Zuri Foreman is the founder of the Foreman Arts School, which opened its doors on June 24. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
mgreen@afro.com

Professional dancer and D.M.V. native Zuri Foreman is using her years of experience in the entertainment industry to further the artistic opportunities for arts appreciators of all ages in the Washington Metropolitan area.  On June 24, the dancer opened the Foreman Arts School (FAS) to serve both children and adults in various dance genres, and she founded the company with a mission in mind.

“I’m on a mission to colorize the arts,” Foreman said in a statement submitted to the AFRO. “I’m tired of being one of few Black people on stage. It’s time for a change, and it starts with our children,” the FAS Founder continued.

The conversation surrounding the need for more artists of color has been continuous, gaining momentum after the new In the Heights film, based off the Lin Manuel Miranda Broadway musical, failed to include more Afro-appearing  artists as main leads in the movie about New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which in reality is filled with Afro-Latinx residents.  While some claim the auditions were packed with more Black and Afro- Latinx artists, the lack of representation in major roles is exactly why people like Foreman are working to train more artists of color.

“Creating opportunities for them to study the arts is the first step. Many children of color just don’t have the opportunity,” Foreman said.

FAS was created in order to give children of color that “opportunity,” Foreman is referencing. 

Having served on the dance team at Bishop McNamara in Forestville, Maryland and hailing from the D.M.V. region, Foreman knows firsthand the wealth of talent in the area, that with fostering and nurturing, could bear great gifts. Foreman was afforded the opportunity to continue her arts education as a student at the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in 2016, where she majored in Dance Theatre.  Since graduating, Foreman continues to work professionally as a dancer, actress, singer, as well as arts educator, and has been featured in numerous regional theatre productions, music videos, television shows, movies and was most recently featured in the film Passing, which was picked up by Netflix.

She’s now using her training and expertise in and around New York City, to bring back home to the D.M.V., where she specifically wants to focus on offering opportunities to underserved and marginalized young people, who can work to change the White-washed nature of theatre and entertainment.

“I’m on a mission to serve the underserved and create opportunities in the arts for less fortunate children. I’m tired of being one of few Black people on stage. It’s time for a change, and it starts with our children. Creating opportunities for them to study the arts is the first step. Many children of color just don’t have the opportunity,” Foreman said

The young artist, educator and entrepreneur said FAS will provide opportunities for low-income families who might not otherwise have the ability to enroll their children in arts programming- which tends to be expensive.  FAS will provide five students with full scholarships to cover the cost of free dance classes for the summer program as well as uniforms.

“I’m on a mission to serve the underserved and create opportunities in the arts for less fortunate children,” Foreman said.

Foreman also began a GoFundMe to help raise funds for student scholarships: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-foreman-arts-school.

In addition to Foreman’s emphasis on accessible arts programming, FAS also offers a variety of dance styles for all ages, including: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Creative Movement, Hip Hop, Hand Dancing and Mommy/ Daddy and Me.

Also teaching at FAS is one of Foreman’s fellow Bishop McNamara dance team members Courtney “Bobbie” Michelle Harris, who will also provide mentorship and another perspective for students to hear from someone who comes from their stomping grounds.

For more information on the Foreman Arts School or on classes, email the institution at theforemanarts@gmail.com or find them on Facebook or Instagram at @theforemanartsschool.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor