Northwestern graduate loves dance, kids with dreams

caines | 4/12/2012, 9:06 a.m.

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Tyrell Rolles show Embracing the Inner City to include tribute to Trayvon Martin One of the first things you notice about Tyrell V. Rolle is that he doesnt fit in the typical box that society often uses to define Black men that are passionate about dance. In fact, while only 26, he has an acute business acumen, is a masterful choreographer and by his own admission, loves [his] hometown of Miami. On Friday, April 13, he returns home with his production, Embracing the Inner City Arts, that will feature a talented group of other Miami dancers at the Little Haiti Cultural at 8 p.m. A second show will be on Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. All proceeds will benefit local schools of the arts and community-based programs. Its been almost 10 years since I graduated from Northwestern and joined Alvin Ailey Dance Theater II, but at first I thought I wanted to be an actor not a dancer, he said. But Shannon Haynes and Michelle Murray [the former dance department chair of Northwesterns PAVAC Magnet Dance program] saw something in me. After two summer internships with Ailey and Dance Theatre of Harlem I was hooked.

Show will feature a tribute to Trayvon Martin

Rolle choreographed all of the pieces for the production and is especially excited about the opening dance, Confessions, which is a special tribute honoring Trayvon Martin. It is one of the strongest pieces of the evening and has a lot to do with real situations that Blacks face every day. Each dancer will tell their own story and it is highly emotional. Rolle will be joined by Haynes, Anita Dardone and Jarrett Rashad each in the role of principal dancer. Still being a dancer and choreographer has its challenges. We work hard to get our bodies ready for the rigors of dance but unless you do hip-hop, street or b-boy dance, you still tend to be pegged in ways that arent fair, he said. When asked if he connected with the fictitious Leroy, made famous in the 70s dance movie Fame, Rolle laughed and then he does. He was a metrosexual kind of brother who loved dance and didnt care what his friends said thats me in a nutshell, he added. People have a hard time defining my style because I fuse all of my training into something unique. And they have an even harder time defining me. Rolle has made a name for himself since leaving Northwestern. He was featured in the Broadway version of The Lion King, starred on So You Think You Can Dance and was a member of the Philadanco Dance Company. He hopes to make dance more accessible to urban youth by raising funds so they can receive the proper training. My family could not afford to pay for my training but I was fortunate to have the support of Range and Portier funeral homes when I a teen, he said. There is so much talent in Liberty City and Little Haiti we have to encourage our children to go after their dreams. Find out more about Rolle at www.tyrellrolle.com. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com