When Malachi Kingston auditioned for Challenge's new Performing Arts Program directed by Nadine Sutherland, she immediately recognized his grace, poise and fluidity. Even without formal dance training, Sutherland recognized the natural ability that emanated from the young man. Wanting to see his full potential realized, Sutherland reached out to Dwana Smallwood, founder of the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center to secure a private dance audition.
Smallwood agreed, and late last week, Sutherland accompanied Malachi to the audition with hopes high that a door leading to formal training and dance development would open for him. Sutherland's hopes were soon answered when she received a message from Smallwood offering a scholarship and training that starts immediately. Smallwood commented on the audition saying, "[Malachi] is a wonderful, beautiful student with so much potential."
Dwana Smallwood founded her Performing Arts Center in Brooklyn following years as a principal dancer for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2009, she was invited to join the staff of Oprah's Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. After developing a robust dance company at the school, she left as the Director of Student Affairs in 2013. Oprah continued to support Smallwood in the pursuit of starting her own Performing Arts Center which opened in 2014. Vogue proclaimed Smallwood as "one of the greatest modern dancers," and she has been featured on shows such as The Today Show, Sesame Street, Good Morning America and The Kennedy Center Honors.
Malachi begins his training with Smallwood this month. Dr. Mullings and the Challenge family congratulates Malachi and thanks Nadine Sutherland for her part in providing a path to this scholar's success.