Hello everyone! My name is Shakia Johnson. I am a Five College Lecturer teaching Hip-Hop and other social dance forms of the African Diaspora. In response to the recent murders of Black people by the police, I began curating a series of workshops called “Black Beauty Dance”. This started out as a healing circle for my Black students. Through our struggles and pain, we have found a safe space to be with each other and to listen deeply.
Most of the Black dancers who are involved in Black Beauty Dance were also involved in my MFA Thesis work that was focused on inequality, social and racial injustices, social dances, and Black women pioneers. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, we weren't able to finish the work. We want to continue this research in an embodied and academic way. The students are from Mount Holyoke, Smith, Amherst, Hampshire Colleges, and UMASS Amherst. I also worked with dancers from the community and they are also a part of these workshops.
I asked the dancers what they wanted and needed, and they said they wanted to see each other and move. So I decided to pay for dance artists to work with the students out of my own pocket. I then asked the college's dance department for some assistance. They were able to give me some funds, but not enough to continue this workshop series.
I am asking for your help in donating to this workshop series. I am looking to bring in more dance artists to not only share their dance history with us, but to give us their words of wisdom for the future, educate us, and be in-network with a great dance community.
Please donate any amount that you can. All of the funds will go to the artists that lead a workshop, and books that we are interested in reading together. We hope to continue this throughout the summer.
Thank you so much for your time and we appreciate your support!
- Debra Orgera
- Daniel Sack
- Neal Broadus Abraham
- Inger Cooper