Hinton Battle gives back to D.C. community
Hinton Battle gives back to D.C. community

Tony Award Winner Presents ‘Soul-Dance & BBQ’

D.C. native Hinton Battle has made his mark on Broadway with credits that include leading roles in “The Wiz,” “Miss Saigon,” “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls” and “The Tap Kid.”

Now, the three-time Tony Award winner, who attributes his successful career to always maintaining a serious work ethic, will sponsor a daylong event on Saturday, Oct. 17, in association with nationally-respected choreographer Sonia Dawkins, that will offer dance, food and fun for all.

“Soul-Dance & BBQ” kicks off at 2:30 p.m. in Brookland’s Edgewood Arts Center (3415 8th Street, Northeast) with delectable treats and dance instruction provided by master teachers in forms that include hip-hop, tap, ballet, jazz, African and modern.

“There is a class on our schedule for any age group and skill level,” Battle said. “I wanted to make dance accessible to everyone and I’m thrilled about my line-up of the best dance teachers from across the country coming to Washington, D.C. to share their expertise.”

It’s the first time that Battle has undertaken such a venture here in the District but he said that he’s already gotten calls from people in other cities who love the concept and want him to bring similar events to their citizens.

“The idea was to have an end of the summer celebration for the dance community and District residents. I wanted people to have a lot of fun and I wanted to make sure there was plenty of barbecue. Adding dance was something that came later but everyone I called said they wanted to share their talents – they were all willing to join the team,” he said.

Featured master teachers will include: Jeffrey Page, Afro; Anthony Burrell, contemporary; Sandra Fortune-Green, ballet; Chloe Arnold, tap; Shawn Cosby, hip-hop; and Aria Scott, African.

Artists, choreographers, dancers, dance-makers, dance organizations and institutions and lovers of dance in all proficiencies and levels are invited to take dance classes.

Battle, who moved to New York City at the age of 13 to study dance, said he continues to encourage more Black youth to consider it as a career.

“I had been studying dance for four years when I left D.C. to attend the School of American Ballet in New York City,” he said. “It was healthy competition and every young person there was extremely focused. We were all quite young – the oldest student was just 16.”

“I was fortunate to be identified as a youth with great ability. And I loved every minute of it. I tell young people that if I could do it, they can too,” he added.

Battle, who began his career on stage at the age of 15 as the Scarecrow in the hit Broadway production of “The Wiz,” has several current projects on his plate of which he said he’s quite proud.

“We’re putting together a new show to take back to Broadway in 2016 and it’s pretty time consuming,” he said. “I’m doing the choreography, directing and working on the musical arrangements. And I’m opening two dance schools in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan.”

“I’ve got a lot of good ideas. I love dance. And I want to share that joy with young people, here in my hometown of D.C., around the country and across the globe,” he said.

For ticket info for the “Soul-Dance & BBQ” event, which runs from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m., go to www.souldancebbq.com or call 202-345-6887.

For ticket info for the “Soul-Dance & BBQ” event, which runs from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m., go to www.souldancebbq.com or call 202-345-6887.

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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