just arts for sustained resistance and liberation
Dance is an act of connection with kinfolk who have been beside me and will continue with our lifelong commitment to learn and practice sacred movement. Abures and community, thank you for being with me on this journey.
What does dance bring to your body, spirit, mind, and community?
Martha Graham said, "Dance is the hidden language of the soul" and for me, dance has been an absolute blessing, the place I feel most comfortable, strong, and at peace. I realized after many years that not all people, especially women and girls, feel at home in their bodies. So my performances and dance classes are invitations to step into our bodies, bring love and healing to our bodies, and undulate our bodies like serpents. This should only happen willingly and at the pace dictated by your body and spirit. I would love to work with you as you embark on this journey back home.
I am a multi-disciplined locally and internationally trained dancer with over twenty years experience performing African Diasporic Dance. My dance background will be most relevant to those around in the Bay Area around the late 1980s where I have lived, worked, and raised my daughter. I studied Afri-Haitian dance with Blanche Brown at Mills and in the 90’s. I traveled to Matanzas, Cuba and received a certificate in Afri-Cuban dance and Folklore at the University of Matanzas in 1997 and studied with the two internationally known music and dance troupes, Los Muñicitos and Afro Cuba. In the Bay Area, I danced with Fogo Na Roupa for ten years at Alice Arts Center under Carlos Aceituno, Ibae (a Yorùbá term showing respect to a beloved ancestor). At Alice (now renamed the Malonga Casquelord Center after Malonga, Ibae), I studied West African and other dance forms. I took Brazilian fusion classes with an amazing dancer, Jacqui Barnes, and many others. I was a solo dancer for Afia Walkingtree’s all woman drum group Spirit Drumz and then a soloist for Nives Wetzel de Cediel’s samba school Batucada do Leste in Oakland. Thank you all for such a rich and amazing music and dance experience!
In 2002 I began performing in community rituals and still perform as a soloist in this capacity. I will only list a few of the communities where my fifteen-year experience participating in community rituals blossomed. I regularly danced in Festival of the Bones and other annual rituals led by the well-known Iyanifa Luisah Teish, an elder in Ifa. I have continued to perform at community rituals led by the Kahuna Leilani Birely, a spiritual leader in a local Dianic and Hawaiian circle, Daughters of the Goddess.
I have taught adult and youth dance classes and I spent 2016 as a volunteer teaching dance at a drop-in clinic for youth at MISSSEY: Motivating, Inspiring, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth in Oakland, CA. It was a powerful and emotional experience to invite young people to envision a future through their bodies, where gendered and sexualized violence and abuse of children is unacceptable.
I look forward to what the future holds in store for me and my dancing body!