Director of Community Engagement and Education
April Berry, dance director, master teacher, educator, and former internationally-acclaimed dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is a native New Yorker. Ms. Berry has worked closely with many of the most celebrated choreographers and dance artists of the 20th century. April is a certified master instructor in Dunham Technique, having successfully completed all certification requirements after extensive work with American modern dance pioneer, Dr. Katherine Dunham. Ms. Berry has danced the signature choreographies of Dunham, Lester Horton, Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Talley Beatty, Todd Bolender, Donald McKayle and Hans Van Manen, as well as in works by other renowned choreographers from the world of ballet, modern/contemporary, and jazz dance.
Ms. Berry’s professional dance career began in ballet and she has danced with ballet companies in the United States, Italy and Switzerland. She began her professional training in ballet at the former National Academy of Ballet and Theatre Arts in New York under the direction of Thalia Mara, and on scholarship at the Dance Theatre of Harlem under directors Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook. Ms. Berry studied modern dance techniques and jazz dance at the Ailey School in New York, and trained in Caribbean folkloric and popular dance forms at the Escuela Nacional des Arts (National School of the Arts) in Havana, Cuba.
Ms. Berry, is a former principal dance artist with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and worked under Founding Artistic Director Alvin Ailey and Artistic Emeritus Judith Jamison. She is featured in several dance books including Ailey Spirit: The Journey of an American Dance Company by Robert Tracy, Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance by former The New York Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning, and The Black Tradition in American Dance by African American historian Richard A. Long, among others. She is featured on Ailey Company videos, and performed on television specials including two Kennedy Center Honors Programs, has represented the Ailey Company on two Ailey season posters, and served as guest artist with several dance companies, including the La Scala Ballet in Milan, Italy.
Ms. Berry has been actively involved in the field of dance education and arts outreach since 1992. She has created award-winning community outreach programs and has presented at various dance conferences including the 2013 Dance/USA Conference in Philadelphia, two National Dance Education (NDEO) Conferences and at several International Association for Blacks in Dance (IABD) Conferences. Most recently she presented at the 2016 Colleguim for African American Dance (CADD) Conference at Duke University. She has served as an artist-in-residence, guest lecturer, and adjunct faculty member at some of the most prestigious universities around the United States. She has written for Dance/USA’s online journal From the Green Room, for the Society of Dance History Scholars publication, Conversations in Dance, and served on the boards of Ohio Dance, the Greater Columbus Arts Council in Columbus, Ohio, and as a grants panelist for the North Carolina Arts Council, the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, NC, and most recently as a board of director on the Dance Council of North Texas in Dallas, TX.
Ms. Berry has served as Director of Education and Outreach for North Carolina Dance Theatre, (now the Charlotte Ballet) from 2006-2013, and as Director of Education and Community Programs for BalletMet Columbus, from 2001-2006.
Ms. Berry was appointed Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre in August 2014 and served in that capacity during their 38th season. Previously Ms. Berry founded and served as dance consultant for Arts ‘n Community, a grass roots agency providing specialized services and resources to emerging and mid-size organizations around the U.S., dedicated to the art form dance. Ms. Berry enjoys mentoring dance artists who are eager to enhance the organizations they serve and impact the communities in which they live.