Iquail Shaheed. Photo by Rachel Neville.
Dance Iquail. Photo by Rachel Neville. Pictured: Iquail Shaheed and Allison Sale.
Dance Iquail. Photo by Rachel Neville. Pictured: Iquail Shaheed, Allison Sale, and company.
Dance Iquail's artistic director, Iquail Shaheed, seeks to create dance projects that tell stories not frequently heard in the performing arts, and to engage directly with audiences drawn from Mantua, the West Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up. Shaheed wants to hone a process of research-based choreographic creation that translates issues of struggle and social injustice into a relevant movement vocabulary. "Dance can and should be a vehicle for conversations about social issues," writes Shaheed, "and it can and should reflect the experiences of many different communities, rather than stagnating in a conceptual progression that is so concerned with form it ultimately renders itself irrelevant." Shaheed received training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, the Paul Taylor School, the Juilliard School, Pennsylvania Ballet, International Ballet Theatre School, University of the Arts, and Purchase College SUNY, Shaheed hopes to make his work not only relevant but also urgent by creating choreography inspired by true stories.