Our History

DANSE4NIA (official name DANSE4NIA REPERTORY ENSEMBLE, INC.) was created in April 2006 by Antoinette M. Coward-Gilmore to uplift, advocate for and share the power of dance and the performing arts as a tool for change in Philadelphia and across the region.

Debuting “Assemble 4 Purpose” in the world-renown Philly Fringe Festival in September 2006 with New York-based spoken word artist Mo Beasley and International Turntablist DJ Razor Ramon, DANSE4NIA quickly became a strong performing entity, showcasing works from established choreographers the late Faye B. Snow, Shawn-Lamere Williams and artistic director Coward-Gilmore.

Shortly after the Fringe, DANSE4NIA made noteworthy appearances during many local and community festivals as well as touring engagements which include the NAACP’s 2006 Annual Gala Banquet, Maryland State Dance Conference in Baltimore, MD, and as the featured dancers for the Life Story of Marvin Gaye at the famous Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C.

Moving swiftly to create a strong organizational infrastructure, DANSE4NIA established itself as an incorporated organization with a functioning board of directors in March of 2007 and received its 501(c) 3 status in August of 2007.

In the same year, DANSE4NIA gained a roster position with Pennsylvania Council on the Arts as Arts/ Dance Educators through the Philadelphia Arts In Education Partnership (PAEP.) In 2008- 2009, the ensemble was awarded a roster position with Pennsylvania Performing Artists on Tour (PennPat.) Through their affiliation with PennPat, Danse4Nia showcased at the Pennsylvania Presenter’s Conference at the Bynum Theater in Pittsburgh, PA.

In 2009, DANSE4NIA joined Pentacle Dance Works, Inc. (one of the leading arts management companies in the field) as a member of their Gallery Roster Artists program. Through Pentacle, DANSE4NIA appeared at the Thelma Hill Dance Festival (Brooklyn, NY.) in June of 2010. To their credit, Danse4Nia appeared two more times in the Thelma Hill Dance Festival (Brooklyn, NY), Maryland State Dance Festival (Centreville, MD) Pentacle’s Gallery Showcase “Fall Further” (New York), August Wilson Dance Ensemble’s 2nd Annual Black Dance Festival II (Pittsburgh, PA.), Move On Dance Festival (Jersey City, NJ), Dance Collective’s Open Marley (Baltimore, MD), the Dance Series presented by Rutgers University (Newark, NJ), & the Late Night Dance Series- Dance USA Conference (Philadelphia, PA) in June 2013.
Other performances include City Hall Presents (Philadelphia, PA) July 2013, Barnes Foundation’s Open Sundays (Philadelphia, PA) January 2014., Come Together Dance Festival (Philadelphia, PA) July 2014, Charlotte Dance Festival (Charlotte, NC) March 2015, Three Kings Concert at the Mann Music Center (Philadelphia, PA.) July 2015. Caribbean Dance Festival (Philadelphia, PA) August 2015, Faison Firehouse, (Harlem, NY) May 2016, Dance Complex, (Cambridge, MA) April 2017, Philadelphia Juneteenth Celebration, June 2018, International World Congress on Dance Research (Athens, Greece) July 2018, Dance In Public Places, (Philadelphia, PA.) August 2018, Baltimore Dance Invitational (Ownings Mill, MD) February 2019, 53rd International World Congress on Dance Research in Nassau, Bahamas, April 2019, Philly Night at the 32nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Blacks in Dance,(Philadelphia, PA.) January 2020, Presentation at the Collegium of African Dance on the Diaspora (CADD), (Durham, NC.) February 2020.

Recognizing the need to pass on the legacy of artistic excellence to the next generation and groom dancers in our philosophy and form, Nia-Next, the junior/ apprentice company of DANSE4NIA REPERTORY ENSEMBLE was established in 2009. To their credit, Nia-Next has performed at the PA State Capitol Arts In Education Day, and as guest artists at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (at their MLK Day Celebration and their Dance In Schools Program.) Nia-Next has also been featured as guest artists for the screening of Teddy Pendergrass: Unsung (sponsored by Radio One,) at the Magnolia Performing Arts Center (Vineland, NJ) at the Professional Network Conference, in a school-time performance for students at Lindenwold Middle School and Sankofa Freedom Academy, Caribbean Day Festival, Dilworth Park, Opening, Philly Free Streets, and performance at California Adventures in Anaheim, California

Currently, Danse4Nia is in its 16th season. However, DANSE4NIA during the pandemic of Covid 19, celebrated its 15th anniversary season with the presentation of the Grand Phoenix Pledge campaign which raised money to fund the re-branding, re-design, and re-commitment to excellence in performing arts.

DANSE4NIA has upgraded our brand with a new look, new colors, and new logos, re-vised our organizational structure from a full-time, professional dance company to a project-based dance company re-named Phoenix Danse. NIA-NEXT is revised to our official youth company of DANSENIA and we have re-vamped our arts education/ performing arts training program to include virtual/ in-person training in concert, commercial dance, and musical theatre and once again serving as the directors of the performing arts department of Imhotep Institute Charter High School.

Lastly, DANSE4NIA has changed the address to the home of the Studio of Danse from Walnut Lane to the Kendrick Mills Loft still located and serving the community of historic Germantown.