Morgan Overton is a multidisciplinary artist based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She will also be graduating with a Master of Social Work with a focus in Community Organizing and Social Action from the University of Pittsburgh. Between her studies and her artistry, Morgan places an emphasis on bridging the arts with social justice. Through her work, Morgan seeks to amplify the voices and beauty of Black culture that society has silenced for so long. Her art has been featured at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, August Wilson Center, Showtime’s The Affair, and at a James Baldwin exhibit in St. Paul de Vence, France.
Her artwork can be found at www.Etsy.com/Shop/MoInTheStudio
When we first met Morgan, we knew she was a talented artist, but we had no clue how beautiful of a dancer she was until we saw pictures of her airborne. We interviewed Morgan about her love for dance and as usual, her answers were eloquent and poised. Morgan is definitely a Dope Sista fave.
DL: How old were you when you started dancing and did you fall in love with dancing right away?
MO: Ever since I was a child, I was in love with dance - thanks to my parents being intentional about surrounding me with the arts. I didn’t start dance lessons until I was in 5th grade at my local YMCA. (I was a late bloomer!)
DL: What genre of dance is your favorite? What do you prefer to teach, perform and watch?
MO: As a child, I loved ballet and I still do. As an adult however, I think an alternate version of myself would have been an Alvin Ailey Dancer. The blend of unapologetic Black culture, music, and contemporary dance is absolutely mesmerizing to watch!
DL: How does dancing make you feel? What does it do for you?
MO: It is a liberating experience. It requires a ton of work and discipline, but that hard work pays off to create a freeing and beautiful work of art that can resonate with the viewer, as well.
DL: In 2019, we are just now seeing the first black dancer to do the role of Marie in The Nutcracker. She is 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres. How did it make you feel when this was announced?
MO: My first thought was “future daughter goals!”, but honestly, we are long overdue! Black dancers, especially in the ballet world have been shut out for so long. She is paving the way at 11. I am so excited to see her dance career evolve and flourish.
DL: As a black dancer navigating their way in white spaces, what advice would you give Charlotte Nebres, if any?
MO: I would tell her to own her craft - because the world of dance and society will attempt to take it. And that she should not be defined by the mold, but rather, to break it!
DL: When we think of dance performances, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations comes to mind. It’s one of the most popular dance performances. Which dance performances have inspired you?
MO: I mentioned it earlier, but yes - Alvin Ailey performances in general. It is a spiritual experience that surpasses what is presented on stage. To see predominantly Black dancers move and express themselves so freely is a form of resistance within itself. It reinforces my pride in my culture!
DL: Do you have any performances coming up? If so, when, where, and where are tickets sold?
MO: I do not have any upcoming performances! But, I am hoping to invest myself more into my growing love of contemporary dance in 2020. So stay tuned!