This “Musicians as Activists” panel will feature tap dancer and choreographer Michela Marino Lerman and Love Movement’s music director Russell Hall. Lerman and Hall are two of the founding members of The Blacksmiths, a coalition of artist-activists that formed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder to use the arts to support direct action and civic engagement in service of Black liberation and equity.
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This “Musicians as Activists” panel will feature tap dancer and choreographer Michela Marino Lerman and Love Movement’s music director Russell Hall. Lerman and Hall are two of the founding members of The Blacksmiths, a coalition of artist-activists that formed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder to use the arts to support direct action and civic engagement in service of Black liberation and equity. Together, Lerman and Hall will share their experiences as artist-activists within Black Lives Matter movement and discuss the critical role artists have to play in social justice movements around the world.
Michela Marino Lerman Bio
Michela Marino Lerman is an internationally acclaimed tap dance artist, performer, choreographer, educator, and bandleader. HuffPo calls her a “hurricane of rhythm” and the New York Times declares her a “prodigy” and describes her dancing as “flashes of brilliance.” She is a proud student of Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Leroy Myers and Marion Coles.
In 2017 Lerman conceived, co-created, choreographed, and starred in “This Joint is Jumpin’”, which made its debut at Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Other Palace, in London’s West End. She is Associate Producer of the new documentary “American Tap,” an intimate look at tap dance’s roots in American cultural history. Lerman is also a member of the band Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, performing and touring regularly, in addition to performing with an impressive list of music and dance icons, among them Wynton Marsalis, Savion Glover, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Roy Hargrove, Anna Deavere Smith, Benny Golson, Barry Harris, and Marcus Roberts.
With a teaching career that was sparked by a master class she gave at age 15, Lerman has since taught in more than 15 countries, 30 tap and dance festivals, and numerous universities including Yale and Tulane. Sharing the rich history of tap dance through education is deeply rooted in all her work.
Love Movement is a consortium of like-minded artists who work at the intersection of Jazz and Tap Dancing, utilizing the power of these two original American art forms to educate, entertain, and enlighten the general public. Love Movement raises collective and individual awareness of the power of Love in our lives by helping us understand the levels and stages of Love we experience throughout life, from familial love to self-love, realization and acceptance, to protest and prayer, to spiritual love, and romantic love. All can lead to greater self-understanding and fulfillment. Love Movement achieves these goals by interacting with the general public through live and recorded performances, classes and other programming that bring these ideas to life.
Russell Hall bio
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Russell Hall began his journey as an actor from the tender age of 3. Performing in Jamaican adaptations of popular musicals to serious prose, he was destined to take the stage. Everything changed when he migrated to the United States in 2007. Under the tutelage of The Commodores, he discovered the bridge between the world of drama and the world of music. He progressed quickly from the electric bass to the double bass through the rigorous programs of The Dillard Center for the Arts and The Juilliard School. Now, he is revered as one of the most in demand artist in New York City, performing with some of the biggest names in music, dance and film. His work is featured on the Grammy nominated album “My Favorite Things” by Joey Alexander, “Motherless Brooklyn”, a film by Edward Norton which was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Score, and HBO’s “Masterclass Series” which feature Wynton Marsalis as a master teacher which was nominated for an Emmy. Russell’s own work has been acknowledged with prestige in some of the most renowned venues and festivals around the world such as The Appel Room, The St. Lucia Jazz Festival, The Apollo, The Marciac Jazz Festival and many more. His most recent album, “The Feeling Of Romance”, is available on all platforms.