The Look of Feeling

By Slices of Lives Productions (other events)

20 Dates Through Sep 05, 2014

A celebration of American dance pioneer Denise Jefferson.

Daughter Francesca Harper explores her mother’s courageous journey, from her family's flight from Coffeeville, Mississippi, to becoming the founding Director of The Ailey School. Denise Jefferson worked closely with Alvin Ailey to elevate the once controversial institution to international acclaim.  A single mother and feminist with dreams of a life in dance, Jefferson’s accomplishments surpassed her audacious imagination. She directed The Ailey School for 26 years.

A bold and accomplished artist in her own right, Francesca Harper recreates her mother’s legacy.  A theatrical portrait emerges, as Harper recounts her mother’s journey through dance and song.


Francesca Harper is an internationally acclaimed multi-faceted artist. After being named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performing at the White House, Harper performed soloist roles with the Dance Theater of Harlem and spent several years as a principal in William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt. Her Broadway credits include Fosse, The Producers, All Shook Up, The Frogs and the Tony Award winning treasure The Color Purple. Her Principal acting roles include starring opposite Molly Ringwald in Sweet Charity and performing the role of Judith originated on Broadway by Judith Jamison in Sophisticated Ladies.
Harper has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Tanz Graz, Hubbard Street II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and her own company, The Francesca Harper Project, which was founded in 2005. The Francesca Harper Project (FHP) has toured Internationally, including the Holland Dance Festival, and Venice Biennale.  FHP was a New York Magazine critic’s pick for 2008.
Her TV appearances include two episodes of Boardwalk Empire, David Letterman and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harper also served as ballet consultant for the feature film, "Black Swan," by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, who went on to win an Oscar.

Harper is an adjunct professor at New York University, Associate Professor at Barnard College, and continues the vital role of teacher and choreographer for The Ailey School, Fordham University’s BFA Program and the Susan Batson Studio led by Award Winner Susan Batson. Most recently, she was also a featured performer in Zinnias – The Life of Clementine Hunter directed by Robert Wilson.  She was also the recipient of the Innovation and Technology Award for Louis Vuitton Reconstruction 3.0 for New York Fashion Week 2013 at Lincoln Center, and was honored with a Living History Award during Black History Month, in February, 2013.

Visit for more information

Slices of Lives Productions