Skip to main content

Black Dance History. Do you know this Man?

Photographed here are our Elders, the Firsts among many who have contributed to the Legacy of Dance as we know it to be today. Each in their own rite, field and area of the World.

One, person. A Male Dancer in particular is neither Photographed nor mentioned in the image above. He is one however, to be remembered at the onset of meeting him or hearing his voice.

At age 61, Rossi Turner, Dance Scholar, Educator, Performer, Choreographer, Mentor, Political Activist, Travel Expert, Trailblazer and Community Liason prepares his Nashville, Tennessee home property to be converted in to a lower unit dance studio called A.R.T.S (A Rossi Turner Studio) where he fulfill his passion in educating the youth-under high school ages in dance. Turner says, "I have the patience to teach the young ones the basics, including the history.....the stories and the messages behind the movement so that they understand what it's all about." It shows as enters any room demanding the respect, attention and consideration of those around him with his amiable Spirit, warm smile and kind heart. Each moment, becomes a learning one in his presence as his distinctive and ministerial voice poses thoughtful questions or reflections to a crowd of people.....he'd just met.

This is who a Rossi is. A friend to all, a stranger to NONE.

 

Much like Mr. Ailey, Rossi was introduced to dance on a whim invitation by friends in fellow colleagues. He was studying Political Science at the University of Tennessee when student encouraged him to attend a dance audition. Shortly after, he attended a performance the schools cultural center by the Alvin Ailey II company and from there was hooked. He'd already has a knack from athleticism and with the state allegiance to Sports that's where his like most boys interests laid. A natural talent, with a huge heart and a whit that's enough to reel in three TED Talk audiences, he found himself reciting a poem by about Harriett Tubman for a troupe of dancers at a rehearsal one day an invitation by Donna Harrison which would become the reoccurring theme for his life--serving sharing, displaying, demonstrating and defending the need for the presence of Black Social and Civil Liberties in this country through arts.

Notes + Letters from Students to Mr. Turner over the years.
Rossi transferred to the Nashville State University as a result of Political Protest and immediately began training in the least likely of places, the Public Library with a petite and taunt Graham dancer by the name of Cricket who helped hone Rossi's skills and technique on a pre-professional level. He would confide in these such teachers and mentors like throughout for years to come even as he himself would become a leader and forerunner in dance. "Art imitates Life. And Life imitates Art." Rossi believes this statement to ring true, considering the condition of the Human-being and its relationship to culture, race, heritage, lineage, music, essence, love, peace and more.... He was and still remains unafraid to reveal about the truths about ownership of the Black body and the integrity that comes with being a Black Male dancer.











Sharing History with Collage Dance Collective Dance Youth Ensemble Dancers.

Rossi went on to become the defining term for Black Excellence, studying, performing and touring with as a dancer throughout the world. He's taught dance and kinesiology at a Prep School in Vermont and at Fisk University and after attending his first IABD conference became close friends with it's Founder, Joan Meyers Brown of the Philadanco! Philadelphia Dance Company.
Turner started his own dance Troupe called the Sankofa Dance Theatre comprised of the best 3 - 5 modern dancers. He taught classes, choreographed works on his as well as for other dancers and even designed and stitched his own costumes. The company received awards and accolades for being thee highest ranking performance group in Nashville, TN. He continues to impress upon varying communities as an educator, influencer, author and even performer if the occasion calls.

He has always been both investigative and devoted to the art form, but his commitment to dance goes beyond the stage. In fact, his feet scurry across the Globe these days with his very own Travel Guide Company called RAK International LLC. Rossi invites any and all who'd like to join him in an international tour of the African country, GHANA in the year 2019. He is expected to release (3) three authored and published works on his personal travel experiences and memoirs of his career spent as a dancer.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, Work, Get Your LIFE. Street/Dance Workshop Jacob's Pillow 2020 NYC

My Life at the Pillow..." ~by JR Glover Today was a Pillow Day. As an Alumni, I traveled North to help facilitate and support the Recruitment Tour amidst other beautiful dancing bodies. It's amazing to see how we have all grown through the years as Dancers, Creatives, Choreographers, Directors and lifelong students. Even more, it's inspiring to know that we are all keeping at it--pursuing Excellence and honing our craft day by day. What was meant to be a standby experience turned out to be a Full Dance Day for me. I give thanks to my peers who encouraged me to dance. It was a risk--knowing that I had not danced or taken a technique class proper in several months. However, due to the nature of GYROKINESIS as an instructor, I never lost body awareness, posture, alignment etc. So it was just a matter of tipping over the edge again to see where my body goes....and catching it again. It was a necessary challenge in fact, with the chronic pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia and C

Day #3 L'Acado Dance Workshop - A Traveling Black Woman

No Yoga for me this Morning. Instead, I was eagerly anticipating L'Antoinette Stiles company class and workshop featuring her specialized technique: L'anTech being held at the National Performing Arts Building as part of the University of Trinidad & Tabago. I first encountered this woman as gazed at a piece of fruit to eat one early morning in Dayton, Ohio at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Association Annual Conference in Festival 2019. Typical gypsy scenario, coming from long travels in need of nourishment after thing is all said and done. She bit into an apple that rested on a table beside me, she picked it up--looked at me it that was the beginning of my admiration for a such a this deeply rich cultured person. Company Dancers showing their special finger grip Her company brought Kingston to the stage for in the U.S. with only a taste of Caribbean culture through Katherine Dunham, deemed the mother of Modern dance who brought the classic style a

The Streets of the Caribbean, A Traveling Black Woman

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” -  Ibn Battuta . Trinidad & Tobago really out did themselves with the Design and Set-up of Carifesta XIVp particularly at the Grand Stand in Queens Park. Whether you were entering through the side gates as personnel and staff or to meander through the welcome gate...there was a scenic route and display of color and culture all around. When you first enter in, you are greeted by mock flight attendants in side of the cabin of a plane, upon exiting the archway is there for picture taking with avenue signs name after the representing countries and islands. There is a vintage cobblestone Victorian town accompanied by colorful Cuban style houses with movie scene revolving lights--really making for the fun and magic of this reunion. There was much to see, do, taste and experience. The marketplace carried dishes from Haiti, Guyana, Guadelope and more, taking locals on a sensory trip off shores and pulling