Merit School of Music Teams Up with Ballet Chicago to Pay Tribute to Black Composers

Watch the live recording of DanceVision 2020: The Music of Black Voices:

Merit School of Music is teaming up with Ballet Chicago to present DanceVision 2020: The Music of Black Voices at 7:00 pm CT on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14. This year’s performance will celebrate the impact of black artists in music and inspire today’s youth through a choreographic reflection of our era. DanceVision 2020 is the second collaboration between Merit School of Music and Ballet Chicago, two of Chicago’s premier youth arts institutions.

Join us virtually as young musicians from Merit’s esteemed Conservatory perform pieces by Florence Price, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Billy Strayhorn, Herbie Hancock, and more, while Ballet Chicago’s talented dancers debut new choreography inspired by the music.

DanceVision 2020 marks the 13th anniversary of the annual event established with the goal of bringing together young and emerging choreographers, young dancers in training, and live musical partners, producing new choreography to be performed for young audiences. The project has continued steadily since then, with past musical partners including Chicago’s distinguished Orion Ensemble, Midwest Young Artists, and now for the second consecutive year, the Merit School of Music.

Ted Seymour, Resident Choreographer for Ballet Chicago and DanceVision Project Director, shared his excitement about the deepening partnership between Ballet Chicago and Merit: “There are so many parallels between Ballet Chicago and Merit School of Music. The shared values of a classical arts education, the broad community of talented young artists that represent our city, and the teaching of extreme artistic expression through technical excellence are just a few things that make this partnership so special. The energy and support Merit has shown toward the project has grown into a deep respect between two Chicago based arts organizations. I very much look forward to being able to create many more works at Ballet Chicago with their involvement.”

DanceVision 2020 features eight choreographers from across the United States, including Julie Niekrasz, Durante Verzola, Ballet Chicago Artistic Director Dan Duell, and Ballet Chicago alumni Elyse Jost and Johnathon Hart.

About Ballet Chicago

Co-founded in 1988 by acclaimed dancer/choreographer Daniel Duell and former ballerina Patricia Blair, Ballet Chicago is an internationally recognized professional-track school of ballet dedicated to rigorous technical training in a culture that fosters personal growth. The School curriculum is based on the ballet technique established by George Balanchine, who revolutionized the art form by expanding and streamlining the fundamentals of classical ballet. Led by Mr. Duell and Ms. Blair, Ballet Chicago’s esteemed faculty provides one of the highest caliber curriculums in the nation and is known for its ability to transform dancers through highly focused guidance, correction, and validation for each student.

About Merit School of Music

For over 40 years, Merit School of Music has been dedicated to helping young people transform their lives by providing equal access to a high-quality music education, with nearly 70 percent of students benefitting from need-based financial aid and low-cost instrument rental. Merit enables motivated students, regardless of economic circumstance, to develop their talent and to use music as a springboard for achieving their full personal potential, with virtually 100 percent of our conservatory graduates going on to college.


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