International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD)



THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN DANCE preserves and promotes dance by people of African ancestry or origin, and assists and increases opportunities for artists in networking, funding, performance, education, audience development, philosophical dialogue, touring and advocacy.


The International Association of Blacks in Dance was founded as a direct result of an artistic development grant to Founder/Artistic Director Joan Myers Brown. Ms. Brown felt that a gathering of the Black Dance Community would serve not only her needs, but also needs of other Black Dance professionals. In 1988, Ms. Brown along with the Philadanco staff launched the 1st International Conference of Blacks in Dance. Eighty professionals attended. Today, the conference has grown to include an average of 400 participants from across the country, Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean.

The conference has been held in California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, New York City, Canada, and slated for 2013 once again in the Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. In 1991, an Emergency Fund was instituted for IABD artists and companies. In 1996, it established a national scholarship-training program for dancers.

Through the annual conference it offers a multi-company audition for dancers across the nation and the first of its kind. In January 1999, an Executive Director was appointed to carry forth the vision and daily administrative operations of the organization. The Association is committed to documenting and addressing Black aesthetics in Dance. It also educates younger generations about contributions of Black artists in Dance. As one avenue for accomplishing these goals, the Association has established archives with the National Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio, the Afro-American Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University in Washington, DC.

The Association and Conference were shaped by the presence of some of the most prominent individuals in the Dance Community. Leaders included: Jeraldyne Blunden (Dayton Contemporary Dance Company), Cleo Parker Robinson (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance), Lula Washington (Lula Washington Dance Theatre), Ann Williams (Dallas Black Dance Theatre), Chuck Davis (African American Dance Ensemble), Carmen de LaVallade (Dancer, Choreographer), Carol Foster (DC Youth Ensemble), Joan Gray (Muntu Dance Theatre), Walter Nicks (Dancer, Choreographer), Eleo Pomare (Eleo Pomare Dance Company), Rod Rodgers (Rod Rodgers Dance Company).

The International Association of Blacks in Dance has developed national prominence and allowed the Black Dance Community to come together on issues important to them.

Source: (2014)

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