Artistic Director

Germaul Barnes (he/him/they) began his early training at South Mountain High School of the Arts, Phoenix School of Ballet, Ballet Arizona, and local Black nightclubs in his hometown Phoenix, Arizona. Barnes continued his education at the University of the Arts – Philadelphia. He went on to dance with Group Motions Dance Company, Philadanco, Pacific Conservatory Theater, Pilobolus, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Joan Miller Players, and Tolada Dance Company in Berlin, Germany. Barnes is a former dancer and current répétiteur for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Currently, he is a full-time dance instructor at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and curator for Contemporary Improvisation for Black Men.

He has served as a visiting professor in residence at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Skidmore College, and as guest artist at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, Fordham University BFA Program at The Ailey School, and Joffrey Ballet School. Barnes sits on the advisory board for the Next Generation – International Association of Blacks in Dance, is Artist Mentor for Black Diaspora at Gibney-NYC, is a board member of The Flourish in Ensley, AL, and is an Alabama Dance Council member. 

In 2015, Barnes choreographed Marley – A Musical, based on the life and music of the reggae superstar Bob Marley. Marley was written & directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Collaboration with musicians, visual artists, poets, and other creatives is a significant component of Barnes’ artistic expression. He has worked with such artists as Thollem McDonas, Russian National Wind Quintet, Cameron Carpenter, Gabri Christa, Greg Tate, Paul Sullivan, Harry Feiner, Maxim Rubtsov, Yogi Dada, Ashley M. Jones, Anthony Williams, Brian Raphael Nabors, Jon Osborne, and Elvie Schooly, and YaTande Hunter.  In his long-time collaboration with South African composer Bongani Ndodana, Barnes choreographed, danced, and directed Uhambo, an opera oratorio in Graham Town, South Africa, and later choreographed the opera Lâ’Histoire du Soldat and co-directed The Orphan Boy with Vivine Scarlett in Toronto, Canada. 

His choreography has been presented throughout the United States in a diverse range of locations: Central Park SummerStages; Lincoln Center Out of Doors; 92nd Street Y; Institute of Contemporary Arts Boston; Dorothy Jemison Day Theater; Alabama Ballet; Birmingham-Southern College; Alvin Ailey/Fordham School; Judson Memorial Church; Aaron Davis Hall; P.S.122; Danspace Project/St. Mark Church; DanceNow; Saratoga Arts Gallery; Dixon Place; HarlemStages; Billie Holiday Theater; Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts; and Jacobs Pillow. His work has also been shown in Belarus, Ghana, Russia, Poland, London, England, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Portugal, Salvador Baha, and Germany. 

Additional Accomplishments

  • 2018 Proclamation from Senator Jesse E. Hamilton
  • 2018 Citation from the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams honoring his dedication as an artist
  • BESSIE Award recipient, 2020-21
  • Dance Foundation Artist Residency, 2010-20
  • Restoration Arts Artist Residency & Director of Programming
  • Arts International Grantee
  • Appointed Artistic Director of Southern DanceWorks in 2021