Vision and Lineage
Wideman Davis Dance is deeply committed to engaging communities with social and political issues through an African American perspective. We make work that is inspired by and engaged with current issues including race, social class, gender, and location. We invite people to engage in conversation and reflection about shared humanity and liberation.
Wideman Davis Dance make dances that have the capacity to tell the truth and move the spirit, giving voice to the people who both perform and view them. We create a space for truths to be told, rupturing the silence of denial, and retelling history about the African American experience. We strive to catalyze an artistic ripple effect. Ideally, artists and audiences are motivated to tell their own truths in their own voices: they remember and discover things about themselves and their own history. Telling such truths can foster a range of reactions, from inspiration to discomfort, from inquiry to debate. In our artistic encounters, we highly value the exchange that occurs with our audiences as they respond.
We began Wideman Davis Dance in 2003. With its roots in New York, NY, the company is based in Chicago, IL and Columbia, SC. Independently, we bring prestigious careers as performers with world-renowned dance companies, and as educators and activists. The company fuses our progressive artistic vision, as realized with dancers and other artistic collaborators. In 2010, the company received 501(c)3 status.
We draw from a strong lineage of dance forms we have studied, artists with whom we have worked, and socio-historical issues that we illuminate. Through choreography and performance, we embody a range of aesthetics, including ballet and contemporary movement. We have created and performed with legendary companies and artists, including Dance Theater of Harlem, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Donald Byrd/The Group, Ballet NY, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Most influential is the lineage of ideas, history, and social structures that inspire our work and influence the world in which we—and our audiences—live.
We have received recognition for our vision and accomplishments. In addition to individual credits for both Tanya and Thaddeus, our collaborative awards include the Southern Power Award (2021), National Endowment for the Arts – Artworks Grant (2020), Central Carolina Community Foundation Grant (2020), APAP Access Award (2020), South Arts: Momentum Grant (2019), Alternate Roots: Project Development, Artist Assistance Grant (2019), New England Foundation for the Arts – National Dance Project Production Grant (2018), Map Fund Grant (2013), Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2011), University of South Carolina Arts Institute, Interdisciplinary Reading/Dance Collaboration for Balance: Homelessness Project (2009), and Canvas: The Master Class (2010).
Viewing education as essential, Wideman Davis Dance connects with communities of all ages through residencies that are centered on social and political issues, and the ways in which those issues play out in today’s world. In designing residencies we create environments for participants that cultivate their potential and empower them to change. Our company works in an egalitarian way, in collaboration with artists, scholars, and students, implicitly shifting the traditional company model and leveling the hierarchical structures that typically exist within the arts field and its pedagogy.
Above: Migratuse Ataraxia at Hampton Preston Mansion, Columbia, SC. Photo by Sean Rayford. Artists: Petra Everson, Thaddeus Davis, Tanya Wideman-Davis, and Michaela Pilar Brown. I hoch X in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Photo by Thomas Brenner. Artist: Tanya Wideman-Davis. Migratuse Ataraxia at Klein Arts and Culture, Harpersville, AL. Photo by Elizabeth Johnson. Artist: Thaddeus Davis. Past Works: credits here.