Los Angeles – Dance has always been a catalyst for empowerment. As a powerful tool of artistic expression, its potency can liberate the viewer and incite change. After being bombarded with news and images per the recent upsurge in senseless killings, from Trayvon Martin to Eric Garner to Sandra Bland, Mia Shanté knew she had to do something. Her spirit was calling her to dance out the trauma, the pain and the hurt. Shanté gathered together an ensemble of some of Los Angeles’ top pole dancers to participate in a dance ritual to Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” and has released a performance video entitled, “Old Fight. New Dance: Black Lives Matter.” at https://vimeo.com/channels/miashanteproductions .

“Old fight. New Dance: Black Lives Matter,” quakes with bold defiance while resonating with heartfelt compassion. Expresses Shanté, “In particular, I envisioned this as a piece for black women.   We haven’t really been highlighted during this movement. We have had to mourn the deaths of our fathers, husbands, brothers and children and often we are there to build the men who have been victimized back up. This video is to let people know that as pole dancers, we hear them, we feel them, we are them and to still hold on to hope. Black lives do matter.”

Filmed in a warehouse location, eight pole dancers move fearless and graceful between vignettes of protest footage interspersed with passages of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech over Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us.” The pole dancers, dressed in black, move in sync and solidarity, passing through pain to triumph.

“Old Fight. New Dance: Black Lives Matter,” was directed by Shanté for Mia Shanté Productions. Pole artist/performer Phoenix Kazree choreographed the production. Kazree, an Alvin Ailey American Dance School, Joffrey Ballet and “The Lion King” alumni, holds pole champion titles from around the world. Brandon Deese served as the director of photography. The pole dance collaboration includes some of the industry’s top polers including Candace Cane, Divine Em, Jamé Elis, Kelly Yvonne, Kitty Marie LaVeaux, Melody Amber-Marie, Onyx Black, Sasja Lee and Tehera Nesfield.

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Left to right back row: Sasja “Fierce” Lee, , Kelly Yvonne, Mia Shanté and Divine Em Left to right front row: Jamé Elis, Tehera Nesfield, Onyx Black and Candace Cane

A Chicago native, Mia Shanté aka The Vegan Bodybuilding Pole Dancer, is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a 2014 National Figure Competitor, a 2015 Pacific Pole Championships Level 4 Dramatic Champion and most recently the 2015 Paragon Latin America Championships 1st Runner Up. She is also a member of Kelly Yvonne Productions’ Girl Next Door cast, the first and longest running pole dance revue in the world featuring top ranked local and international pole stars. With a background in television production, Shanté has combined pole with production to produce “Old fight. New Dance: Black Lives Matter,” the first release from Mia Shanté Productions.

Shanté’s interpretational dance concept at https://vimeo.com/channels/miashanteproductions indeed moves the Black life movement forward. Dance with her at @justmia23 on Instagram.