North Carolina Dance Companies (Triangle Continued)

July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today we are going to focus on nine more dance companies from the Triangle area:  BLACK IRISH, Code f.a.d. Company, ShaLeigh Dance Works, Black Box Dance, Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre, African American Dance Ensemble, Defero Dance Collective, Footnotes Tap Ensemble, and SOULOWORKS.



BLACK IRISH is a Raleigh-based contemporary hip hop company focusing in BI’CHH (bee-chay) movement (BLACK IRISH Contemporary Hip Hop). BI’CHH is choreographically characterized by intricate movement invention, emphasis in musicality, innovation in anatomical initiation and utilization of orthogonal lines. As a contemporary company, BLACK IRISH is continuously exploring movement as well as adapting traditional genres to enhance and define this continuously evolving dance genre. BLACK IRISH has been theorized to have been the descent of both Spanish and Irish Ancestry. Their mission is to expose contemporary dance in an ever evolving world of dance and promote contemporary movement as it continues to inspire the public. They hope to elevate the ideals of all viewers and dreamers of what people think dance is, should be and can be if you aspire for greatness and scale.



Code f.a.d. Company (where f.a.d. in an acronym for film—art—dance) is a group of artists committed to combining film, visual art, and dance into precisely designed performance experiences. Artistic Director Autumn Mist Belk is a choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, and graphic designer and has previously shown her choreography and visual artwork in venues across the United States. Belk earned her B.A. in dance and studio art from the University of Alabama and her M.F.A. in dance from the University of Maryland. In addition to leading Code f.a.d. Company, Belk is on faculty at NC State University, where she teaches dance, yoga, Pilates, and other health and fitness courses.

Code f.a.d. Company’s mission is:
• to create multimedia, movement-based artwork for performance and exhibition, enriching the community and the lives of artists and audiences;
• to educate youth and the greater community in the art of dance through performances and workshops in schools, community centers, and festivals; and
• to provide professional-level dance instruction to its members and qualified community participants.

Click here to view excerpts from previous evening-length works. Company auditions for upcoming 2014-2015 season are August 3rd. Click here for more information.

ShaLeigh Dance Works


According to the website, ShaLeigh Dance Works was founded in 2005. The company emerged onto the North Carolina dance scene with a premiere of Returning at the Broach Theater in Greensboro, NC. Since then, the intimate ensemble ranging from 3 to 7 performers has toured its growing repertoire in six cities along the east coast. The company is currently based Durham, NC.

Led by choreographer and visual artist ShaLeigh Comerford, the company’s work has been described as dance theatre with a “stark and inventive” physical language by the Raleigh News & Observer. The diverse repertoire builds on an intense collaboration with the performers and often explores the personal and political landscape of violence.



Black Box Dance, based in Raleigh, NC, was formerly known as Even Exchange Dance Theater 1997-2013. After 15 wonderful, collaborative, and creative years, EEDT is transitioning to a different sort of dance company. Under the artistic direction of company member, Michelle Pearson, Even Exchange will be getting a new name, include new artists and dancers, and new partnerships. However, many aspects of EEDT’s former work will continue in the community, stage, and studio.

Black Box Dance’s mission is to celebrate dance through creating, teaching and performing works that interpret, influence and inspire those within their local and global communities.

Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre


Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre is a Durham-based contemporary dance company committed to the continued growth of dance as art. The company provides emerging and master choreographers, dancers and artists an inclusive environment for the creation, development, curation and presentation of groundbreaking, multi-genre, multi-media collaborations to worldwide audiences.

The vision of Bellan is to be a leading creative and performing arts organization that entertains and educates audiences around the world. Bellan aims to create and perform unique, dynamic, world-class creative works on stage, film and in the community. Click here to learn about Bellan’s process.

African American Dance Ensemble


African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) is an African dance company based in Durham, NC. The story of the African American Dance Ensemble begins with Chuck Davis, a native of Raleigh, N.C., whose path from Raleigh’s all black Ligon High School through Howard University’s Theater and Dance Program eventually led him to New York City and the world of professional dance.

AADE’s mission is to preserve and share the finest traditions of African and African American Dance and Music through research, education, performance and entertainment; to focus on the health and education of our community. Their purpose is to help the youth become more active through dance and the arts. With their motto: “Peace, Love, Respect for Everybody” the Ensemble celebrates traditional African culture, aesthetics and values to encourage cross-cultural dialogue, cooperation and understanding.

The African American Dance Ensemble offers a variety of programs for special Events! – National and International touring, Corporate Retreats, Seminars, Concerts, Workshops and Residencies for Charter and Public Schools and all grades from K-12, as well as Colleges and Universities. They are currently in the NCAC Artist Directory, United Arts of Wake County Directory, Cumberland County Directory and CAPS in Durham, NC.

Defero Dance Collective


Defero Dance Collective (DD Collective) is a contemporary dance company, comprised of working dance professionals, students, scientists, teachers, accountants, and writers, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, who span locations, backgrounds, and ages. The Collective’s dancers come from strong artistic and technical backgrounds in dance, and their mission is to use this training for the good of their local community – to empathize with all the intricacies of the human experience, to affect social and relational change, to push the boundaries of dance in North Carolina and to simply entertain and celebrate movement. Defero means ‘to carry, to bear, to bring, to hand over, to communicate, and to offer.’ The Collective strives to represent whatever is good, true, and beautiful, bringing a greater understanding of the human experience to the Triangle community through movement.

DD Collective is currently partnering with Kristen Groves for the North Carolina Dance Festival on Tour. The North Carolina Dance Festival on Tour performances are in Raleigh September 20th, Boone October 24th & 25th, Greensboro November 1st, and January 24, 2015!

If you are interested in joining Defero Dance as a company member you can contact DD Collective at



Footnotes Tap Ensemble, a non-profit professional tap company, was founded by Robin Vail and Mimi Benjamin in 2002. The Ensemble’s mission is to promote, educate and perform this truly unique American dance art through annual ensemble concerts, community concerts and tap workshops.

Footnotes brings varied and highly-acclaimed repertoire, and affordable workshops to the community. Footnotes’ commissioned works include pieces from Michelle Dorrance, Josh Hilberman, Robert Perera, Dorothy Wasserman, Lane Alexander and Gene Medler, Director of the highly acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. Footnotes performs mostly in the Triangle region of North Carolina and occasionally out of state. Many of their festival and community shows are free, and we produce an annual full-length concert. Footnotes is holding auditions on August 17th at 6pm at Ballet School of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC for those that are interested! For more information contact



SOULOWORKS/Andrea E. Woods & Dancers is a modern dance company based in Durham, NC with a mission to create and perform group and solo works using dance, music, spoken word and multimedia as contemporary African American folklore. Woods is committed to performing in theaters was well as universities, community centers, schools and libraries.

The dances have a generous worldview while centralizing and affirming a positive reflection of African Diasporic culture. Woods calls her dances SOULOWORKS because they are works from the heart, works from the soul.


Along with these dance companies, there are also many independent choreographers working in the Triangle area who present their work in variety of formal and informal settings. Let us know if there are any other Triangle area companies we have forgotten to mention!

We will be wrapping up this series on blog posts with the dance companies in Wilmington, NC next week!


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