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Leader of Atlanta-based Dance Canvas receives national honor

By Howard Pousner

Angela Harris, founder and executive director of Dance Canvas, an Atlanta-based presenter of professional dance performances showcasing emerging choreographers, received a national honor from Americans for the Arts on Thursday.

Harris was recognized with the 2011 American Express Emerging Leader Award at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego. The award is bestowed annually to a young arts professional who demonstrates leadership, innovative thinking and a commitment to advancing the arts in his or her local, state or national communities.

According to a release from Americans for the Arts, a Washington and New York-based nonprofit that promotes access to the arts:

“After witnessing the difficult path and lack of professional opportunities for young choreographers, Ms. Harris conceived and founded Dance Canvas Inc. in 2008 to create relatable, professional dance experiences and develop new dance patrons in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

“Thanks to Ms. Harris’ leadership and perseverance, Dance Canvas Inc. has made remarkable strides in its three years of operation, presenting world premiere choreography from 27 emerging choreographers, showcasing more than 150 professional dancers, introducing over 500 children and teens to dance through its DC NEXT youth program curriculum and performing for more than 10,000 people.

“During this time, Ms. Harris also spearheaded the formation of two development programs for teens and college-age students that provide classes in leadership, team building, resume writing, choreography and dance training. Ms. Harris is a member of Emerging Arts Leaders of Atlanta, and has been an ‘Emerging Leader’ scholarship recipient from Americans for the Arts in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

“’What Ms. Harris has accomplished in just three years, is nothing short of remarkable,’ said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. ‘Her extraordinary work and passion to support the arts leaders of tomorrow exemplifies what it means to be an Emerging Leader.’”

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