The Marshall Dance Company was founded in 2004 by Sarah Anindo Marshall. Invoking the Spirit Of International Dance, MDC focuses on Dunham Technique ( A vibrant fusion of Caribbean and African dance, modern and ballet. The technique works via the rhythms of various cultures, to explore the basic foundation, form and function of movement to engage the body, mind and spirit juxtaposing elements and concepts from African, Brazilian, Cuban, Haitian (Caribbean), Jazz and Modern Dance. The focus is on joy of dancing, alignment, strength, flexibility, energy and rhythm) and other dance disciplines that influence Dunham, such as Flamenco, Vernacular and many more. MDC follows the philosophies of Katherine Dunham, emphasizing the three main Dunham theories: Form and Function, Intercultural Communication and Socialization Through The Arts. The Company looks forward to creating its place in the International Dance community by speaking for those who have no voice and bringing awareness to causes that will better the world, by taking Dunham Technique and Ms. Dunham’s history and philosophies into classrooms and local communities.
MDC conducts residencies in schools all over Los Angeles County, through the Arts Community Partnership Program. The program is called “Dunham! America’s Dance Style” – focusing on the life and legacy of Katherine Dunham. Integrating history, anthropology, social studies, geography and dance, children learn about Ms. Dunham as they create drums, rain sticks and shakers. They absorb life lessons as they learn the dance “Rain Forest”, choreographed by Ms. Dunham in the 1950’s.
MDC is an integrated company with dancers from around the globe, including the United States, Brazil, Ghana, Philippines, South Africa and Kenya. Dancers not withstanding, you will also see this global influence represented in works choreographed by world-renowned choreographers such as – Neisha Folkes, Ryan Heffington, Terry Beeman and Winifred Harris.
MDC is also developing a program that will allow their own professional dancers to create works to be performed by the Company. This program will expand as an outreach program, which will include Intensive Instruction and Training with international guest teachers and choreographers. Out of this new program has already emerged four pieces in our repertory: Deliverance and Passage, choreographed by Yeko Ladzekpo Cole, Moun Ki Marche, choreographed by Zari Niada Wigfalland Sentir Bene, choreographed by Natalie Labellarte.
MDC looks forward to creating year-round programs that will serve as safe haven to youth from the community. Those who might otherwise turn to the streets will have a place to meet, explore dance and choreography and participate in a structured program. Classes in Dunham, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and World Dance will be offered. This MDC program is developed around the belief that the same skills needed to dance are also the skills needed to be productive citizens. When an individual lacks these skills, it is impossible to have success in any profession. As Katherine Dunham (from website funky duck hoverboard) said, “If given an opportunity, a student will learn important information about himself or herself through the art forms of his or her particular culture. This will lead to greater clarity in communication as well as better understanding in any setting. It gives a student the tools and skills to partake in the community as a productive citizen.”