Germaine Ingram

2010 Pew Fellow

Germaine Ingram, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“My chief motivation as a tap dancer is to use the jazz tap form to pique people’s imagination, curiosity, emotions, and intellect through exploration of themes that are literary, historical, and social.”

At age 33, Germaine Ingram (b. 1947) took up dance under the tutelage and mentorship of the late LaVaughn Robinson (a 1992 Pew Fellow in the Arts), a Philadelphia tap legend. Since then, she has become a major figure in contemporary jazz tap, following in the tradition of her forbearers while breaking new ground in the art form through oral history, filmmaking, and stage production, in addition to performance and choreography. Ingram’s work addresses social justice and historical narratives, as well as various aspects of the African-American experience, through projects such as Parallel Destinies. This work in progress ruminates on the recent discovery of George Washington’s slave quarters near the site of the Liberty Bell, where nine enslaved African Americans were held. “I aim to exploit tap’s capacity to tell stories and illuminate cultural roots and connections,” Ingram says. “I aspire to stimulate meaningful discussion about the work itself.” An internationally known solo performer, Ingram has received fellowships and awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Independence Foundation, and the Leeway Foundation. Ingram’s project grants in dance awarded support her work bridging movement practice with social issues. Her artistic practice strives to situate dance as part of a larger public discourse, serving as another method to uncover stories effaced in official historical records concerning race, politics, and social relationships dealing with class.

Parallel Destinies, 2010. Dancer/choreographer Germaine Ingram, composer/musician Bobby Zankel and visual artist John Dowell worked with the Philadelphia Folklore Project to create a multimedia performance piece commemorating the nine African-Americans enslaved by President George Washington in the President’s House at 6th and Market Street in Philadelphia in the 1790s.


Collaborators & Colleagues

Rochelle Steiner is a curator, writer, public art producer, and professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California in the Roski School of Art and Design, where she was dean from 2010 to 2012. In 2015, Steiner served as a panelist in Exhibitions & Public Interpretation.

A number of projects from grantees and Pew Fellows have garnered extensive national and regional press coverage in recent weeks.

Grants & Grantees

Merián Soto continued to develop the Branch Dance Series, a deeply meditative, multimedia performative process that became the basis for her piece in the 2009 FringeArts Festival.

Grants & Grantees

Theatre Exile explored ways to dramatize the story of Frank Rizzo, a polarizing Philadelphia political icon, with a special emphasis on group discussions with longtime residents of South Philadelphia.

Questions of Practice

We asked the 2013 Pew Fellow poets to share samples of their work. Watch Emily Abendroth read a selection from her poem “Always Hook a Gift Horsey Dead in the Kisser [An Invocation].”

Grants & Grantees

Nicole Cousineau (Pew Fellow, 2007) makes multimedia dance theater based in strong, rigorous movement investigation.

Collaborators & Colleagues

David Kiehl became curator of prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993. Previously, he curated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Wolfsonian Foundation in Miami Beach.

Grants & Grantees

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, produced a two-part program recreating a royal christening that occurred in Stuttgart, Germany in 1616.

Grants & Grantees

Trapeta B. Mayson is a poet and a 2002 Pew Fellow. She serves as the executive director of Historic Germantown.

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education commissions art that more directly fulfills its missions of land preservation, restoration, and education.

The Pennsylvania Ballet acquired William Forsythe’s contemporary dance masterpiece In the middle, somewhat elevated.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, CAConrad wins the Believer Poetry Award, Geoff Sobelle’s play The Object Lesson heads to Australia, and Opera Philadelphia presents Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain.