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BDS Initiatives

Young Professionals





Wednesday, July 27, 2022

In The Glade


Black Dance Stories (BDS) will present two free outdoor summer events at Little Island, New York City’s new public park in Hudson River Park. Events include Black Dance Stories: The Young Professional Experience, an evening of dance and spoken word with emerging Black dance artists on Wednesday, July 27, and a social and dance party with DJ Sabine Blazin on Friday, July 29. The presentations reflect BDSs commitment to supporting Black creatives and continuing its growth as a cultural presence. BDS summer events are conceived and produced by Black Dance Stories emerging creatives Makeda Smith (Director of Digital Media) and Makeda Love-Roney (Director of Production).

Brooke Rucker

Artist | Arts Administrator

Brooke Rucker is a Brooklyn-based artist and arts administrator, specializing in dance. She began her arts training in her hometown Cartersville, GA and went on to earn her BFA in Dance at Florida State University in 2018. She has performed with Charles Anderson’s dance theatre X (2018-2019) and Gaspard & Dancers (2019) as a company...


Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Thinker | Maker | Performer | Educator | Social Entrepreneur

Recently acknowledged as 2021 Pricess Grace Award Reciepient in Choreography, Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a queer black thinker, maker, performer, educator and social entrepreneur born in Richmond, VA and based in New York City. He is the founder and Company Director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary arts ensemble dedicated...


Cortney Taylor Key

Dancer | Trainer | Teacher

CORTNEY TAYLOR KEY is a native of Charlotte, NC. Just shy of 3 years old Miss Key started taking ballet, tap and Jazz at Miss Donna’s school of Dance. Her training expanded under the instruction of Susan Thorsland Plaza Kim Hotchner and Chandra McCloud at The Northwest School of the Performing Arts middle and high school. She graduated...


Fanta Bello


Makeda Roney

Makeda Roney (she/her/hers) is a fourth generation artist based in unseated Lenape Nation land known as Harlem, New York. Living in this physical experience as a life, body, and energy alchemist, creative visionary, professional dance artist, and Body Alignment/Pilates coach. Makeda came out of the womb feeling most at home expressing...