Vershawn Sanders-Ward, Founding Artistic Director of Red Clay Dance Company, joins Pivot Arts Director, Julieanne Ehre, in a lively conversation about her company, cross-cultural collaborations and being an arts activist.

Red Clay Dance Company lives to awaken “glocal” change through creating, performing and teaching dances of the African Diaspora–change that transforms cultural, and socio-economic inequities in our local and global community. 

A native of Chicago, Vershawn Sanders-Ward holds a MFA in Dance from New York University and is the first recipient of a BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago (Gates Millennium Scholar.) She is the Founding Artistic Director and CEO of Red Clay Dance Company and is currently a candidate for Dunham Technique Certification. Sanders-Ward is a 2019 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Awardee, a 2019 Harvard Business School Club of Chicago Scholar, a 2017 Dance/USA Leadership Fellow, a 2013 3Arts awardee, and a 2009 Choreography Award from Harlem Stage NYC. In 2015 and 2018, New City Magazine selected Ward as one of the “Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago.” Her work has been presented in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, and internationally in Toronto, Dakar and Kampala. Vershawn has served as an adjunct faculty member and received choreographic commissions from Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Knox College, City Colleges of Chicago, AS220, and the National Theatre in Uganda. She is a board member of Enrich Chicago and the African American Arts Alliance and was selected to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for Emerging Global Leaders.

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