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BPAC to Host Southern Ballet Company

Collage Dance Conservatory for youth was established with the mission of making outstanding ballet instruction more widely accessible.

CLEVELAND, Miss. — On Thursday, October 5, the Bologna Performing Arts Center will host Collage Dance Collective for a school-time matinee at 11am and a mainstage performance at 7:30 p.m. Recently named a “Southern Cultural Treasure” by South Arts and the Ford Foundation, Collage Dance is the largest Black-led performing arts organization in the South and one of a few professional ballet companies in the world with a roster of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) dancers.

Founded in New York City in 2006 and committed to inspiring the growth and diversity of ballet, Collage Dance received rave reviews for its 2007 national debut at the Lyric Opera House in Kansas City, Missouri. The company relocated to Memphis in 2007 to take part in the city’s exciting artistic renaissance.

Cade Holder, Director of Marketing and Patron Services at the BPAC said, “Ballet and modern dance performances boost our cultural offerings and underscore the importance of diversity in our programming.”

In 2009, the Collage Dance Conservatory for youth was established with the mission of making outstanding ballet instruction more widely accessible. Collage’s co-founders believe Memphis is the perfect home to develop young dancers due to the city’s depth of talent and strong commitment to the art. The Conservatory’s unified curriculum coupled with a rigorous culture of excellence, hard work and high standards, provides students with a first-rate experience. Students at Collage are challenged, nurtured and prepared for the rigors of a professional career on or off the stage. The Conservatory, now training 450 students on-site each week, welcomes students of all backgrounds and is proactive in its efforts to engage students of color in an effort to address the racial inequity in classical ballet.

Collage Dance Collective, the organization’s professional touring company, showcases a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of the communities they serve. The professional company has presented thirteen full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring presenting a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography from George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Nacho Duato, Ulysses Dove, Durante Verzola and more.

The evening’s dynamic program of mixed repertory includes the world premiere of Princess Grace award winner Joshua Manculich’s Trust Me, an intimate duet set to the haunting music of Mercedes Sosa which queries the very meaning of trust. The program also includes Kevin Iega Jeff’s modern masterwork Dawn, Francisco Aviña’s chilling contemporary ballet Letting Go To Let In and Amy Hall Garner’s jubilant Bluff City Blues, set to the brilliant music of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Koko Taylor and drawing inspiration from Collage Dance’s hometown of Memphis.

One of the largest 50 ballet companies in the U.S., Collage’s trademark style of balancing innovation and tradition has fueled its ascent and captured the hearts of its growing family of supporters. “Ballet made utterly, gorgeously human” (High Ground News).

This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission. Delta area dance schools are encouraged to call 662-846-4625 to inquire about discounted tickets for dance students and group rates for chaperones.

Holder said, “Grant funders like the NEA, Mississippi Arts Commission, and South Arts help make these captivating artistic showcases possible for our community. We’re especially excited about the impact their outreach sessions will have on local groups.”

Tickets to Collage Dance Collective are on sale now at or at the BPAC Ticket Office at 662.846.4626. The BPAC Fall 2023 Series is made possible by support from the following Premier Sponsors: Cannon Motors, Needle Specialty Products, Robinson Electric Company, and Wade, Inc.; Executive Sponsors Bolivar Medical Center, Gainspoletti Financial, Guaranty Bank, Planters Bank, and Quality Steel; and VIP Sponsors Agriworld, Inc., BankPlus, Bayer, Cleveland State Bank, Cotton House, Entergy, Renasant Bank, and Visit Cleveland.

For more information about Collage Dance Collective and venue features, please visit or contact the ticket office at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.