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Ballet Afrique Stages a Mixed Repertory of Works on March 12th and 13th

    Austin's Ballet Afrique Contemporary Dance will stage Move! - a mixed repertory of four new pieces in Ballet Afrique's current repertory, as well as three audience favorites - at Salvage Vanguard Theater.  Performances are slated for March 12th and 13th at 8 p.m.
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     Ballet Afrique uses dance to "build a greater understanding of - and appreciation - for the cultures and experiences of the African Diaspora," said founding executive director China Smith.  Sensing a void in East Austin's arts community, and being an East Austin native, Smith said she wanted the opportunity to give back to her community, expose children to the arts, and give students the tools they need to succeed in life.
     From that vision grew the Ballet Afrique Dance Academy and Center, which holds a dance academy, a professional dance company, a youth dance ensemble, and community dance classes. Smith said the center is a place where students can dance and learn about their history and culture through the arts.
    As the first all-black, all-natural professional dance company in Austin, Ballet Afrique's aesthetic is heavily influenced by Afrikan movement, to visually link the music - including folk, classical jazz, blues, Caribbean, or Afro-Latin - to its African ancestry.  Smith said her objective is to use superb technique and
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athleticism to communicate the "energy and grace inherent in Black cultures, as well as the cultural significance of the music."
     "Ballet Afrique prides itself on works of dance that possess both high artistic merit, as well as works bearing a readiness to connect and inspire a multitude of people from various walks of life," she said. "Ballet Afrique artistically represents an adoration and joy for movement that transcends race, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds."
     Tickets for Move! are $12 for general admission and $7 for students up to age 16.  Salvage Vanguard Theatre is located at 2803 Manor Road.  For tickets and more information, call (512) 228-7060 or visit www.BalletAfrique.org.

(Photos by Dhills, courtesy Ballet Afrique)
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