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Montgomery Celebrates First African-American-led Nutcracker Ballet Performance Presented by SQAD

Montgomery Celebrates First African-American-led Nutcracker Ballet Performance Presented by SQAD
Photo Credited To: Jabril Williams

By: Xquisite Marketing

The city of Montgomery, Alabama recently witnessed a historic moment in its ballet scene that left audiences enchanted and captivated. The Symphony Q Academy of Dance (SQAD), the first independently African-American woman-owned dance school in the city, hosted its 2nd Annual NutQracker performance. Not only was this performance exceptional for its entrancing blend of traditional ballet, innovative choreography, and Yuletide enchantment, but it was also the first in Montgomery’s history to feature an all-black cast.

The lead roles in this timeless tale were brought to life by Lauren Rudolph, a SQAD alumna, who played Clara and Quintin Moore, a dancer from Troy University, who played the Nutcracker Prince. Demonstrating the inclusive ethos of SQAD, Carver Elementary Magnet Dancers, under the direction of Mrs. Keyana Ali, were featured as brave battle soldiers. Rooted in tradition yet sprinkled with a unique vibe, SQAD’s NutQracker upheld the classical form of Nutcracker while effortlessly infusing it with a fresh, modern perspective.

Behind SQAD’s groundbreaking production lies the passion and dedication of its founder, Laquangela Littleton. A native of Opelika, AL and a fifteen-year resident of Montgomery, Littleton’s journey into the realm of professional ballet started at Alabama State University (ASU), where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

During her time at ASU, she performed several principal roles with the ASU Dance Company. She also received the chance to expand her dance education abroad for three weeks with Eventa Danza in Pietrasanta, Italy, and she attended prestigious events such as the Black College Dance Exchange, the American College Dance Festival, and the International Association of Blacks in Dance.

Littleton’s training did not stop there, as she attended dance intensives with renowned establishments like Joffrey Ballet School, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and the Alabama Dance Theater. Working closely with ballet luminaries like George Faison, Misty Copeland, and Desmond Richardson, Littleton developed extensive expertise in Ballet, Modern, Horton, Contemporary, Jazz, and competitive dance.

This distinguished ballerina’s passion for dance education is evident in her accomplished career, which includes teaching and choreographic stints at esteemed dance studios across the state of Alabama and, dance festivals like Alabama Summer Dance Intensive, Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Broadway South Summer Camps, just to name a few.

Moreover, Littleton’s choreographic works in competitive dance have received critical acclaim, earning nominations for national conferences. Her professional ballet performances include those with Montgomery Ballet, Lindsay Benton Dance Project, principal dancer in James R. Atkinson’s Nutcracker Atoomba, and film performance in the 2016 Ang Lee film “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”.

Driven by her passion to give back to the Montgomery community, Littleton founded the Symphony Q Academy of Dance to inspire, motivate, and create opportunities for aspiring dancers. Her vision has been reflected perfectly in her words after the NutQracker’s successful run, “We’ve made history and inspired many with this year’s production and we are so excited about the future”.

The success of the SQAD’s NutQracker is a testament not only to Littleton’s artistic mastery but also for her commitment to diversity and inclusion in the arts. The Symphony Q Academy of Dance, under the dedicated leadership of Littleton, has already marked its space in Montgomery’s ballet scene, making a profound statement about the beauty and importance of an inclusive dance community. 

For more information on the Symphony Q Academy of Dance, visit www.sqacademyofdance.com. Additionally, to learn more about their inspiring journey, follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/sqadmgm and Instagram www.instagram.com/sqadmgm.

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