Visionary for Black Writers Retreat Program
ELLENA SCHOOP is a visionary and founding member of the
Givens Black Writers Retreat Program who is interested in bridging the gap
of what is missing. For her, what was missing was a network of black
diaspora writers to collaborate, connect, and support this writing aesthetic. Ellena is a West African dancer, choreographer, poet, and playwright who writes dramatic works with social, economic, and historical subject matter driven through personal characters. She is also a Givens
Foundation Literary Artist.
Below is the first performance at Penumbra Theater
Ellena is also a founding member of
Uhuru Dancers in Atlanta, where for fifteen years she studied traditional West African dance from Mali, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and the Caribbean. Ellena has performed at the National Black Arts Festival and has choreographed for Saint Paul–based Steppingstone Theatre productions, including Almost to Freedom, A Lion's Tale, and Ruby. Ellena and Maia Maiden were featured in the 2008 Momentum: New Dance Works annual collaboration by the Walker Arts Center and Southern Theater.
Ellena feels work as artist and activist is never done. Ellena collaborated and performed in When We Look, a performance work about women, genocide, and the body count of war. She has worked with MaMa mOsAiC on Bride/Price and Black and Blue No More.