Vershawn has served as an adjunct faculty member and facilitated residencies both nationally and internationally, at City Colleges of Chicago, the Dance Center of Columbia College, The University of Chicago, AS220, Knox College, and the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda. Current touring work includes a new solo, “#SAYHERNAME”, an examination of the criminalization of female black activists Angela Davis and Assata Shakur and the connection to the arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland and “Written on the Flesh” her second evening length company work. NewCity Magazine recently selected Ward as one of the “Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago”. Committed to uplifting the work of emerging artists, she also curates La Femme: a bi-annual, four-day festival, presented in the month of March in celebration of Women’s History Month, that brings the work of black/African/African Diaspora female choreographers from around the country to Chicago stages. Ward also directs the company’s annual Dance4Peace|Community Hug Awards Concert, one of the few non-competitive youth dance festivals in the city that also honors three individuals from the community that are committed to impacting the lives of youth in Chicago through the arts.
Founded in July 2008 and based in Chicago, Illinois, Red Clay Dance is a professional touring company that creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance which fuses traditional West African movement with contemporary dance forms. The company is a trendsetter for uniting elite professional dance creation and performance with a social consciousness that spills from the stage to the community. Red Clay possesses the unique ability to offer authentic engagement for dance through creating and performing work within marginalized communities. As a company, they embrace cross-cultural collaborations and have a clear vision to strengthen their local community through collaborative projects between African and Afro-Diaspora artists. Since its inception, Red Clay Dance has created and produced original works that have appeared in arts festivals around the world such as RAD Fest (2012), Dance Chicago (2011,2013), Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival (2011,2013), Dance Transmissions Festival/Uganda (2010), A.W.A.R.D.S Show/Joyce Soho NYC (2009), The Yard/Martha’s Vineyard (2007), L’Ecole Des Sables/Senegal (2008). The company has also self-produced six evening length concerts, “Written on the Flesh” (2016), “#SAYHERNAME” (2015) “ri’flekSHens in 6″ (2015), ” Transcending” (2013), “Celebrating Our Legacy” (2012) and “New Beginnings” (2011).