Black Girls Dance Premieres ‘Mary’

 Black Girls Dance Premieres ‘Mary’

Black Girls Dance®, which empowers young women of color to pursue professional dance, presents the world premiere of “Mary,” a holiday “dansical” choreographed, written, and directed by Founder Erin Barnett. The performance takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago.

“Mary” is a modern twist on the traditional Black Nativity told through ballet, hip hop, tap, and contemporary dance. The first act focuses on the struggles of a typical teenage girl searching
for her purpose in life. She is visited by an angel (ballerina) and learns she will conceive and bring forth a child who will be the Savior. Mary turns to her mother and close circle of friends for
support, similar to today’s teenagers. The second half includes Christmas songs such as “Mary, Did You Know’” and holiday favorites like “Joy to the World.”

The cast of 20 dancer-actors includes Chicago Academy for the Arts senior Arayah Lyte as Mary; Academy alumnus and second-year Juilliard student Isaiah Day as Joseph; dancers from Chicago Contemporary Dance Theatre, Konquer Dance Company (Orland Park, Ill.) and Asia’s Dance Factory (Gary, Ind.); and Black Girls Dance students. Joining the cast is violinist Windy Indie.

“We hope Mary becomes a new holiday tradition audiences and dancers can enjoy for years to come,” said Barnett. Black Girls Dance, founded by Erin Barnett in 2015, cultivates, empowers,
and supports women in pursuing their dream of performing and grants scholarships to pre-professionals to train at the studio or institution of their choice. The organization became a nonprofit
in 2021. Barnett, a Chicago native, was the first African-American Clara in the Chicago Tribune Charities production of The Nutcracker at McCormick Place. She toured internationally with Garth Fagan Dance and Philadanco!, played the role of Sarafina in The Lion King in Las Vegas for three years, and performed
with Beyonce at the Billboard Awards.

Tickets are $40 and are available at For information, visit

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