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The Opulence of Integrity, photo Robert Mayer

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INSPIRIT Dance Company Premieres “The Opulence of Integrity” at Middlebury College March 15–16

February 28, 2013

New Dance Work is Inspired by the Life and Legend of Muhammad Ali


Middlebury, VT—Choreographer and Middlebury College dance faculty member Christal Brown brings her dance company INSPIRIT to Middlebury College in March to premiere their new work, The Opulence of Integrity. Inspired by the life and legend of Muhammad Ali, the performance incorporates elements of boxing, hip hop, martial arts, and modern dance, and an original sound score by Farai Malianga. Two public performances will be presented by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series on March 15 and 16, after a week-long residency of activities and master classes on campus.


The Opulence of Integrity is a four-movement, evening-length work inspired by Ali’s career as a boxer, and his life as a social activist, public martyr, and human being. Brown notes, “The work deploys an eclectic movement vernacular to illustrate the turmoil of a life infused by divinity, yet misinterpreted by humanity.” The performance is also an exploration of the homogeneous inner struggle for identity as it pertains to men of color in the United States, with an intimate look at the trappings that continually prohibit freedom. Brown dedicates the work “to her father, brother, and uncle—who fought but did not win—and to her own son, whose battle has not yet begun. To be born branded by history, burdened by responsibility, and inspired towards greatness requires a committed heart and an opulence of integrity.”


INSPIRIT Dance Company will offer residency activities throughout the week prior to the premiere, including two master classes and a public lecture-demonstration. First, company members will give a beginner/intermediate technique master class on Tuesday, March 12, at 9:30 A.M., followed by an intermediate/advanced master class on Wednesday, March 13 at 2:50 P.M., both at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The master classes are free, but space is limited; participants should pre-register by calling the Dance program at (802) 443-5245.


Patrons can learn more about The Opulence of Integrity and Brown’s creative process at the free lecture/demonstration about the work on Wednesday, March 13 at 4:30 P.M. at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. At the reception afterwards, Professor of Film and Media Culture Leger Grindon will sign copies of his book “Knockout: The Boxer and Boxing in American Cinema.”

christalbrown-headshotChristal Brown is a choreographer, educator, performer, writer, and activist. She received her BFA in dance and minor in business from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Brown has toured domestically and internationally with companies such as the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and Urban Bush Women. Brown is also the founder and executive director of INSPIRIT, a performance ensemble and educational conglomerate dedicated to bringing female choreographers together to collaborate and show new work, expanding the views of women of all ages. (The Opulence of Integrity represents a departure from INSPIRIT’s usual milieu—it is Brown’s first foray into working with an all-male ensemble.) Brown also launched a nationwide youth initiative for teen girls called “Project: BECOMING” and developed a codified technique called “Liquid Strength.” Brown has been a resident artist of Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center. She is currently an assistant professor of dance at Middlebury College.

INSPIRIT and The Opulence of Integrity at Middlebury are made possible with support from the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series, the Dance Program, and the Committee on the Arts. The associated residency activities are made possible by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts.

The Opulence of Integrity performances are Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, 2013, at 8:00 P.M. each evening in the Dance Theatre of the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located on the Middlebury College campus, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Ample free parking is available. Concert tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to

All photos Robert Mayer

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax