Thumbnail of speaker Ja' Malik.


Ja' Malik

Artistic and Executive Director of Madison Ballet

Artistic and Executive Director of Madison Ballet. With a 25 year career as a performing artist dancing with Oakland Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, BalletX and Ballet Hispanico to name a few. An award winning evolving choreographer from Harlem NY, who creates works based on real life experiences. Minding the gap between the elite perception of ballet and what he views as the reality of ballet for a modern world. Rooted in respect for the classical training while pushing the physically emotional aspect of dancer audience connection through the language of contemporary  ballet movement.

Having created works on such companies as Madison Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, Houston Contemporary Dance Company & American Repertory Ballet among others.

The 2023/24 season of Madison Ballet marks his second season as Artistic Director for more info visit

Speaking in

Bridging the Divide: The Arts as a Catalyst for Inclusive Community

Day 2: November 15, 2023 | 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m., Arts Panel

An annual Arts-centered panel presented in collaboration between the Division of the Arts and DDEEA that delves into the intersection of the Arts with the annual theme of the Diversity Forum, and with UW Madison’s faculty, staff, students and community members. 

This year, our panel of advocates, artists, creatives, designers, and cultural practitioners explores the arts’ profound impact on fostering belonging, essential for flourishing and inclusive communities. We delve into:

1) how the arts embrace differences, celebrate similarities, and cultivate belonging.
2) the intersection of art, diversity, and community practice, highlighting scholar-artists and practitioners.
3) the arts’ powerful role in fostering unity and understanding.

Discover how the arts empower UW Madison’s faculty, staff, students, and community members, elevating cultural activities beyond aesthetics and promoting harmony through diversity. Explore how ‘Artful Connections’ negotiates access versus a sense of belonging.