On Saturday, July 30th on 70th East 4th Street, the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company will have a grand opening.
Alpha Omega has been providing a platform for dancers and choreographers of color to showcase their love of the art for over 44 years. However, since 1972, the dance company did not have its own studio, until now. Thanks to new leadership under its new Artistic Director Enrique Cruz DeJesus, the company was able to raise over $ 4 million dollars towards having its own building.
We use to rent space from different locations. We were a struggling organization that tried to do good for the community, for kids and we are a professional dance company,” said DeJesus.
After joining the Fourth Art Block, a 13 organization art coalition, the different members were able to set aside seven buildings for their different programs.
We did an average of two to three fundraisers a year, we wrote grants to the Department of Cultural Affairs, Rosie Mendez, Margarita Lopez, and the Mayor’s Office,” he adds.
At the new studio, choreographers will teach salsa, Argentine tango, and musical theater. Wellness classes include yoga and pilates. There will be educational classes for kids and teens. There will also be something for adults that want to become professional dancers too.
Thirty years ago, before DeJesus became the artistic director of Alpha Omega he was just a young man that was encouraged to go to one of their dance classes by a friend.
I was a short order cook working at a restaurant, the Bonfire Grill in Forest Hills, and my friend named Lamont was a dancer,” says DeJesus.
After joining dance classes with Lamont, DeJesus knew that he was meant to be a dancer. Since that first dance class, he has been in shows like “Jesus Christ Super Star, ” and toured in “Dreamgirls.” As a choreographer, he has created over 60 pieces. He was even nominated for a Drama Desk award.
Artists art not born. They are chosen. They are chosen in a way that you see this as the thing that you are going to be doing. I’ve been a part of that community, I’ve been a part of that family. I feel that I have found my calling and I have not ever looked back since.
DeJesus and his dance company will continue to make waves this summer by closing out the first ever Jamaica Dance Festival in Rufus King Park on August 13th. The festival is free and open to the public.