For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Alexa Melonopoulos Fleury

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance
Connecticut Dance Alliance to host annual
Martin Luther King, Jr. Dance of Day on
January 20, 2020
HARTFORD, CT – December 23, 2019 – The Connecticut Dance Alliance
(CDA) will host the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance on Monday, January 20,
2020 at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford from 9:00 a.m. to
3:00 p.m. The annual event, which features master classes, seminars and panel
discussions, was created by the CDA to honor and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and
teachings, as well as the significant contributions made by people of color to the
world of dance.
The theme of this year’s event is Legends, Legacy and Lineage. Master classes on
modern dance, Afro-Caribbean, stilt walking and jazz will be available for
intermediate and experienced dancers. A seminar on how students can successfully
apply to college dance programs will be held, as well as a panel discussion focusing
on the African-American dance experience. The CDA Regional Meeting Networking
Luncheon for members of the dance community will also take place during the event.
Guest artists for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance include Broadway musical
theatre veteran Stephanie Pope; former principal soloist with the Martha Graham
Dance Company Kim Stroud; New Haven-based dance teacher, choreographer,
dance educator and dancer Christine Kershaw; founding member of The National
Dance Theatre Company of Trinidad and Tobago Stephen Hankey; and founding
company member of Island Reflections Dance Theatre Company Melissa Craig.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance will be held at the Greater Hartford
Academy of the Arts, 15 Vernon Street, in Hartford from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Full-day
admission is $25 for CDA members and students from CDA member schools; $35 for
non-members. Financial assistance for students is available upon request.
On-site registration will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Classes will be held
throughout the day from 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participants are responsible for their
own lunches. The CDA Regional Meeting Networking Luncheon for members of the
dance community will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Dance of Dance is supported in part by the Greater
Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, with major support from the Hartford
Foundation for Public Giving.
To register online, inquire about financial assistance, and to learn more about the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance, visit .

Kim Stroud started at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in 1993 and has served as Dance Department Chair, Assistant Director and, currently, Director of the Arts. Ms. Stroud’s former positions include: Administrator for the Dance Programs for City Youth through the School of the Hartford Ballet, General Director and Dance Chair for the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University and Head of the Diversity Committee for the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools. Ms. Stroud has been on faculty at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, SUNY Purchase, University of Hartford and The Hartford Conservatory.  
She was a Principal Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for eleven years, touring the world. She has also danced and toured with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, performed in the Universal Studio film production of The Wiz, and as a guest artist with Katherine Dunham and the Gemini Dance Company. Ms. Stroud has been a master teacher for such institutions as the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Randolf-Macon Women’s College in Virginia, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. Ms. Stroud received Teacher Recognition from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2000 and from the Connecticut Dance Alliance in 2007. The National Dance Education Organization named Ms. Stroud Outstanding Dance Educator of the Year in 2005 and in 2009 she received the Teacher of the Year award from the International Arts Schools Network. Ms. Stroud was selected to be a member of the International Dance Council of the United Nations in 2008. Kim’s most recent honors were being named a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO, and receiving a citation from Mayor Eddie Perez and the City of Hartford for teaching. In 2012 she was named Outstanding Dance Educator by Dance Teacher Magazine.

Stephanie Pope is a dancer, singer and actress and a musical theater veteran having appeared in over 10 Broadway shows with a career spanning over 35 years. Broadway and touring credits include the revival of Pippin , for which she received an Astaire Award nomination, an ACCA Award and the beloved Gypsy Robe, Chicago (Velma Kelly), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Muzzy Van Hossmere), Fosse (Leading Player), Smokey Joe's Cafe (Brenda), A Funny Thing… Forum (Gymnasia), Kiss of The Spider Woman (Stand-by for Ms. Chita Rivera) , Jelly's Last Jam (The Hunnies) and The Will Rogers Follies...just to name a few.   
Stephanie has the distinct honor of having been hand-picked to work with the legendary director/choreographer, Bob Fosse, along with his former wife and muse, Gwen Verdon on her first two Broadway shows, the revival of Sweet Charity starring Debbie Allen and Bebe Neuwirth and Bob Fosse'e Big Deal. She holds the distinct and treasured title of being a "Fosse Dancer".

In addition to her work with Mr. Fosse and Ms. Verdon, Stephanie has shared the stage with such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, MariLu Henner, Gregory Hines, Brian "Stokes" Mitchell and Nathan Lane. She has worked with directors and choreographers such as Tommy Tune, Christopher Chadman, Chet Walker, Anne Reinking, Rob Marshall, Kathleen Marshall, Peter Gennaro, Michael Kidd, Michael Peters, Jerry Zaks, George C. Wolfe, Hal Prince, Alex Sanchez, Diane Paulus and Regina Taylor.

Stephanie was trained at The Dance Theatre of Harlem School and received a scholarship to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Broadway Dance Center under Frank Hatchett as well as many dance studios in the NY area. 

In addition to her work on the stage, screen and television, Ms. Pope is a certified Hot Yoga instructor. In 2008, in an effort to give back to her Harlem community she opened Bikram Yoga East Harlem, which she operated for eight years and was named one of the top 10 hot yoga studios in the country. She continues to teach hot yoga whenever her schedule permits incorporating her understanding of the human body learned through her years of dancing. 

Stephen Hankey is the president and founder of the Island Reflections Dance Theatre Company. Born in Trinidad, this skilled dancer rose to international acclaim with his performances. He is dancer, master teacher in traditional Caribbean folk forms, choreographer, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Hartt School, University of Hartford, Connecticut United States of America. This is degree in dance teaching, with the emphasis in children’s dance. Mr. Hankey currently teaches at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School and at the Central Connecticut State University.
Stephen was the resident choreographer with the Cultural Dance Troupe of the West Indies, in Hartford Connecticut U.S.A (2000 – 2012). He was a founding member of The National Dance Theatre Company of Trinidad and Tobago (1992), where he performed nationally and internationally. In addition, he was also a member of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (1993- 1997) and performed in productions including Dream on Monkey Mountain (Josephus), The Joker Seville (Ace of Death), Ti Jean and His Brothers (The Goat). Stephen was a member of Peter Minshall’s Callaloo Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He choreographed the Company’s carnival production Hallelujah and The Monkey Bird for Peter Minshall’s presentation,” Minshall and the Mass” at the Brooklyn Museum in New York (1999). Stephen also performed with the Callaloo Company in Jean Michel Jarre’sOxygen in Moscow for Moscow’s 850th Celebration, and in Chicago for the Walt Disney Convention (1998). His choreography credits includes J’ ouvert (1995), Road March (1997), A Brighter Day (1998) and Red House Fire! Fire! (1889) for the Baggasse Company; Bassman with the Signal Hill Theater Workshop Tobago (1997); Hewanora Story for the St Lucia Research Center and Jen S. Designs (1997); the “Voodoo Ceremony” for the ABC television film Production Creature, by Peter Benchley with Trilogy Entertainment North Ltd. (1997); and Ti Jean and His Brothers for Trinity College in Hartford (2000); The Brand New Lucky Diamond Horseshoe Club with the collaboration of LordStreet Theater and SummerStage for Indiana State University in Indiana and LordStreet Theater in Trinidad (2004 and 2006) respectively, Broken Chains for the Co-Operative After School program in collaboration with Yale University (2011). He also choreographed Cultural Spectacular (2001 – 2010) at the Bushnell Theater, and the Performing Arts Center for the Cultural Dance Troupe of the West Indies in Hartford CT.

Christine Kershaw-Hobson  is a Dance Teacher, Choreographer, Dance Educator and Dancer who began her dance training at The Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT. Ms. Kershaw-Hobson studied and performed under the direction of The Paul Hall Contemporary Dance Theater. She later attended The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she completed 6 years of study and training in the codified teaching of the Lester Horton Technique.
Christine has taught in the New Haven Public Schools and throughout the New Haven County for over 20 years enriching the lives of her students through the art of dance. She is currently teaching dance at The Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School and The Lee Lund School of Dance.

About Connecticut Dance Alliance (CDA)
Connecticut Dance Alliance, Inc. (CDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of dance in all its forms and serving the needs of the statewide dance community. Since 1999, CDA has created and presented numerous events such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance – a day celebrating African-American dance traditions, CDA Distinguished Achievement in Dance Awards, Healthy Dancer Seminars and workshops on Planning a College Career in dance. In 2011, CDA founded and developed a successful summer scholarship annual competition, the  Connecticut Classic , a competition for pre-professional classical ballet students. CDA also administers the Elena Delvecchio Rusnak Dance Education Scholarship. CDA’s current project,  The Dance History Project.  Through grassroots networking, the project endeavors to capture and share, through the art of photography and scholarly writing, a cultural and historical documentation of the rich and vibrant dance heritage in Connecticut. Using the 2,000 images submitted by the dance community, the curated  Connecticut Dance exhibition has toured the state since 2017. In addition to the  Dance History Project , other CDA initiatives include the further development of regional network consortiums to increase communication, partnerships, and opportunities for Connecticut’s dance community; dance education programs; and the new statewide dance resource database.

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