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A Moment of Reflection
By: Mallory Carbon Looking back, nothing could’ve prepared me for what came after unceremoniously clicking the zoom link to join my first CD Forum staff meeting. I was greeted by literal screams of joy as my mentor and dear friend popped up on the screen, clearly surprised by my face. Of course, I’m talking about the one and only Dani Tirrell. I was welcomed with completely open arms by staff who were strangers then, but have now come to be members of my extended family. After what seemed like a half-day of introductions, business, laughs, cries, and “soap-boxes” (a new term for me), I had one thought in my mind: I am so lucky that this is where I have found myself. My name is Mallory Carbon and over the past couple of months, I had the privilege of interning with CD Forum through Northwest Folklife’s Cultural and Creative Workforce Development Program. I’m a University of Washington senior studying Science, Technology, and Society with a huge passion for the arts. I’m a musical theatre performer, a scientist, and a lover of sparkly things. I would be kidding myself if I didn’t acknowledge that I was nervous to be walking into a Black-led organization as a white woman, especially during a historic time for racial injustice. My extensive time in Dani’s Street Styles classes at UW had completely opened my mind to experiences of Black and brown bodies through dance, culture, and activism. With Dani’s guidance, I had seen many CD Forum shows and sponsored events, usually alongside a mighty cohort of my classmates. However, my time as a CD Forum employee would go on to provide me with educational experiences that I could never glean from my time in academia. At CD Forum I have developed in professional and artistic ways as well as in my understanding of what it means to listen to and represent voices other than my own. CD Forum has shown me what it takes to be a leader for change in the world. I look forward to my CD Forum meetings for a lot of reasons (sharing space with exceptional people, getting to laugh and be my full silly self, hearing about the art we support) but what I find to be most enriching is to be able to listen to Black change-makers talk about their experiences. Our fearless leader and Executive Director Sharon Nyree Williams quickly made it high on my list of people I truly admire for her ability to step up and lead, especially when it’s most difficult. She, alongside her incredible team, create a safe space that allows me to be brave and ask questions as I’m continually defining what it means to be a young white woman wanting to put in the work to understand my privilege and how to combat racism in the world around me. The kind of leadership that has been modeled for me while at CD Forum from all corners of the organization has and will forever inform how I lead, ask the hard questions, act on my words, and find meaningful connections in my work. One of my many duties as an intern was supporting the rehearsal process for Showing Out: Black Choreographers Festival. Originally I was paired with artist Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra, whom I had never met, to make sure she had things set up and sanitized to safely rehearse. In her first few rehearsals, I tried not to bug her too much but would selfishly catch glimpses of her creating something truly unique. Things changed when halfway through the process she asked me to film a run-through. It was the first time I got to see start to finish what she was working on. Needless to say, I had chills from the moment her booming voice marked the beginning of her piece. After that first recording, I was caught off guard with her asking me simply, “What did you think?” From then on we would engage in intellectual dialogue about purpose, meaning, artistic expression, and the deep history of her piece. Most rehearsals were accompanied by a full history lesson when I would ask about what different elements of her art meant to her and represented. I went from just popping my head in the room to check on her to fully assisting her rehearsals by filming, talking about the new elements she added each week, and helping her begin her piece by wrapping a rather difficult to work with tapestry around her head, representing Black women’s hair. What I learned in the conversations we had as I helped her wrestle this huge, stiff, cloth on her head could fill a book. During our final rehearsal together I was literally sweating as we wrapped the tapestry on her head when she asked me to be there on the day of filming to support her. I was completely excited and felt honored that she had even asked me. Filming day rolled around and I realized that it was the first time in 8 months that I was going to be back in a performance space. After fulfilling my duties as the official tapestry wrangling assistant, I sat in the dark and watched it all come together into its final product. The second marvel of that day was watching others in the room be entranced by what I got to watch develop for months. Seeing Milvia advocate for her artistic vision, be in relation with her musician, and exude her strong presence in a performance that demands your attention, I could not help but reflect on the process that I had a small part in supporting. I was watching a talented, intelligent, strong, expressive, kind, and beautiful woman in her element. I could think of fewer more powerful experiences as I teared up in the darkness. I am incredibly grateful for what I have gained from my time thus far at CD Forum. I am incredibly grateful to Northwest Folklife for providing me the opportunity to have a job in the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am incredibly grateful for the people I have been in community with along the way and what each of them has taught me about myself, working in the arts, leadership, supporting incredible work, how to be a better person, and how to show up for each other, especially during times of distance.
Performance + Virtual Exhibition Opening Reception for Anastacia-Reneé
In partnership with Frye Art Museum, the CD Forum team invite you to a virtual celebration and special performance in honor of Anastacia-Renee’s solo exhibition (Don’t Be Absurd) Alice in Parts. Please join us to get a first look and virtual tour of the exhibition and experience a special performance of a choreopoem by the artist co-presented in partnership with the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. This choreopoem is inspired by the exhibition’s central character Alice Metropolis as well as the spirit and work of Audre Lorde, and will be read by a chorus of seven artists and poets selected by Anastacia-Renee, librecht baker, Kamari Bright, Randy Ford, Reagan Jackson, Jessica Rycheal, Imani Sims, and Storme Webber. Saturday, January 30, 2021
5:00 – 6:30 pm Pacific Standard Time This online event is free to attend. Click here to register! Choreopoem Participating Artists librecht baker authored vetiver (Finishing Line Press), journeyed with Radar Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 tour, and is an English professor. baker’s full-length play, “Taciturn Beings,” was a semi-finalist for the 43rd annual Bay Area Playwright’s Festival and part of The Vagrancy’s Blossoming: A New Play Reading Series, 2019. Other writings appear in ACCOLADES: A Women Who Submit Anthology, Cultural Weekly, Solace: Writing Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color, and other publications, but can also be experienced via Women Who Submit’s IGTV for their ACCOLADES online reading series and The Vagrancy's "The Life and Dead Of," written by June Carryl, via The Vagrancy's webpage. Kamari Bright is an emerging creative with poetry featured in “NILVX: A Book of Magic,” “2018 Jack Straw Writers Anthology,” “Moss,” and Bellwether Arts Week. Her videopoems have screened at 8th International Video Poetry Festival, Seattle Black Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival and the Film & Videopoetry Symposium. The 2018 Jack Straw Writers fellow is working on a manuscript connecting the influence of Christian folklore on present-day misogyny, and fundraising for The People’s School in Ghana. Randy Ford is a Seattle-born dancer, choreographer, actor, and activist. She has been featured in Velocity Dance Center’s Next Fest NW, CD Forum’s Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers (2016, 2018), Bumbershoot Festival, Birthday Girl Series #5, Legendary Children at Seattle Art Museum, and Beacon Hill Block Party, among other community events. Identifying as a Black non-binary Transfemme, her work continues the conversation about and centering intersectionality. When not onstage she's a program leader through ArtsCorps at Dimmit Middle School and Meeker Middle School. She's a guest teacher at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a MixxedFit Instructor at the Northwest African American Museum. Reagan Jackson is the Program Director for Young Women Empowered. She is a multi-genre writer, activist, podcast host and producer and international educator with an abiding love of justice, spirituality, and creating community. Her published works include three collections of poetry: God, Hair, Love, and America, Love and Guatemala, and Summoning Unicorns and two children’s books Coco LaSwish A Fish From A Different Rainbow and Coco LaSwish: When Rainbows Go Blue. Her latest book Still Here: A southend mixtape from an unexpected journalist (Menrva Press 2021) is available for pre-order on her website . Jessica Rycheal is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative director based in Seattle, Washington. Bearing the influence of Southern Black culture and tradition, Rycheal's creative practice juxtaposes intuitive storytelling and historical context to honor the Individual and collective humanity of Blackness. Her work explores themes of culture, identity, and intergenerational healing through the mediums of creative writing, portraiture, and public speaking. Imani Sims is an alchemist and author. She believes in the power of community ritual and performance art, in public space, to shift social narratives around the magic of blackness, queerness, and femme identity. Over the past two decades Imani has collaborated with community organizations and independent artists to deliver arts programming all over the nation. Her heart soul love work is elevating the voices of QTPOC folk in public and virtual space. Sims' book (A)live Heart is available on Sibling Rivalry Press. Storme Webber is a Two Spirit Sugpiaq/Black/Choctaw poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her work is cross genre, incorporating text, performance, audio and altar installation, archival photographs and collaboration in order to engage with ideas of history, lineage, gender, race and sexuality. Her practice explores liminal identities, survivance and decolonization, and does so in a blues/jazz-based experimental manner, often incorporating acapella vocals. She has received numerous honors and residencies; including from Hedgebrook, Ragdale and Banff Arts Centre, and recently was honored with the James W Ray Award. Her first solo museum exhibition, Casino: A Palimpsest, was presented at Frye Art Museum in Seattle.
Q&A with Curator Dani Tirrell
CD Forum Curator Dani Tirrell answers a few questions about Dani's approach to curating, continuing to learn, and memorable moments in conversation during 2020. Did your approach to curating change during the pandemic and 2020? Dani Tirrell: It actually stopped for a little bit. As a team we did not want to rush into putting programs out there. We wanted to first make sure that the team was doing as well as anyone could, then we took some time to think about what we are doing and who we are. We are still in this process. What new things did you do and learn? DT: Currently I am learning to reimagine and to think outside of what has been done and what is currently being done. That does not mean to invent something new. It just means to go down while others are going up. I am learning to be more clear, I did not want to be overbearing with the team. But giving little to no direction or clarity was not moving us forward. So I am becoming more clear and sure of myself. What's a thought, idea, or quote from your Intimate Conversations that has stuck with you? DT: There is an IC with Kristi Brown and she talked about how the enslaved African women would cook for the masters. She said at any given time those women could have killed the entire families with the food they cooked. But they did not. They could have served them dishes that would have taken them out, but the humanity and love and fear that Black women carried/carry kept them alive. And to this day black women are still saving people that do not deserve them.
Intimate Conversations: Eve Sanford
Intimate Conversations with Dani Tirrell & guest Eve Sanford Saturday, December 19, 2020 "Black love is complex, nuanced. Black love is- in some moments- the process of undoing many layers of harm, hate, and pain. It is also rooted in the comfort of the familiar, the movement of bodies. It is gestural. It is the thickness of our language, you can hear it. It is tastable, touchable, and loud yet it can also feel delicate and ephemeral." Eve Sanford is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and arts leader. Evelyn is a Chicago native whose connection to the city and memory drives much of the voice behind her work. She worked nearly 20 years teaching visual and performing arts for Chicago public and charter schools and various community centers, museums, and programs. Eve’s educational philosophy moves her to facilitate creative experiences that engage multi-generational students and viewers in the exploration of self, community, and purpose. As an artist, her work often takes the form of jewelry, photographs, paintings, curated experiences, events, set and costume design, and installations. She explores identity, vacancy, community, and healing through all its intersections with a primarily autobiographical lens. Eve is an alumna of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFAAE) and Seattle University (MFA). She currently serves as the Director of Programs for Pratt Fine Arts Center, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Shunpike. Eve is currently an artist in residence at the James and Janie Washington Foundation. Support Eve: Venmo: ejs246 cashapp $eveydoesit
Intimate Conversations: Elisheba Johnson
Intimate Conversations with Dani Tirrell & guest Elisheba Johnson Saturday, December 12, 2020 "Black love looks like that photo of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou dancing; euphoric, delightful and free." Elisheba Johnson is a curator, public artist and administrator. Johnson, who has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, was the owner of Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that held art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. For six years Johnson worked at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture on capacity building initiatives and racial equity in public art. Johnson is currently a member of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network advisory council and has won four Americans for the Arts Public Art Year in Review Awards for her work. She currently co-manages Wa Na Wari, a Black art center in Seattle’s Central Area that uses the arts to build community and resist displacement. Cash App: $WaNaWari
"The Show Must Go On", but How?
By Merri Ann Osborne When the Governor signed into effect a statewide emergency on March 16th to temporarily shut down ‘life as we know it’ because of COVID-19, I understood that decision. A lot was still being learned about the virus and no one knew for sure how it was spread or how long it would be with us. The one thing we did know was that people were dying because of it. The 4 months prior to that shut down I had auditioned, hired and was rehearsing a show with 4 actors for a March performance through my arts organization The Mahogany Project. And at CD Forum, we were getting ready for our spring shows featuring solo artists, Sunday Dinners, Kitchen Sessions, Galas and so much more. I remember the week leading up to that shut down announcement. Sharon, our ED, had said to our team, ‘Everyone, grab your computers now, because we may be working from home for awhile.’ Boy, was she right! Now close to 8 months later, so much has changed. As the weeks turned into months, the global pandemic worries were joined by the continued murders of unarmed Black people, murders of Black Trans women, protests, marches, voter suppression, unemployment, healthcare inequities, fights over wearing masks, white supremacists (they never have gone away), unease about upcoming election, etc. etc. Every day brought something new and it usually wasn’t good! Constantly on my mind was how I was going to navigate living life while taking care of myself and others in this new reality of social distancing, masks, self-isolation, 6-feet and stay safe. How would I deal with the fear, anger and mistrust that this country is going through in 2020? I have found that creating art and working with other artists has continued to be my anchor in these very choppy waters! Art does heal, save lives, and can uplift and empower people, even when we feel powerless. I’m so thankful to have art and creativity in my life both personally and professionally. As an artist and arts administrator, I’m constantly checking in with artists and other arts organizations as we work together, as a community, to share information on Covid-19 best practices in our spaces and how to financially survive this pandemic. But more importantly, and what I love the most, is that the arts community – individually or as organizations – is reaching out to others in our creative community to make sure that artists and their loved ones are doing okay as we support each other through these challenging times. The Mahogany Project and CD Forum has thought carefully and seriously about this new reality and have dedicated ourselves to our commitment of providing a platform for Black artists and conversations centered around our community, with or without COVID. Both organizations took their programing 100% virtual and CD Forum also pumped up its social media presence. This shift has allowed us to explore new production opportunities and to continue to showcase Black artists while at the same time, connecting with audiences nationally and globally that we wouldn’t have reached in traditional performance settings. For the Mahogany Project, we ended up producing our planned March event but split it into two events that were held in August and September. These events, in collaboration with our annual and community partners (including CD Forum), focused on voter suppression in Black and Native communities. As virtual town halls, we were able to have expert panelists (local and national) who could talk on these issues. The event still had its signature Q&A session, but this time, because it was a virtual event, the panelists received a broader scope of questions from all over the country. During these Town Halls, we screened clips from documentaries that addressed voter suppression in Black and Native communities, adding an artistic element to this serious issue that continues to haunt the integrity of our democracy. The Mahogany Project also had been planning, since the summer of 2019, for a stage reading event to take place in summer 2020. Because of the pandemic, we switched to a virtual event and filmed 6 new short plays by playwrights from the African American Writers Alliance. This production engaged over 20 artists including playwrights, directors, actors, tech support and other artists. The whole project was a huge learning experience for me and I couldn’t have done it without the openness and talents of all the artists involved and from our community partners and donors. All of these projects are accessible for viewing on YouTube and, once again, have introduced audiences to emerging and established artists in our community. Because of the play festival production, I am also happy to say that some of the artists received additional employment opportunities due to their involvement in the festival. As for CD Forum, we went ahead and rolled out CD Forum TV, an online viewing portal where creativity just flows and flows. The first virtual performance we presented since the pandemic began was a May solo show and we haven’t stopped since. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, CD Forum Curator Dani Tirrell, has been having Instagram Live conversations with Black artists, leaders, thinkers and makers through Dani’s show ‘Intimate Conversations’. We also did our first online fundraising party in July called the Boujee Brunch Soiree. Thanks to Dani, Nina (CD Forum’s Business Manager) and the organizing team, this event was not only successful but lots of fun! A chance to gather with friends, dress up, relax and enjoy during a summer where most of us were hunkering indoors. In a few weeks, we will be filming our annual ‘Showing Out’ program featuring Black Choreographers. ‘Showing Out’ is the official start of our 2020-2021 season for CD Forum and will be the first of three performances by the seven Showing Out artists featured this season. As the Production Manager for CD Forum, I am thankful that we have been able to successfully make this transfer to virtual thanks to the film production talents of Michael B. Maine, and that I can continue to work with artists to showcase their talents and for the viewer to still be able to connect with the performers and their art. Like I said before, The Mahogany Project and CD Forum haven’t stopped doing what we do because of the pandemic and social unrest. In fact, it motivates us even more to bring quality, thought-provoking and joyous productions and conversations that artists can be proud of and audiences can enjoy. Wishing all a peaceful holiday season and wishes for a super-feeling-good 2021! We all could use it.
Intimate Conversations: Arif Gursel
Intimate Conversations with Dani Tirrell & guest Arif Gursel Saturday, December 5, 2020 "Black Love looks like radical inclusivity and radical non-judgmental." Arif Gursel is a serial and social entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience gained from a unique blend of professional experience. Gursel specializes in product development, technology strategy, and business model development equipped to lead initiatives & people toward common goals. He's most passionate about consumer behavior in the digital space and empowering resource poor communities through S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts and Media) education. His company VIBEHEAVY continues to serve as a startup lab where they create and spin out new brands, products, and services across multiple industry verticals with a specialty in entertainment, fashion, and hospitality. Similarly, his nonprofit Pan African Center for Empowerment, PACE follows an agile technology startup model focusing on improving the lives of people of African heritage across the globe.
THE FUTURE IS BLACK
Give today to ensure the future is Black! As a Black-led organization, CD Forum is committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices of Black artists. Donate to The Future is Black campaign and you can help ensure the next generation of arts leaders have a place to grow. Your donation will go to support our new Youth Curator position as well as the overall sustainability of the company. GIVE TODAY! Online giving is secure and keeps staff and you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also TEXT CDFUTURE to 44321. Every gift matters and we are grateful that you are part of the CD Forum Family.
Intimate Conversations: Brian J. Evans
Intimate Conversations with Dani Tirrell & guest Brian J. Evans Saturday, November 21, 2020 Black love looks like: "Hope in the eyes of those who have been told they will never know love, yet experience it despite the world’s efforts." Brian J. Evans is a Citizen Artist, defined by the Aspen Institute Arts Program as: Individuals who reimagine the traditional notions of art-making, and who contribute to society either through the transformative power of their artistic abilities, or through proactive social engagement with the arts in realms including education, community building, diplomacy and healthcare. Mixing disciplines, mixing professions, and of mixed race, Brian J. Evans unpacks the “moments of suspension” that reside in the spaces between spaces. Convinced that connections exist between us all and it is the responsibility of the Arts to remind us to be holistically human, lest we forget. Courageous vulnerability and intentional equity keeps him aloft as he finds ways to give back and add to the communities, mentors, and ancestors who blazed trails and continue to do so! Evans is a recipient of a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship, administered by The Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation. A former decade long principal dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans believes it is the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover existing connections within humanity. He has a MFA from the University of Washington (UW) Seattle Campus and was awarded the Howard P. Dallas Endowed Fellowship for his service on the UW dance department’s newly founded diversity community and serves as a liaison on the Divisional Arts Diversity Committee. His next adventure includes a tenure-track professorship in the Theater and Dance department at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. Watch Brian's latest work, LOPsided, on CD Forum TV.
Black Love looks like:
By: Dani Tirrell This new season of Intimate Conversation I have asked each guest to share with me what Black Love looks like to them. I have purposely avoided that question. I think now is the time to share. Black Love looks like: My queer ass Black ass Trans spectrum experience Forgiveness Peach cobbler Big Mama talks And Grand daddy handshakes Dressing (not stuffing) on the holidays Thick sisters in move something dresses Brothers with lime green suits and matching gators Family reunions with matching shirts Seeing the young Queens voguing down to some nasty beats The no shirt brothers playing ball and the sweat hitting all the right places Playing hide and seek outside with the cousins Spades/Bid Whist and Tunk My granny takin’ sips of my granddad's TEA (V.O.) Shakin’ my ass in the club with a bunch of beautful Black gay ass people Black Trans women owning every ounce of their womanhood The soloist at church sangin' you down to lay prostrate in front of the altar Preaching Sin……...all of them! Box braids, wraps, weaves and bobs……..and the colors…..oh the colors Loud talking and even louder loving The bass as cars roll down the street The smell of the trees (those happy cigarettes) if you happen to indulge Having your aunt and uncle clear the dance floor….to show you how it is done Embracing your HIV positive friends for what will be the last time Young kids dreaming about a future of fame and fortune Kissing your man and not being afraid of what the world thinks (some gay shit) Yes….all the gay shit! Black love is laying your aunt and mom to rest, with the understanding that the gift they gave you was to keep loving, discovering and always seek healing. Black love is your father supporting and loving your Black ass, queer ass, trans spectrum experience. Black love is knowing your deaf grandmother is always with you…...it is knowing that you can not make it without her whispering in your ear how you are worthy. Black love has no rhyme or reason….it is beyond anything that we could ever imagine. Black love is Goddess and she is divine and she is feminine and she is me.
Intimate Conversations: Shaunyce Omar
Intimate Conversations with Dani Tirrell & guest Shaunyce Omar Saturday, November 14, 2020 "Black Love looks like loving yourself first. Loving your spirit, your voice, your talents, your skin, your discernment, your strength, your vulnerability. Black Love is seeing yourself as valuable and loveable." Shaunyce Omar is a film and stage actor based in Seattle, Wa. In addition to performing, Omar is a teaching artist and has taught in both public and private schools, arts organizations and overseas as a Master Sensei of Gospel Music in Japan. She holds a B.A degree in Theatre from Southern University and A&M College. Support Shaunyce: Cashapp: $NyceSomar Venmo: @ShaunyceOmar
POSTPONED - Showing Out: Black Choreographers Festival
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED SHOWING OUT: BLACK CHOREOGRAPHERS FESTIVAL -- a mentorship and performance event curated by Dani Tirrell. SHOWING OUT supports the creation and development of work created by Black Choreographers from around the Pacific Northwest -- perfectly aligned with CD Forum's mission to support distinctive Black artistic voices. The November 2020 edition of Showing Out features work by Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra, Kiana Harris, Saira Barbaric, Sadiqua Iman, Michele Dooley, Aviona Rodriquez Brown, and Rashida KhanBey Miller.
This is the first session of CD Forum's 20/21 Season's Showing Out. Artists will be showing pre-recorded works-in-progress followed by talk backs to gather feedback from audience members. The performances and feedback sessions will take place over Zoom. November 20, 2020
7PM Pacific Time
Screening of Kiana Harris’ film “Immortal” followed by audience talk back session over Zoom. Get Tickets November 21, 2020
4:30PM Pacific Time
Work-in-progress showing of works by Milvia Pacheco, Saira Barbaric, Aviona Rodriguez-Brown, Michele Dooley, Sadiqua Iman, and Rashida KhanBey Miller. Showing will be followed by a guided talk back with three facilitators via Zoom break-out rooms. Get Tickets
Some adult content and language. Recommended for ages 12 and older. About the artists: Saira Barbaric: Saira Barbaric (they/ze/she/he) is a nonbinary black queer creator and curator of the erotic, the bizarre and the surreal. They/he is a co-founder of Scumtrust productions, an internationally screened queer porn project, and a director of Playthey, a multimedia arts and culture collective. He/she/they/ze aims to bend genders and genres with their creations and to mark the path toward the accessible afro-future. IG: @very.freaky // cashapp: $kphoebe Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra: My name is Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra, I am an Afro-Latin artist born in Caracas-Venezuela, where I started my career as a dancer, combining dance and theater training. For over 12 years, I danced with Danzahoy, with whom I toured, and visited renowned festivals in 15 countries, including the Danzahoy “Exodus” season at the Joyce Theater in NY (2006). In 2004 I moved to NY and worked with Rastro Dance Company, B3W / Emily Berry, and Alexandra Beller / Dancers. I have a license as a professional masseuse, graduated from the Northwest Academy of Healing, I am also a graduate of the Shiatsu program of the Ohashiatsu Institute in New York. Since I came to Seattle in 2012, I have been collaborating with different artists and groups: Threshold Ensemble, Gansango Dance Company, Etienne Cakpo, Paige Barner, Mark Haim, Kiana Harries, Fernando Luna, Claudia Castro Luna, Leo Carmona, Mirta Wymerszberg, Monica Rojas and Naomi Macalalad Bragin. Michele Dooley is a dance artist from Philadelphia. She received her BA from The University of The Arts. In 2018 she moved to Seattle to dance with Spectrum Dance Theater and is in her 3rd season with the company. Michele is interested in exploring her voice and power, how her own identity influences everyday experiences and what is created when they connect. She is eager to continue learning and processing through movement. Venmo: @Michele-Dooley-1 Cash app: $michelefelicia Kiana Harris: A native of Anchorage, Alaska and now residing in Seattle, WA, Kiana created and debuted her first dance film entitled “DIVINE” part l and ll in summer of 2016, available on Vimeo. Her dance films were also featured in Langston Hughes African American Film Festival Risk/Reward Festival, SIFF 1 Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot. AJE IJO Dance Film Series has screened at Artist of Color Expo & Symposium, Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival and On The Boards, to name a few. She has recently screened her work internationally in the UK, Uganda, and Canada. Her mission as a filmmaker, is to reclaim imagery in a non-exploitative representation from a black womxn's lens, and it be one of many tools to drive black liberation.
'AJE IJO' Short Dance Film Series interrogates the western gender binary and elicits elements of spiritual cosmologies of Black & African diasporic people [of all genders] that emerge from the Yoruba divine consciousness, Ifa and the Orisa (deities) that comprise it. Sadiqua Iman performs as the character Namii and uses burlesque, storytelling, and dance to deconstruct issues of gender fluidity, relationships, and what it means to “strip down”outside of sexual connotations. She is Founder/ Artistic Director of Earth Pearl Collective, a queer black womyns social justice non profit organization dedicated to healing communities through artistic collaborations. Sadiqua works as a freelance director, costume designer, teaching artist, and project manager in the Seattle area and around the country. She has directed an all woman of color cast of “A Streetcar Named Desire” to raise awareness of same sex domestic violence and created an interactive performances based on the dissappearance of queer black leadership in social justice movemets called “ We Be Dat.” In 2018 she premiered an original boi-lesque ballet called “Tail Feather” that explored female bodied masculinity at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Her most recent project was directing August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at Chattanooga Theatre Centre in Tennessee January 2020. Sadiqua Iman is currently working on her Masters of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership at Seattle University and was awarded the 2019 Arc Fellowship award by 4Culture and used the funds to open the new Afro-centered healing arts center Nile’s Edge. Rashida KhanBey Miller (Rashi/she/her) Artist, Educator, Founder of The Messy Movement Lab, Co-Host of Podcast Queer & Married, Co-Owner of The Lingerie Boutique The Temptress' Boudoir, and Executive Producer and Co-Star of Film Series "Sex Is A God Thing". Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Rashi fell in love with dance at a very young age studying Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, and Sacred Dance spanning over 20+ years. She went on to receive her bachelor's degree in Theatre from The University of Illinois at Chicago to launching her professional career teaching, speaking and uplifting feminine spectrum people in healing through the storytelling of movement in live classes across the U.S. and expanding into a global audience through online education. Over the last decade, Rashi has inspired people worldwide to talk about their relationship to self-love, sensuality, and healing trauma through dance and movement as an integral part of their spiritual recovery and thriving. Rashi's work has been featured on Gene Siskel Film Center, Sisters in Cinema, OpenTV, AfroPunk, ForHarriet, Unfit Christian, The Sexually Liberated Woman Podcast, Elephant Journal, BlackDoctors.org, ClexaCon Film Festival, The Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival, and more. Rashi currently resides in The Pacific Northwest spending her day's co-creating in business and life with her Spouse, Ajani Miller (he/they). Aviona Rodriquez Brown: Aviona Creatrix instills inclusivity and accessibility, by creating multidisciplinary art to tell stories surrounding being multiracial, exploring queerness, working through mental illness, stress, navigating drug addiction, and homelessness. Using tools and resources from smART Grants and the Artist Up Scholarship The Creatrix has developed healing workshops, along with a 45-minute solo show- translated into Spanish and toured to four states. Through ongoing community-oriented youth projects, they aspire to educate the masses on self-awareness and the benefits of art alternatives when dealing with everyday stresses. CD Forum’s Showing Out: Black Choreographers Festival is co-supported by The Nesholm Family Foundation