Who I Am, Why I Dance: A Conversation with Jermel Johnson and Meredith Rainey

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 6:00pm

To be young, black, male, and…a ballet dancer? In a world where it seems these identities aren’t likely to overlap, professional dancers Jermel Johnson and Meredith Rainey have broken barriers to become key members of Pennsylvania Ballet, earning praise and attention across the United States and abroad. Prior to his retirement from Pennsylvania Ballet in 2006, Meredith Rainey danced as one of the first African American male soloists with company, performing works by George Balanchine, Alvin Ailey, and more. He is now an award-winning choreographer, with works performed throughout North and South America and Europe. Jermel Johnson is the first African American male principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet. Known for his impressive jumps and powerful presence, he has performed several leading roles, including Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the principal role in Balanchine’s Square Dance, and was recently named by Pointe Magazine for their listing of “Our Top 10 Favorite Performances of 2013.”