BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland dance company is celebrating Black representation with a premiere dance concert.
Grace Johnson, the owner of Neema Dance Collective, has made it her mission to break barriers in the industry. The Prince George’s County-based company is working to highlight the importance of visibility and representation in the arts.READ MORE: Anne Arundel County Executive Adopts "Vision Zero Plan" To Make County Roads Safer
The owner said it’s important for her to create a space where dancers can be themselves, surrounded by others just like them.
“Dance is for everyone. It doesn’t have an age or color or anything,” Johnson said.
This Sunday, dancers from the collective will host “Melanin,” their annual Spring concert. =
“I have a group. It makes me happy and it makes me smile,” said dancer Dawson Wagner.READ MORE: Hogan Orders Suspension Of Maryland's 'Good & Substantial Reason' Requirement For Concealed Carry Permits
“I like that I can always express myself no matter what.. like any style, my feelings could get expressed,” said dancer Gabrielle Wood. “I’m so excited to dance on stage.”
The annual production aims to highlight Black excellence and representation in dance.
“[It’s] where we show the kids and show what they’ve learned,” Johnson said. “All their technical abilities they’ve learned throughout the year.”
Wood, 12, said she found strong bonds in the collective.MORE NEWS: East Baltimore Sinkhole Prompts City To Shut Down Part Of North Avenue Until Further Notice
“When I first started the only person I knew was my godsister, now I have this strong bond with 10 other people,” she said.