Alumni Spotlight: Jamal Story

Dance and journalism alum Jamal Story (B.F.A., B.A. ’99) is a successful dancer and choreographer with concert tours and Broadway shows under his belt, as well as two published novels.

Dance alum Jamal Story (B.F.A. '99) is a dancer, choreographer, author and advocate.
Dance and journalism alum Jamal Story (B.F.A., B.A. '99) is a dancer, choreographer, author and advocate.

Jamal Story (B.F.A., B.A. ’99) is this week’s featured alum in our new Alumni Spotlight series for the This Week at Meadows e-newsletter. Each week, a different Meadows alum will be highlighted for their accomplishments post-graduation.



The Meadows experience encompasses so much more than what students learn in their courses; the professional and life skills they pick up during their time in the school can be just as beneficial for their future as the knowledge from their majors. Jamal Story, a double major in both the Division of Dance and Communication Arts (now the Division of Journalism), channeled everything he learned during his time at Meadows into a creating successful career in the dance industry.


“The most singular lesson I took from Meadows involves navigating structures and negotiating ways to juggle and honor more than one contract at once,” says Story, who often balances multiple professional obligations simultaneously. “It taught me so many things about time management, project accountability and creative management.”


These professional skills came in handy as Story was navigating his early career in the dance performance industry. In addition to dancing with acclaimed choreographer Donald Byrd/theGroup and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, he was also a dancer for Madonna’s “Drowned World Tour” in 2001 and an aerialist and dancer on Cher’s “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour” from 2002-2005.


Story believes that working in various corners of the dance landscape opened up doors for jobs he otherwise may not have gotten. This ability to seamlessly transition and multi-task continued to be a strength as he took on the role of dance captain in The Color Purple and Motown: The Musical on Broadway.


“As a dance captain, my off-stage gig was helping to manage all the movement text in the show, from notating dancers, singers and principals on stage and teaching new ones as they came into the show,” Story explains of the job’s responsibility. “Dancing in a Broadway show is a bit more of a grueling daily grind than concert tours.”


In addition to his success as a dancer and choreographer, Story has published two books: 12:34 – A Slice Novel and Toss in the Ether. He confesses that he was a writer long before dance chose him, and it was this passion that led him to add his dual major in TV/Radio communications (with an emphasis in journalism) while at Meadows. While 12:34 is a book of interconnected short stories born from his love of creative writing, Toss in the Ether draws on his experiences in the dance industry and is Story’s ode to the black concert dance community of companies like the one in the book.


These days, Story continues to draw on his time as a professional dancer and choreographer by doing dance advocacy work. He has hosted three installments of a webinar series that will live on the Entertainment Community Fund website as a resource for dancers that crash courses them in basic concepts, unions, contracts, agency and longevity. It is Story’s hope that his knowledge and experiences can help other dancers learn how to navigate the industry for an ultimately fair and successful career in dance.

Learn more about the Division of Dance here and the Division of Journalism here.