Collage Dance Collective

Southern Cultural Treasures

Collage Dance Collective

Recipient Information

Location

Memphis, Tennessee

Year of Award

2022

Grant or Fellowship

Southern Cultural Treasures

Grant Amount

$300,000

Collage Dance Collective works to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet by showcasing a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of our community.  The professional company has presented twelve full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring.

Collage Dance Collective presents a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography. In addition to Artistic Director, Kevin Thomas, the company’s repertory includes works by Nicolo Fonte, Dwight Rhoden, Kevin Iega Jeff, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Sir Frederick Ashton, Camille A. Brown, Ulysses Dove, Joshua Manculich and Amy Hall Garner.

Collage believes that participation in the arts enriches communities. In December 2020, Collage opened a 22,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility to expand its programming, training and impact. The work of Collage Dance Collective has been featured in media outlets including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, Allure, The Commercial Appeal, Vibe and Afropunk.

Leadership - Kevin Thomas and Marcellus Harper

Kevin ThomasKEVIN THOMAS (FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) began his dance training with Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal, Canada, and has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) in New York City.  He joined DTH in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1999. With DTH, Mr. Thomas' credits include leading roles in The Prodigal Son, Dialogues, The Four Temperaments, Othello, Adrian (Angel on Earth), A Song for Dead Warriors, Troy Games, Equuis and Dougla.  He has performed leading roles in numerous ballets including, The Nutcracker, Tarantella, Agon, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Don Quixote, Consort Lessons, and Aureole. Mr. Thomas has made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet in London, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and Fleming Flindt and Peter Schaufuss in Denmark. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Thomas has choreographed for Nashville Ballet, Opera Memphis, Hattiloo Repertory Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Flint Institute of Music, University of Utah, University of Memphis, and Collage Dance Collective. Mr. Thomas is a National Visiting Fellow at the School of American Ballet.

Marcellus HarperMARCELLUS HARPER (FOUNDING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR) has an expansive background in project management. He has worked as a Program Analyst for the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He was among the first seven employees of the TSA Taskforce mandated by Congress to create and develop the agency and federalize our nation’s transportation security infrastructures. Prior to his work with the TSA, Mr. Harper worked for Marriott International’s corporate marketing department, where he was directly responsible for the development and implementation of events for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Mr. Harper has worked for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Harvard University coordinating special projects to assist research and treatment work for HIV/AIDs patients in Africa. Mr. Harper was a Meyerhoff Scholar at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where he studied biology and theatre and was a double national medalist in the NAACP’s ACT-SO Program in biology and oratory. Marcellus is the 2011 recipient of the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals’ Change Artist Award in recognition of his achievements towards “positive community influence and unwavering commitment to the arts”. Marcellus holds a Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit administration and performing arts and serves on the board of the Tennessee Association of Dance.

Southern Cultural Treasures is a program of South Arts and made possible with support from the Ford Foundation.