Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!
Name: Ranardo-Domeico Grays
What do you do?
Choreographer, Founder/Artistic Director of VISIONS Contemporary Ballet (VCB), an ethnically diverse company committed to presenting spiritually uplifting contemporary ballet works.
What are you proud of?
I am proud to be a four-year brain cancer survivor...and to be creatively flourishing. After taking two years off for treatment I returned to VCB with even more of a story to share. I have completed past works in progress and I'm presenting new work. I created Roots, a new work presented in 2016 and Through the Valley, presented in 2017 for our 10-year anniversary performance, Healing Works. Currently I am working on our fall 2018 Healing Works II program, which will include the newly completed Dash - Between, and will be presented at The Theatre at The Riverside Church in NYC on November 10.
For the first time since leaving my hometown of Detroit, Michigan to attend The Juilliard School in New York, I will be returning to present my company in a concert dedicated to the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on December 19 – bringing my company home to share my work with the community that first nurtured dance in my life!
What inspires you?
I feel that The Lord has given me the opportunity to present VISIONS Contemporary Ballet to the community with more focus and even more passion than ever. I choreograph to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life in the local community and beyond. I feel that art can be used for healing. When people see themselves in my work or tell me that they were moved, it motivates me to keep going and creating.
Video by Mikhail Torich
What are your goals?
My goal is to build VISIONS Contemporary Ballet to be a strong contemporary ballet company with a voice of encouragement and inspiration and to embark on a multi-city US and international tour to share my work on a broader spectrum.
Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
We each have our own path. Continue to persevere, especially when you feel like giving up. As long as you are putting forth your best efforts, everything will fall into place eventually, even if it may not appear that way. Don't be distracted by things that don't seem to come through. They just may not be meant for you at that time.
How does The Field help you?
As an artistic director and choreographer, I am able to take advantage of opportunities that would not be available to me if I was not a Sponsored Artist of The Field. I was recently awarded the 2018-2019 UMEZ Grant as an inaugural recipient. I would not have been able to receive this important grant without the support of The Field.
Photography by Andrew Williams
© VISIONS Contemporary Ballet