“To be creative and move naked in the truth demands vulnerability, resilience, humility, courage, forgiveness and the ability to be subjected to judgment and criticism. While living, moving and present, choose to shine.”
Anjanée (pronounced “ahn-jah-NAY”) N. Bell is the founder and artistic director of Bellan. As a designer, choreographer and visionary, Bell brings together artists from many different disciplines – dance, music, poetry, fashion and visual arts – to produce dynamic collaborations across the entire spectrum of the arts and business community.
Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, Anjanée is deeply connected to her community and education. She received her early training at local dance studios, attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and graduated from North Carolina Central University. Bell went on to teach contemporary dance at Ninth Street Dance, Nina’s School of Dance, Durham and Wake County public schools and taught and developed youth and adult movement classes at Irwin Holmes Recreation Center at Campus Hills in Durham.
Anjanée advanced her ballet, modern and jazz dance studies at the internationally-acclaimed Alvin Ailey School and Merce Cunningham School in New York. Bell’s most noted performances include Angelitos Negros choreographed by Donald McKayle, The Creation choreographed by Carmen de Lavallade and Tribute to a Legacy choreographed by Chuck Davis. She has also performed at the internationally acclaimed American Dance Festival in Durham, NC and with Pilobolus Dance Theater veteran Gaspard Louis. Bell’s talents have been seen on various Triangle stages that include Duke University’s Page and Reynold’s Industries Theater, the historic Carolina Theatre of Durham, St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation in Durham, Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill and Greensboro Cultural Arts Center.
In 2005, Bell spent a year abroad, dividing her time between Spain and Mexico, an experience that fueled her fire and passion for a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach to artistic development and performance. In 2006 she returned to Durham to establish CAPITA Foundation for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that promotes multicultural arts education, dance training, and holistic wellness. The establishment of Bellan Contemporary Dance Theatre in 2009, Bellan Performance Centre in 2010 and the development of the signature production Birth of Existence Project, mark Bell’s ambitious plans to: 1) assert the value of the arts in our culture, 2) create a multi-faceted artistic experience for the community, 3) provide a home for the performing and fine arts and 4) enable movers from diverse backgrounds to realize their individual creative potential through rigorous performance-based training programs.
Bellan welcomes people of all ages to experience the beauty and discipline of a professional theatre company, and supports the work of emerging and master movers, choreographers, musicians, and artists. As an artist, Anjanée strives to create edgy, athletic, and thought-provoking performances fueled by passion, designed to bring the audience along for an intellectually and emotionally alive experience. “I want to provide interdisciplinary, multicultural, collaborative programs that will foster the work of new and established artists and create a nurturing environment for all people, young and old, beginner or advanced, to learn and grow as performers and human beings,” says Bell.