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no no the image of ballet is not somebody who looks like me and just think of anything about it the thing for me that i could come you know this is a story about dying robinson's pursuit of perjury the accomplishments and the disappointments diane's aspirations and identity are reflected in lots of his dream variations mind to someplace else and her parents or the white gaze to the unrest a cool evening
beneath a tall tree on icons on gentilly dark like that is my journey took on supply and the price of the final dance world world took a quick based dough rest of pale feet tall century night coming to entertain black lightning neeley who grew a classical guy does not belong to anyone rich ask about the gods and symmetry that is part of the bases to take meetings here goes the
painting the abstract quote paintings on the wall of the pyramid and then the geometrical fees ai as downright as anything in louis the fourteenth court more so than one reason is often called a dance historian a performer and a visionary as a child going up a new start tuskegee alabama dying dreamed of becoming a famous ballerinas she was influenced by the town's rich academic and cultural heritage and at sixty six died graduated from high school and set out on a journey that would hopefully make her dream become reality along the way she compiled an impressive thousand and nine received a bachelor's degree and as the butler university indianapolis prominent catholic university in washington dc she direct howard university's dance department and a colombian diane also taught ballet at the festival of the dance theatre of boston brandeis university and law i
should've gone to sleep is with the american ballet theatre to its production of the four americans and diane dance with one of mozart's valley of the twentieth century an acclaimed international dance company based in belgium she also worked with renowned choreographer billy wilson diane was an original cast member and wilson's broadway hit musical bubbling brown sugar rauschenberg was for me because it gave me an a plan to be on broadway i wanna be a ballet dancer now a company that it gave me a chance to dance to the choreography of the great choreographer around billy wilson this point are to his work and to do something about black people that was about their wonderful beautiful sophistication and do it in an arena where the whole world could see it and to really be a part of it not only on
stage but to help mr wilson this is a system and to help train the other dancers so that hold bubbling brown sugar experience has been a core point and i've already offer that still despite all of her achievements and travels diane yearned for to ski these cultural and creative inspiration it i would be significant and women need to be in my home working with my people with my thoughts or cassettes what makes for universal art it seems to me is that when you think about what is most deeply yourself on dance about and sing about was most deeply you you touch was was deeply anybody else because you get what is at the core of what is universal to maintain as i feel it in tuscany be wary of to my roots my home is where i'm most able to do that now i don't even want to stay here and not go out but i want to take what is here
out but this is the base is is that based place where one and work from tuskegee and nineteen eighty die and packed up her belongings and moved back to the ski she was determined to bring a higher quality cultural and classical arts program to macomb county but ten years diana nyad it as good as cultural affairs department and ninety nine one should have another creative panel dianne founded because he directed toward haiti as a professional company that the poems drama dance and musical theater production that ok now and undermining know generally i guess the first reason is something they want to do they want to learn and i have a body of people wish they can make ideas come alive the other thing that i've always felt and i guess it comes from being in tuskegee is a kind of obligation that i love
to talk about that people african american black people and to show the beauty in the items get those missions this has been is to ensure that they aren't and authors on one within the community itself i think diane's mission is to is to find an outlet for all these creative people are who exist here in macon county in tuskegee we would come in a box with you know we had a great thing with us then there was a period that i thought were blown away and most of them brought their caucus with back i'd come back for the candidates
she represents hope for all the young people in our city she she represents inspiration for the average person in the city because they are inspired by what she does and then for the elderly people who really know the way of law cause it is that sense of valerie knows that sense of revival is that sense of renaissance that they can you can see her trying to bring just the back where it was was was more prevalent in our community diana's childhood dream of becoming a grace the balloting was largely
by jesse gets in a tuskegee dance instructor let's get some was the founder and director of the song and dance troupe the troop was comprised of black girls eager to learn how to dance and entertain well she said was already the sat and then she introduced me reading dance magazine she had these magazines all these things kind of literature that is both and i used to we subscribe to get to it and i think i recovered cover era still had every single one and i'll read from cover to cover i learned all about released western dance history and what was going on and dance in a country so much so that when i went to college on a new wallis dance history we had to take dance history not that end up for some it again black from penske i mean i really didn't know all of that is that i was that he collaborated on she encourages teen to read and study and dumb she's made it
she made me feel it that something you could do for for leaving that that's a that is such a broad spectrum of things it wasn't just learning the steps to be to be in a room but it was getting onstage and performing and making something happen on monday and then the experience of shooting around which is difficult work that you're looking at the person that you get all kinds of cali where people got creative pat she introduces lots of forms and we would all around to schools in this area this county in alabama georgia and performed string and she really i think is where i wanted to be a performer because she's very theatrical and she taught us a very interesting dramatic things we did all kinds of the many things that also sparked my interest in things other than just moving you know making a dramatic statement doing diocese year in high school she applied for admission to the
city in athens at that time what was one of the few colleges that offer a major diet was invited to audition and i was accepted as a student in the university's prestigious stories they'd never had a black graduate institute are they had black girls who he started and i was totally untrained in their way it is not that kind of excellent ballet take me tight training that most of the white students who came a i knew that day it's now i could dance i could not taking so in a way that they can sometimes i wonder why are i think i was so enthusiastic i think they were maybe interested to have at least one person in nineteen eighty seven marvin university invited i wonder how quickly as an
assistant professor of theater she is responsible for teaching alternate classes and directing when it is a real kind of cool recently this is our greatest it's a very it's a good thing for all of the positive and on both sides and it proved a point but it is interesting that i mean me and what i do know i feel the importance of being means that i do great introduce our black artistic subject matter of values and into an
area that that did not ever before came in place that are designed on my part to educate my students in a predominantly white students group about african american culture and also to give them a very rich experience i think the as the artist the ad got the study just like i mean rick i would be remiss of it knowing that shakespeare police only gotten about james weldon johnson and james baldwin in langston hughes and all that great artist and dances katherine dunham an elderly the piano there and that wasn't happening there the eu
law and how is law or c h h the chain e yeah and the basting does he did and
probably still do is it makes us think when i was younger i saw everybody that i knew was doing everything to other people in the world the only head presenters good university professors my parents worked at minnesota mother wasn't hers father was a cook some black professionals everywhere here are people owning their own businesses i didn't understand really thought that the world the whole world in the sixties was not like how soon gave me a can a fortification in maybe i would not have differences if i grew up an old like all birds a montgomery i would have a kind of self confidence cause i would have seen run had on you know with the problems of integration segregation in those kinds of things and don't so we were encouraged always to be the best that we could be on to talk about our history it
will head and you used to visit a religious social restrictions on us but i think really they were despondent and i was just this what she was supposed to be i think he felt that even as a chow she knew she was going to be a dancer oh moon was a revision dealers dance i think that was the main thing i think with the studios and to bond with and she was and aaron's latitude and magnitude in fear their causes want to be able to do with music and art and science and philosophy and all those kinds of things all at the same time it just depends upon what phase all on and what information with which are indian over hear in those cables and they were i won't make an opportunity for the people in my community
and in my area to work on a professional level to give them creative outlet not just to teacher in training students that always felt that it's heartbreaking to study and learn how to dance learn how to sing and then have no way to go through it there's still a very limited opportunities for blacks as many opportunities it as they are now this area anymore television is open up a whole new scope but the trick is it not that many opportunities for us to do what we want to do you know we wanted his first to do some things that they do things they are about that are about us in the way we want to talk about isis according to dying in her criticism about classical arts community it's based on firsthand experience she also believes that there is the tendency to stereotype african americans everybody who is black then
i know i teach everybody who is why can't get the whole lot of white people are different people have different feelings for now based on where they come from experience i mean there are reports out of music theater were kind of music scene a family and eugene hour so i do think i do think that black people are really probably more inclined to the people of color isn't this is not a racial a racist racial observation having taught me meaning white students naming and visit me places i feel but that doesn't mean that
everybody who has a really forward we can do it people think the quote classical arts are white art that's a mistake the classical i've come from europe the european art the european people during the renaissance and developed a quote classical art we're inspired by all of those mortgage people came in the fourteen into europe into spain and that's when the renaissance party in the naval base and the arts the good going chip is an african rhythm the wall is the african rhythm me
i'm probably are as much a social harmonies and an artist because i've never just been interested in dancing just dancing it i love to perform a first but part of performing for me is also creating when i create something it has as much to me as it is now body of you doing and not doing something i don't think it has to be given never been interesting just
in moment for its own sake of i liked i think it's why korea because i want to make a dance and they can sustain and still and does it through the language of movement right now i'm very much interested in doing things about an ancient history because i think that's the most i'm known as a culture to be really just does four black people and pj but i happen to be in that person's perspective head into that it has not been that raises we have a tremendous kim going to be just talking about it or is the world from ancient times to the present tense we get and the senate may have achieved some repertory theater opera ballet coming on for a hundred years
i know so the cells to me these years i'm me to play yeah that's been seasoned
mm hmm if you have a question or comment about this program or if you'd like to purchase a copy of it please write the alabama experience was at seven thousand tuscaloosa alabama three five forty seven please include the word dance on the request and also call one eight hundred and eighty three nine five to return there
The Alabama Experience
Dance of Identity: Dyann Robinson
Producing Organization
University of Alabama Center for Public Television
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University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R) (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
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Episode Description
Explores the life and career of social comentator, artist, and performer Dyann Robinson. Highlights her time on broadway, her career as a dance instructer at Auburn, her work establishing and running the Tuskegee Repertory Theatre, and her passion for dance and performance.
Series Description
A series that focuses on bringing to life the inspiring stores and empowering characters that have helped form Alabama's past and are working to shape its future.
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Moving Image
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Editor: Clay, Kevin
Producing Organization: University of Alabama Center for Public Television
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University of Alabama Center for Public Television
Identifier: cpb-aacip-0e6f70fa77f (Filename)
Format: BetacamSP
Duration: 0:27:08
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Chicago: “The Alabama Experience; Dance of Identity: Dyann Robinson,” 1994-03-31, University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023,
MLA: “The Alabama Experience; Dance of Identity: Dyann Robinson.” 1994-03-31. University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2023. <>.
APA: The Alabama Experience; Dance of Identity: Dyann Robinson. Boston, MA: University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from