Stepping Out on A Dream
On January 19, 2013, I had the pleasure of photographing hope, justice, remembrance and love through the talent of youth. The Restoration Dance Theatre Company celebrated their Sweet Sixteen through a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Kumble Theater. Under the artistic direction of Karen Thornton-Daniels and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Youth Arts Academy (YAA) staff, the youth exemplified the meaning of “the dream” by capturing the rich history of dance through moments in King’s life. The youth told story of his journey as a preacher, activist, and even featured a beautiful depiction of the perspective of Corretta Scott King after losing her husband, all through dance.
In addition to dance, YAA acknowledged the teenage girls who have been with their program for over 10 years.
The Youth Arts Academy and their parents honored Ayanna Donovan, Quahira Symone Kibler, Nyomie Torres and Nailah Asha Walthour. Each parent was given an opportunity to speak of the child’s experience at Restoration and the important role the organization has played in their development. In a moving moment, Qahirah’s mother shared with her the importance of her beauty, not the body but the spirit and how she must maintain that beauty. Throughout the performance different members of the YAA staff expressed their pride and love for the children. Peggy Alston, Director of YAA made sure that every child received their moment to shine in the spotlight and graciously gave the microphone to alumni who spoke about how their experience at Restoration has helped shaped their college experiences and careers.
The Restoration Dance Theatre Company ended the evening with a joyous performance of Mavis Staples’, “I’ll Take You There”, which exemplifies that through our youth anything is possible.
Beauty, Hope and a World of Possibilities is alive and well through the Youth Arts Academy .
You can view additional photos of the event at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Facebook Page here.