African American Dance Company helps IU sophomore Alexis Beverly grow


Participating in the African American Dance Company has already been a journey of exploration and growth for Indiana University sophomore Alexis Beverly. Now, she’s poised to take an even bigger step in her personal development.

A neuroscience major from Indianapolis, Beverly has been a part of the ensemble—a course in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) and one of three performance ensembles in the African American Arts Institute (AAAI), a program within IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA)—since her freshman year. Dancing isn’t anything new for Beverly, but Professor Iris Rosa, director of the dance company, has opened her eyes to how it can help learn in other ways.

“I’ve been dancing since I was a little kid, probably about 3 or 4 years old, and I’ve been dancing in a group since I was 8. Prior to IU, I mostly did hip-hop and jazz, so it had some similarities to what Professor Rosa does, but I wasn’t technically trained in ballet or anything on a stage,” explained Beverly. “Through the dance company, I’ve learned more about myself, being comfortable with my body, and the African aesthetic. We’re a really diverse group with people from different ethnic backgrounds.

“At first, I didn’t believe that we would get the opportunity to go to China, so when Professor Rosa told us that it was definitely happening, it was really amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to China, so to be able to dance and share my culture with people who may not know much about it is going to be exciting."