Indiana Black Expo hosted the first day of the Dance Heritage Festival Wednesday, teaching classes in dance hall, hip hop, heels, and jazz.
Indianapolis-based nonprofit Movin’ Legacy organzied the festival featuring choreographers such as Ashley Everett, Chonique Sneed, Jonté Moaning, JR Taylor, Kara Jenelle, Tasha B, Tamara Ammons-Jones, Jarrett Weathers and TJ Monroe. Some have worked with the likes of Beyoncé, Usher, Jennifer Lopez and more.
Movin’ Legacy CEO and founder Jeffery Page says festivals like this give a way to celebrate community and provide local talent the environment needed for growth.
"The community needs a story to hold on to and I believe that dance is that story," Page says. "I believe that dance helps to illuminate the story of a culture and of a culture that is typically silenced or understood or not understood. It's important for us to become a little bit closer to the arts and to dance and things like that. So, this festival is here to help young people understand what that means, but also to help the artists speak to each other and start to provoke and think of different ideas."
A little over a dozen dancers across Indianapolis came to today's heels class taught by Tasha B.
Twenty-two year old, and dancer of 10 years, Shakara Strayhorn says experiences like this give people the opportunity to express themselves and follow their dreams.
“It’s important for our culture to still be you and don’t have anybody tell you to be you because only you can be that," Strayhorn says. "You can change that narrative of somebody telling you ‘Oh, do that.’ No. You can do that.”
The festival’s dance classes will continue everyday through Saturday.