About the Company
Collage dance Collective works to provide outstanding classical training regardless of socioeconomic background and to inspire the growth of ballet by showcasing a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of the community.
Kevin Thomas and Marcellus Harper co-founded Collage dance Collective in 2004. Mr. Thomas was a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), the leading African-American ballet company and one of the top dance companies in the world. Mr. Harper had recently moved to New York to pursue opportunities in theater and arts production. Shortly after the two met, the DTH Company closed. Inspired by the impact Dance Theatre had on the world, Kevin and Marcellus embarked upon developing Collage and building upon the legacy of companies like DTH.
Collage dance Collective was officially incorporated in October 2006 and received rave reviews for its national debut at the Lyric Opera House in Kansas City, Missouri. The performance was made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation. It was the largest and only one of its kind the Foundation had ever awarded to an out-of state dance company. The company has also performed in Manchester, Vermont, Flint, Michigan, New York City, Beckett, Massachusetts and Memphis, Tennessee.
The company relocated to Memphis in 2007 to take part in the city’s exciting artistic renaissance and to fulfill its mission of extending the reach of outstanding classical ballet training. Kevin and Marcellus believe Memphis is the perfect home to develop young dancers, harnessing the power in the city’s rich diversity and unparalleled commitment to the arts.
Collage is led by Artistic Director, Kevin Thomas, who has amassed an impressive resume with over twenty-five years as a professional ballet dancer. He is part of a small, elite group of African-Americans to achieve the ranking of principal dancer with a major ballet company and has held positions with Les Grands Canadiens, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Mr. Thomas has also guested with numerous acclaimed companies around the world including London’s Royal Ballet and has appeared on Broadway.
Collage’s ultimate goal is to serve as Memphis’ premiere cultural ambassador through national and international touring – upholding the city’s great tradition of artistic excellence.