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  • Janelle Smith-Ings

Transformed through dance

Al-kabir was first introduced to dance at the age of five years old. Newark Public Schools had recently implemented dance education in three elementary schools and Al-kabir’s school, Speedway School was one of the three. Al-Kabir took dance class twice a week along with his classmates, but his natural gift of dance was apparent to his teachers and classmates. Al-kabir was a shy kindergarten student. He was a timid, yet had a natural physical gift for dance. He had a raw talent that had to be cultivated.

Al-kabir was naturally gifted and drawn to dance unlike his peers he would often come to the studio to try to perfect his technique while his classmates went out for recess. As a child Al-kabir’s primary training was through the dance program at Speedway School, yet he was accepted to Ailey Camp for four consecutive years. In seventh grade he was selected to restage Revelations, Fix Me Jesus for Judith Jamison’s private 70th Birthday performance at NJPAC. From the age of five and well into his high school years and beyond he has remained dedicated to the art of dance.

Al-kabir continued his training at Newark Arts High School, while maintaining a scholarship at The Ailey School. He was also a scholarship recipient at Center For Modern Dance Education and NJPAC Young Artists Institute.

Al-kabir had the honor of performing in Ailey at the Apollo Gala performance where he performed Robert Battle’s The Hunt and Rennie Harris’ Home. Dance has transformed Al-kabir from a timid five year old, into a mature, articulate and dedicated young man. He is destined for greatness.

When asked what moves you, Al-kabir replies "I dance because movement is my gateway to Eden's garden. Dance holds my hand and takes me among the flowers where my heart runs free, and euphoria is my reality."

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