23 Children Accepted Into the 2022 Relaunch of the Prestigious Dance Alive Program

A Ballerina Practicing Ballet in Front of the Mirror, Stock Photo by Gustavo Fring

Children at South Chattanooga and Shepherd Center auditioned for Dance Alive, a free two-week introductory dance program. The 22-year partnership between Ballet Tennessee and the City of Chattanooga served thousands of children before its pause in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. The program will relaunch  this July through The Pop-up Project, in collaboration with The City of Chattanooga and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

CHATTANOOGA, TN; July 1, 2022

23 children from South Chattanooga and Shepherd Community Centers have been selected for Dance Alive by an audition process. Dancers will participate in 3 hours of dance instruction and choreography in 3 genres of dance, as they prepare for a culminating performance. In addition to dance technique, the children will explore the historical and cultural themes of The Sit-in Protests, The Big Nine, and Juneteenth, with the guidance and expertise of Eli Cameron from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

Dance Alive will be held on-site at South Chattanooga and Shepherd Centers with the following dancers participating: South Chattanooga: Milaya Harmon, Kalani Hill, Unique Hubbard, Andrew Robinson, Javeon Smith, and Nyan Wera. Shepherd: Arzari Allen, Demour Allen, Ne’veah Bryant, Markia Davis, Layden Forte, Rheagan Johnson, Rhyley Johnson, McKenzie Smith, Parker Taylor, Nilah Thompson, London Thornton, and Tiara Thornton. Community Dancers: Ahliya Craig, Skyla Craig, Ja’Rya Davis, Olivia Tankersley, and Chase Zulueta.

The free performance will be on Friday, July 22 at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center at 6:00 pm, with performances by Dance Alive, Pop-up Project, and Dance Alive Alumni.

Dance Alive was founded by Barry and Anna VanCura in 1997. The relaunch is under the new direction of Jenison Eduave, Dance Alive alumni. Anna VanCura serves as artistic consultant and mentor for the program.


Jules Downum, Co-founder and Director

Jenison Eduave, Outreach/Education Director

The Pop-up Project