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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Acclaimed Dancer and Choreographer Brandon Avery ’12 to Lead 2024 Honnold Lecture, Residency

Knox College has announced that acclaimed dancer and choreographer Brandon Avery (Paraharm) ’12 will lead the 2024 Honnold Lecture and Dance Residency. From Monday, April 8 to Friday, April 12, 2024, the community is invited to join Avery as he shares insights from his distinguished career and conducts workshops for the Knox community, aiming to inspire the next generation of dancers. This marks Knox College’s first Honnold Lecture since 2016.

Avery's dance journey began with 12 years of self-instruction in urban dance techniques before he took his first formal dance technique classes at Knox College. He boasts an extensive performance background, having appeared with or for notable names such as Mielle Organics, Fuego Dance Sneakers, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, and MTV-2. Avery has also taught at various institutions, including Red Clay Dance Academy, Emory University, and Dyett High School for the Arts.

Recently, Avery made history as the first male heels dancer to perform at the 94th annual Bud Billiken Day Parade and the 32nd annual Dance for Life Chicago benefit showcase. He currently serves as a company member with the Hiplet Ballerinas, a recording artist with the Haus of Everything, a runway and vogue performer in the House of Alain Mikli, and the founder and instructor of Hips & Heels by Brandon Avery™.

Avery's involvement in dance evolved during his time at Knox, where he discovered a sense of community through movement. His performances have provided a platform to share his experiences of resilience and self-discovery. Avery's unique talent for blending personal narratives with universal themes has made him a sought-after artist in the dance world.

During the residency, Avery will explore the technical aspects of dance, offering workshops and masterclasses on dance composition, dance forms, the fundamentals of heels and vogue dance, and more. His workshops are designed to make dance more accessible and inviting. By breaking down barriers and encouraging everyone to participate, he hopes to foster a more inclusive and diverse dance community.

"I'm incredibly proud to be a part of the Honnold Lecture," Avery said. "My goal is to inspire and empower students to find their voice through dance."

The week will conclude with the Honnold Lecture, during which Avery will showcase a preview of his new choreographic work. This work will be performed by Knox dance students who audition for and are cast by Avery at the start of his residency.  The piece will also be presented in the Knox College Dance Program’s Spring Concert, May 23-25, 2024, in Harbach Theatre.

This project is supported by the Honnold Lecture Fund, the Terpsichore Dance Collective, and the Karil Kirk-Ortner Memorial Dance Fund, an endowed fund created to support the presentation of visiting guest artists and/or dance companies.

About the Honnold Lecture

The Honnold Lecture at Knox College was inaugurated in 1929 with a speech by pioneering journalist Ida Tarbell. It was permanently endowed in 1936 by William Lincoln Honnold, who established the Honnold Fund. The lecture series aims to bring accomplished leaders from diverse fields to the College for public talks, informal discussions with students and faculty, and classes related to their areas of expertise.

Notable past Honnold lecturers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and, most recently, acclaimed scholar of world religions and best-selling author Reza Aslan.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024