Our Vision and Lineage  

 

 

Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis, Artistic Directors

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 by a group of 10 dancers and other artistic collaborators.

Wideman/Davis Dance is deeply committed to revealing 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.

Viewing education as essential, Wideman/Davis Dance connects with communities of all ages through residencies and by increasing their awareness of these 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.

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. Together, we create a space for truths to be told, rupturing the silence of denial, and retelling history about the African American experience. Through our work, we catalyze an artistic ripple effect: our dances—and this shared history—resonate emotionally within the artists who perform it and ultimately within the audiences who view it. Ideally, artists and audiences are motivated to tell their own truths in their own voices: they remember and discover things about themselves and about 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 draw from a strong lineage of dance forms we have studied, artists with whom we have worked, and socio-historical issues that we illuminate. Though both 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, 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.

 

 
  Our vision and accomplishments have received recognition. In addition individual credits for both Tanya and Thaddeus, our collaborative awards include the 2013 Map Fund Grant, 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).