"A Frique of Nature"

July 7, 2012 | Long Center for Performing Arts

A Frique of Nature: Three dancers surrendering their bodies to empathy made for a poignant and transcendant [sic] work
The Austin Chronicle
Jonelle Seitz, July 13, 2012

“A third of the way into the annual Long Center performance by China Smith's Ballet Afrique, to an a cappella version of "Strange Fruit," three female dancers emerged on the floor, crawling and rolling in from the corners of the stage. Like mercury, they merged, unfolding into a single tree-like sculpture, arms liquidly forming branches and faces turned away. In fact, it seemed that I hardly saw the faces of Smith, Daniele Martin, and Janelle Townsel as they danced this section, even as they broke away from the sculpture, their individual pleadings pausing in stark translations – body drooping forward, arms hanging down at the sides; a one-arm-raised slightly swinging stance – of the song on "hanging."...”
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"Move: Mixed Repertory of Ballet Afrique"

March 13, 2010 | Salvage Vanguard Theater

Review: Ballet Afrique
Clare Croft, March 13, 2010

“Ballet Afrique, Austin’s new African American dance company, weaves their vision of African American culture through ever [sic] facet of their work. The result: their Friday show at Salvage Vanguard was a fascinating, intelligent blend of a variety of African American dance vocabularies—a dense collage of West African dance, jazz, modern and ballet. (And yes, every one of those traditions has roots in African American art. American ballet’s rhythmic complexity owes substantial debt to African American jazz.)
Led by founding executive director China Smith and artistic director Leah Smiley Tubbs, who choreographed all of Friday’s seven pieces, Ballet Afrique adds an exciting dimension to Austin’s dance community....”