The Featured Artists of Secret Garden Rendezvous

Our 3rd annual gala, Revolutionaries in the Dark, is coming up this Sunday, October 13th, at The Rickhouse! We are excited to present our Featured Artists for this special edition of the gala, themed Secret Garden – defined as new beginnings and growing to be seen. The elegant extravaganza will include wine tastings, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, a secret guest speaker, performances by ShaLeigh Dance Works, and an incredible line up of Artists!


In a recent interview with Triangle Arts Review, ShaLeigh explained why featuring these artists are such an important vision for the Gala: “We call the Gala Revolutionaries in the Dark to keep powerful art experiences at the center of a broader conversation about cultural values and the intellectual, aesthetic, and social purpose of making art. Our annual platform is also intended to celebrate other artists that are literally shining a light in dark places by challenging many of society’s deepest assumptions. This work calls us to action, and we want to continue to participate in these shared efforts for deep and lasting social change. Our annual fundraising campaign gives us the opportunity to make a statement of advocacy for the arts that is deeply meaningful to why we create the work we do from our productions to our movement language and our engagement programs.”

We are so excited to have World Record Juggler and Drag Queen Jude LeQueen join us for our gala! Don’t miss your chance to see this amazing human perform! Jude says, “SDW’s mission to promote inclusion in the arts is something I value as a performer. It’s always great to see supportive spaces being created, ultimately allowing for creative growth.”

Jude LeQueen is a world record holding juggler, drag queen, and visual artist based in Apex, NC. Through dramatic performances that mix avant-garde circus with theatre, LeQueen creates an immersive experience that is at the forefront of modern circus arts. Jude LeQueen learned how to juggle at the age of six, and has never lost the passion for performing. In 2017 and 2018, LeQueen competed in the finals of the International Jugglers’ Association Stage Championships. From 2017-2019 LeQueen has also broken over 20 juggling world records, and continues to push the boundaries of the art form. Currently majoring in graphic design at UNCG, he seeks to combine elements of visual language into performance. Using design and aesthetic to create a futuristic take on a classic circus style.

We are thrilled to have the one and only Poetry Fox join us at our gala again this year! Don’t miss your chance to get a personally written poem by Chris Vitiello! Chris says, “ShaLeigh and her company aren’t just remarkable performers; they’re remarkable people. Whether I’m collaborating with the company in rehearsals or just going to one of their performances as an audience member, I know I’m coming away from the experience with something positive and meaningful.”

Chris Vitiello is a writer, performer, and arts organizer. As the Poetry Fox, he writes poems on-demand on vintage typewriters at all manner of events. His poetry books include Obedience (Ahsahta, 2012) and Irresponsibility (Ahsahta, 2008).

We are so excited to have Culinary Alchemist Syrus Lune joining us! He is a performance artist that creates an artwork out of food that is both edible and beautiful. The piece of art he creates onstage at the gala will be available for purchase! Syrus says, “I’m supporting this event because of the theme for the show. New beginnings for Syrus as I transition into making my dream a reality.”

Syrus is a culinary alchemist. He began cooking around the age of 6 alongside his grandmother. They spent time together writing menus and developing recipes. The first time he stepped in the kitchen she explained the importance of being able to cook for himself. Fourteen years later, Syrus graduated from Johnson and Wales, hungry for new experiences. Now he has over 10 years of restaurant experience to use as he grows as an artist. His intentions are to push the boundaries of food service while displaying his emotional connection with the process of cooking. His passion is to create a unique experience for you to try a dish and also leave feeling spiritually full.

We are so happy to have DJ LonelyGirl joining us this year! Although rather new to the DJ scene, Lizzie (DJ LonelyGirl) is no stranger to the Triangle area. Currently based in Durham, NC, her love and affinity for music has been lifelong. “After studying theory and learning multiple musical instruments, becoming a DJ seemed like the next step in my relationship with music,” she says. Her mantra has always been: no matter what life throws at you, music will always be there to lift you up. She is excited to support ShaLeigh Dance Works, as she believes they share a common goal. “Like myself, the company also incorporates music to invoke emotional release, through dance. Any expressionism involving music is ethereal, universal, and makes the world a better place.” DJ LonelyGirl has performed at The Pinhook, The Fruit, Ruby Deluxe, Arcana, The Bar, and Imurj. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy DJ LonelyGirl’s music and join SDW for the closing dance party!

We are so fortunate to have a special guest artist join us at the gala on Sunday. ShaLeigh’s mom, Margaret Sue Turner Wright, will be drawing live during the event! Margaret says, “ShaLeigh has always had an enriching effect on me and on others. Her dance of life, is to behold the deeper wisdom that lives within each of us, and heals us. Nowhere else have I ever seen, the Dance of Life to come onto the center stage of life for others to know and feel that inner dance, that inner power and deep inspiration, as thru what ShaLeigh has shared and gifted to the community of these kindred dancing spirits. I support ShaLeigh as my beloved daughter, and I support her sacred work, in this Sacred journey, the Dance of Life for self and for others. I choose to document her Dance Works thru my own inner dance with paint and brush.”

More about Margaret: Margaret, Manager of Gallery 202 for 6 years, is a plein air artist and figure painter, a full time working artist and teacher, and has had her artwork featured on book covers, program covers and been commissioned for corporate marketing materials. She has exhibited at the Orange County Historical Museum and the Virginia Museum of Transportation and has a painting in the permanent collection of the Wood Brothers Museum. She is a member of the Copyist Program at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, completed Solo Exhibitions and been a featured artist for local and regional galleries. Margaret Sue is founder of regional, Lonely Arts Club Plein Air Painters, and Group 202 Figure Painters, and Co founder of Plein Air Roanoke. Her representational impressionist style of art has also been referred to as enthusiastic, bold and passionate. In 2017 and in 2018, Margaret Sue was honored to receive a nomination each year, for the Perry F. Kendig Award, sponsored by Roanoke College and Hollins University.

We are excited to have Adam Gori offering Tarot Readings for our guests. When asked about himself, Adam says, “Let’s see what the cards have to say instead: The Wheel never stops. We’re all on it, being spun ever forward. We can also see the Wheel as a representation of the cards shuffling. It’s the same thing — our lives spinning and flickering, the cards shuffling. Until we take a moment to look. We draw one card from the shuffle, one moment from the constant spinning. Then another in this case. And another. After the Wheel, we get two cards of communication. In Judgment, a call comes from above, focused downward. In The Moon, a response comes from below, focused upward. It’s a call and response. The shuffle is interrupted. A call is made, and a response returns the call to its own source. A question and an answer. That’s what we do. It’s that simple. Don’t ask me how it works. Who knows?

Adam says, “ShaLeigh gives to our community with an open heart and mind. Her courageous dancers allow us to see that heart and mind moving before us. We are so lucky to have a choreographer like ShaLeigh in our community, who seeks ways of moving in the world that are surprising and somehow mending as well as cognizant of the ways in which movement connects us all to ourselves and to one another.”

And now … about our “secret speaker” who is prompting a lot of buzz! While we cant give it away, we asked ShaLeigh if she could give us a hint, she says “If I could describe our speaker in one word, it would be ‘fearless.'” 

A few other things she let us know were that the speaker is “contagiously inspiring, an innovator, and a pioneer in new inclusive movement methodologies.” She also explained that the speaker recently served as a presenter at the Alexander Technique National Conference at Columbia University in New York City and said that “I have no doubt he will leave his mark on the world of dance and certainly will move everyone who hears him speak.”

Cant make the Gala but still want to support us?


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