2019 Revolutionaries in the Dark: BEST GALA YET!

Photo of SDW’s movement installation by Slater Mapp

From all of us at ShaLeigh Dance Works, thank you to all who joined us, volunteered, performed, donated, and supported us! We are so excited to share that our 3rd annual Revolutionaries in the Dark gala was our best attended Gala to date! Held at the prestigious Rickhouse, a retired prizery, this historic space transformed into an urban botanica thanks to the incredible decorations by Shannon Fairbanks and Paperhand Puppet Intervention. This special edition of the gala was themed Secret Garden – defined as new beginnings and growing to be seen – and we did just that! 


Photo of SDW performing The In-Between by Slater Mapp

Our one-of-a-kind annual fundraiser reflects the inclusive and innovative spirit that defines ShaLeigh Dance Works, and our success is driven by the dynamic arts community we serve. Our secret Guest Speaker, Davian Robinson, offered a fearless, shining example of why we do what we do!

Photo of Davian Robinson and Janie Desmond performing enVISION by Slater Mapp

Davian Robinson, originally from Hickory, NC, is a student, public speaker, and Paralympic athlete. Currently living in Charlotte, NC, he is completing his final year at UNC Charlotte earning degrees in Dance and Exercise Science. Davian lost his sight as a child and is breaking ground in innovative dance practices for people with low vision. Davian first met ShaLeigh Dance Works through Arts Access, a non-profit organization based in Raleigh that is dedicated to keeping the arts accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Photo of Davian Robinson performing his solo in enVISION by Slater Mapp

We were very proud to present our collaboration entitled enVISION, the finale of a three section work commissioned by Arts Access. The work intertwined the dance experiences of two individuals with mixed-abilities and the future of adaptive dance. The performance, like Davian’s unforgettable speech, reveals that through collaboration and imagination, anything is possible.

Photo of ShaLeigh Comerford performing enVISION with Janie Desmond by Slater Mapp

All proceeds for our Annual Campaign support the future of ShaLeigh Dance Works and our mission to create socially conscious dance-theatre work, expand the reach of our healing movement language, and offer engagement programs with a positive impact on the lives of others.

Photo of Davian Robinson performing enVISION with Janie Desmond by Slater Mapp


We were honored to present an incredible roster of artists for this unforgettable evening including World Record Juggler and Drag Queen Jude LeQueen and our beloved Poetry Fox creating handmade poems.

Photo of Jude LeQueen juggling by Slater Mapp

Culinary Alchemist Syrus Lune and Internationally acclaimed Pianist and Composer Alejandro Santoyo shared their talents in our main stage show. We were also honored to present chalk artist Margaret Sue Turner Wright, tarot reader Adam Gori, and DJ LonelyGirl who rocked our epic Dance Party all the way through clean up!

Photo of Alejandro Santoyo performing piano by Slater Mapp

ShaLeigh Dance Works shared four exciting dances including a humorous and at times, disturbing, series of solos entitled All of Shals; a new staging of Derivations based on the postmodern masterpiece Rosas danst Rosas; a sneak peek of our upcoming world premiere The In-Between.

Photo of SDW performing Derivations by Slater Mapp

Since 2017, we have held an annual Revolutionaries in the Dark Gala. The name comes from the desire to create a platform for artists creating socially engaged work. We want to create a platform that celebrates artists that are literally shining a light in dark places by challenging many of society’s deepest assumptions. We see our work as a cultural tool that helps to expose and humanize the emotions we feel. We are deeply inspired by those providing a voice for others who may not have another way to be heard. This work calls us to action and we want to continue to participate in these shared efforts for deep and lasting social change. Our company’s mission is to create socially conscious dance-theatre, expand the reach of our healing movement language, and offer engagement programs with positive impact on the lives of others. Our growing outreach initiatives continue to provide platforms that support other artists and organizations with similar mission driven work.

Photo of ShaLeigh Comerford speaking by Slater Mapp

We see our Gala as something that not only supports us and the work we do, but we are actively seeking to change the way artists are valued. We see this as a part of a much bigger conversation. And just as we want to create a platform for other artists shining a light in the dark and working to create change, we want to shine our light on them as well! We hope the Gala will continue to grow each year and become an event that deeply inspires us all.

Photo of SDW’s performance installation by Slater Mapp

With an uncompromising focus on artistic excellence, nurturing artists, and designing programs to empower at-risk communities, we aim to provide a concrete example of how dance can transform people’s lives and enrich society. 

Photo of ShaLeigh Comerford and Janie Desmond performing enVISION by Slater Mapp

Click Here to Find our 2019 Fundraising Campaign and choose a reward for your donation today!

From all of us at ShaLeigh Dance Works, we would like to say a special thank you to our company manager, Kayla Oelhafen; our decorations manager, Shannon Fairbanks; our marketing manager, Abby Bradetich; and our sponsorship manager, Joni Favley. Without your tireless dedication and support, none of this would have been possible.

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