We Dance

Mississippi Museum of Art | 308 S Lamar Street, Jackson, MS

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From the world-renowned Wideman Davis Dance company and award-winning filmmakers Ethan Payne and Brian Foster, We Dance is a love story and a migration story, originally commissioned by Mississippi’s own Southern Foodways Alliance. In this special event to celebrate A Movement in Every Direction, professional dancers Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis share the film and performance, followed by a conversation. 

Tanya Wideman-Davis is the codirector of Wideman Davis Dance and is on faculty as an associate professor at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies. With an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she completed her Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF (2012). Tanya has danced with many world-renowned companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Joffrey Ballet, Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Ballet NY, and as guest artist with Ballet Memphis, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and Quorum Ballet Amadora, Portugal. Wideman-Davis has received multiple honors and grants for her work including: 2021 South Carolina Arts Commission Fellow, 2021 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant, 2019 South Arts Momentum Grant, 2019 Alternate Roots Artistic Assistance: Project Development Grant, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Grant, 2017 University of South Carolina Provost Grant, 2013 Map Fund Grant, and Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2011). She has received international acclaim as Best Female Dancer of 2001-2002 by Dance Europe magazine. Tanya’s academic, choreographic research and lectures examine race, gender, femininity, identity, and location. She has recently contributed a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet titled “Dance Theatre of Harlem: Radical Black Female Bodies in Ballet.”  

Thaddeus Davis is the coartistic director of Wideman/Davis Dance and associate professor in the Departments of Theatre and Dance and of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. Through the lens of the African American Experience, he questions notions of spaces and environments that affect the interaction of gender, class, race, technology, and media’s ability to shape our perceptions. His research findings are exhibited in the creation of original dance works, films and essays. Davis has received multiple honors and grants for his work including: 2018 National Dance Project Grant, 2017 Provost Grant to support the creations of a research team for the development of Migratuse Ataraxia, 2013 Map Fund Grant to support the research and development of Ruptured Silence: Racist Signs and Symbol, Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2011), University of South Carolina Arts Institute, Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Reading/Dance Collaboration. Balance: Homelessness Project (2009), Canvas: The Master Class (2010), Cultural Envoy to Portugal, U.S. Department of State.  

As a Fellow of the 2016 South Carolina Collaboration on Race and Reconciliation, Davis is committed to being an active participant in South Carolina’s efforts to improve community relations and support conversations on race and reconciliation.  

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