1. It’s been a part of IU since 1974.
The African American Dance Company (AADC) was the second ensemble to be founded within the African American Arts Institute (the IU Soul Revue was founded first in 1971). The Institute was Dr. Herman C. Hudson‘s vision to preserve and promote African American culture through performance, creative activity, education, research, and outreach.
2. The company performed in Jamaica last year.
Director Iris Rosa and eight AADC students traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, in October 2015 to perform at the Edna Manley College Rex Nettleford Conference.
During the five-day trip, the students attended presentations by artists and academicians from all over the U.S. and Caribbean, performed and led a Q&A with conference attendees, and collaborated with Jamaican artists. They even visited the Bob Marley museum—because Jamaica.
3. Professor Rosa is the only director—for more than four decades.
Iris Rosa planned to leave Bloomington after graduating from IU and begin a career back home in East Chicago. But Dr. Hudson tasked her with an incredible mission. To establish the then “Afro-American Dance Company.”
Fast forward 42 years. Now Full Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, in addition to director of AADC, Rosa has made her place not only at IU Bloomington, but also in history.
She’s impacted thousands of lives and graduated hundreds of dancers. She even has her own day: April 12 is Iris Rosa Day in Bloomington, Indianapolis, and East Chicago.
Now she’s taking 15 students to Beijing. Professor Rosa is an unstoppable force!
4. It isn’t a modern company. It isn’t a jazz company. It isn’t even an African company.
The African American Dance Company is all of that and more.
The company performs dance of the African American and African diaspora—which is extremely broad and literally derives from all over the Americas and Caribbean. Director Iris Rosa fuses modern, jazz, African, and Latin American dance styles in her choreography. And she’s always finding ways to incorporate other dance forms that embody the multitude of histories of black lives, such as hip hop, break dance, and vogue.
So what does the company dance? Stories. They are storytellers. They use movement, expression, rhythm, spoken word—the whole body—to tell stories of the human condition.
5. AADC represents IU’s diversity—and not just racial diversity.
AADC dancers are students in a wide range of majors and programs at IU, from neuroscience and biology to graphic design and telecommunications.
They have diverse dance backgrounds. Some are ballerinas, others are hip hopers, and some had never taken a formal dance class before joining the company.
They’re undergrads and graduate students—from freshmen to Ph.D. candidates. One dancer is actually IU staff, and she’s been a member for more than 10 years.
They come from different cities, states, and countries.
The African American Dance Company brings together people from all walks of life who share a desire to learn about the world and tell stories through dance.
Okay, you deserve a bonus!
6. Auditions are on January 10, and anyone can try out.
African American Dance Company spring 2017 auditions will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center A217.