NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new ballet company called The Black Iris Project is making its debut this week.

The mission of the the company is to tell new stories of the black experience through the precise and demanding art of classical ballet, WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving reported. 

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Founder Jeremy McQueen said they’re starting with an epic.

“We are creating a ballet about Nelson Mandela’s life,” he said.

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That’s right… the life of Nelson Mandela. The ballet is called “Madiba,” Mandela’s clan name, and is set to a score of the same title by symphonic composer Carman Moore.

The work of art will include all the traditional elements, including ballerinas en pointe partnered by strong men, steeped in classic technique.

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The Black Iris Project is at New York Live Arts on West 19th Street and runs through Thursday night.