exciting to direct her peers.

“Everyone involved has a love for dance and a very strong level of respect for their fellow dancers,” Morton says. “So whenever a student choreographer is doing a piece, we’re excited for them and cheer one another on.”

Artistic Camaraderie

Morton says it’s Black Movements’ atmosphere of artistic camaraderie that attracted her to the dance company as a first-year student.

“When I came to Georgetown, I knew that I really wanted to be a part of a dance company and work on my craft as a dancer and artist,” says the senior, who plans to take more dance classes while attending law school.

Morton has been a dancer and choreographer with the group, but also served two years as the company’s student director, one year as assistant student director and another as business manager.

“It’s not just a dance company,” she says. “We have social initiatives, and we get to feature some of the African-American experience through dance.”

Volunteer Work

Members of the company have held canned food drives for families in need and  after-school tutoring sessions for students in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C.

“We love to be involved in not just the Georgetown community, but in the greater Washington area as well,” Morton says.

As an artistic director and faculty member, Davis says she enjoys working to help Georgetown students deliver social messages.

“I love that young vibrant students have something to say through dance,” she says.