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Honoring Black History Month


Three encore presentations about the Black experience in America

About the Series

About the Series

In honor of Black History Month, New York City Center proudly presents encore performances of three commissions from dynamic artists who use their work to explore the experience of being Black in America. Each of these works premiered in October 2020 during New York City Center’s first digital Fall for Dance Festival filmed live on stage and will be accessible to all for free during the month of February here and on City Center’s YouTube channel.

With a range of styles that link the past and present, these artists command the stage with powerful movements that tell personal stories of joy, struggle, and triumph. The thought-provoking pieces include to be seen, choreographed by founding Artistic Director of A.I.M Kyle Abraham, performed by American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Calvin Royal III; Lady Swings the Blues, conceived, created, and performed by world-renowned tap dancer Dormeshia; and Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God) from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts.

Throughout Black History Month and beyond, we invite you to discover the causes and organizations serving the African American community that are championed by these inspired artists.

Kyle Abraham, Award-winning choreographer and founding artistic director of A.I.M
to be seen
Featuring American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Calvin Royal III

Black History Month brings hope and remembrance to so many who’ve felt unseen or unheard for so long. It’s a commemorating acknowledgement that honors our strides and successes. Moreover, it is an inspiring envisioning of a future where our contributions and our worth extend well beyond the 28 days of the month of February.
Kyle Abraham


Mr. Royal, in his flowing white top and pants by Karen Young, glowed like a god…his long, loose arms and elegance of line have a spellbinding grace.
The New York Times


Kyle Abraham encourages you to learn more about these causes and organizations:

  • BBF Family Services—enriching and improving the quality of life for underprivileged youth and their families
  • Black Liberation Collective—transforming institutions of higher education through unity, coalition building, direct action, and political education
  • Campaign Zero—utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the US
  • The Kingsley Association—inspiring and promoting Larimer community (Pittsburgh) growth as a physical anchor, program provider, and thought leader in the community
  • Know Your Rights Camp—provides resources for Black/Brown communities, including hiring defense attorneys for anyone arrested protesting police brutality
  • Minnesota Freedom Fund—community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality; one of the most prominent bail funds, providing relief to protesters in Minneapolis seeking justice for George Floyd

to be seen
Choreography by Kyle Abraham in collaboration with Calvin Royal III and Taylor Stanley
Music: Boléro by Maurice Ravel, from Ravel: Bolero / Daphnis Et Chloë. London Symphony Orchestra. Classical © 1995 Arts Music GMBH
Featuring Calvin Royal III of American Ballet Theatre
World Premiere City Center Commission: October 26, 2020

Dormeshia, Award-winning tap dancer, choreographer, and educator
Lady Swings the Blues

Black History Month is not just a time to remember and pay homage to our history. It should also remind us of the work that lies ahead. We look back so that we know how to move forward effectively, with humility, strength, grace, and spirit.


Dormeshia encourages you to learn more about these causes and organizations:

Conceived, created, and performed by acclaimed tap dancer Dormeshia, Lady Swings the Blues embraces the glorious interplay between genres of music birthed by Black culture. This work honors the generations of Black women whose essential contributions to the art form of tap dance have largely remained under the radar.

Lady Swings the Blues
Conception and Improvography by Dormeshia
Musical Arrangements by Dormeshia in collaboration with Noah Garabedian (bass), Winard Harper (drums), and Gabriel Roxbury (djembe)
Accompanied by Noah GarabedianWinard Harper, and Gabriel Roxbury
World Premiere City Center Commission: October 26, 2020

Jamar Roberts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Resident Choreographer
Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God)

This work is a meditation on the duality of what it is to be Black in this country. To move through the world as somewhat of a warrior, always fighting for equality, justice, and peace. Yet at the heart of the fight is the omnipotent hope, faith, and love of a God.
Jamar Roberts


Jamar Roberts encourages you to learn more about these causes and organizations:

  • Black Lives Matter—global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities
  • The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation—eradicating the stigma around mental health issues in the African American community
  • Ethel’s Club—celebrating people of color through conversation, wellness, and creativity

Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God)
Choreography by Jamar Roberts
Music: “Black Is” by The Last Poets; “The Drum Thing” by John Coltrane, recorded by Johnathan Blake, Dezron Douglas, and Jaleel Shaw; and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Nina Simone
World Premiere City Center Commission: October 21, 2020

These works were commissioned by New York City Center for the Fall for Dance Festival.

2020 Fall for Dance Festival produced by New York City Center and Nel Shelby Productions in association with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.

The Artists

Production Photos



Bloomberg Philanthropies

Jody and John Arnhold

Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation


2020 Fall for Dance Festival photos by Christopher Duggan Photography