Rooted in Blackness Faculty

Please note we will be adding additional faculty after the new year! 


Embodied Divination, REPAIRations, and Collective Response(ability) in the Afro NOW-

In this movement-based workshop, you are invited to contemplate your body as oracle, as compass, and site for social repair. A journey together moving through concepts of identity, oppression, privilege, dying, rebirth, isolation, connection, and the liminal space of now

Please wear clothes to get sweaty in, bring a pillow and blanket, a notebook, water to drink

and if you work with any talismans/crystals/sacred objects that offer you protection, have them present during our time(s) together. Open to all levels movement experience.

Amara Tabor-Smith (she/her/we) is a  black/seminole/blackfoot/queer/Lukumí/Ifa initiate living on Huichin Lisjan Ohlone land known currently as Oakland, Ca.

Amara is a conjure artist….her interdisciplinary dance based work utilizes rituals from lukumi/ifá spiritual technologies to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. She creates ritual experiences that invite audience and performers to converge in mutual vulnerability and transformation. Her work is rooted in black, queer, womanist principles, that insist on liberation, joy and well-being in the afro NOW. 

Class Schedule: 

Wednesday Jan. 27th 4:00pm - 6:00pm EST | Thursday Jan. 28th 4:00pm - 5:00pm EST Friday Jan. 29th 4:000pm - 5:00pm EST

Amara T. Smith 



Philbert-Kalinda Technique for Dance and Performance is founded on the martial and cultural living tradition of Trinidad and Tobago's Kalinda and kalinda born forms. The technique builds dynamism through percussive movements, off-centered balancing, spiral motion, reflective reflexes, vocal and breathwork. During the Woodshed dance online series, participants will learn traditional lavways (call and response), journal, and learn PKT movement codifications. 

Choreographer, Dance Artist, Cultural Researcher, Educator, Designer, Curator, and Filmmaker, Jamie Philbert is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, brought up in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. In 2019, she began an official rites of passage journey towards becoming a bois woman, a warrior woman of Kalinda. This journey inspired her to conceptualize and develop a dance and performance technique rooted in the tradition and culture of Trinidad and Tobago's martial art form, Kalinda. This initiative is supported by and co-created with Rondel Benjamin, Founder of Bois Academy of Trinidad and Tobago and the transitioned legendary bois man, King David Matthew Brown, also known as “Acid”. Her work in this realm serves to continue the veneration of the keepers and ancestors of the tradition and empower the sustainability of this multidimensional cultural form. Jamie currently serves as the Director/Pointer of Bois Academy of Trinidad and Tobago. Jamie believes in the power of art and its ability to heal and create dynamic change. She dedicates all her movement and magic to the legacy of her transitioned parents, Dennis and Veronica Philbert.

Class Schedule: 

Wednesday Jan. 27th 7:30pm - 8:30pm EST | Saturday Jan. 30th 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST | Sunday Jan. 31st 12:00pm - 1:00pm EST

Jamie Philbert



Known as one of the nation’s leading dance researchers, Dr. Katrina Hazzard Donald, author, lecturer and professor is the author of two books and numerous articles  on African-American dance and culture. Considered groundbreaking, her first  book, Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African American  Culture (Temple University Press), won the De La Torre Bueno special citation for  dance research. Her second book, Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo  System (University of Illinois Press) is the first and only work so far to assert a new  theory on the origins and function of the sacred dance ritual known as the Ring Shout.   She received the Ph.D. and M.A. from Cornell University and the Bachelors  degree from Wilberforce University. She is the recipient of an American Council of  Learned Societies Fellowship, a Rockefeller Post doctoral fellowship at Brown  University and the 1999 Oni Award from the International Black Women’s Congress.   In 2019, the Popular Culture Association named its award for outstanding  research in African American culture after her. In addition to the books, she has  authored a number of articles in refereed journals, anthologies and encyclopedias that  explore the meaning, function and nature of the African American “music/dance  complex.” She was honored to serve both as Guest Curator/Historian for the National  Afro-American Museum’s 1999 exhibit, “When The Spirit Moves: African American  Dance in the United States,” and as a major voice in both the Emmy nominated Public  Broadcasting video “Swing, Bop and Hand Dance” as well as the Emmy winning  documentary “The Teenarama Dance Party” and the Lincoln Center production “Free to  Dance” still airing on public broadcasting channels around the nation.   Trained by Andrew Young of SCLC, in the late 1960’s Dr. Hazzard-Donald  worked for Delta Ministry in the Mississippi Delta towns of Greenville, Cleveland and  Glen Allen, Mississippi. An Ogun Iyalorisha with the first hand of Ifa, or initiate to Ogun  in the New World Yoruba/Lukumi tradition she is in wide demand as a guest speaker,  faculty advisor and panelist.

Workshop: From Do-Da to Do-Wop: When The Gods No Longer Spoke: Sacred Voice, Speaking in Tongues and the Origins of Scat Singing

Class Schedule: 

Thursday Jan. 28th 2:00pm - 3:30pm EST 

Dr. Katrina Hazzard- Donald 

Scholar w/ Distinction


throwing the bones and working the roots: a (writing for) performance workshop 

this highly anti-disciplinary and experimental workshop/seminar uses writing, image-making, movement, and sound-based exercises to create a brave space where students can excavate and craft their own performative conjurations and divinations. this class explores artmaking as a catalyst for social justice and as a healing modality. 

olaiya olayemi is a blk/trans/femme/womxn who creates sonic/performative/cinematic/literary works of art that center womxn of the african diaspora. she has performed at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, The Langston Hughes House, Dixon Place, JACK, AAA3A, Starr Bar, and May Day Space. she is a 2019-2020 Queer Art Mentorship Performance Fellow and a Fall 2020 Brooklyn Arts Exchange Space Grantee. she holds a b.a. in english/creative with a minor in black/diaspora studies from depaul university and an m.f.a. in creative writing from emerson college where she was a recipient of the Dean’s Fellowship. she currently lives in queens, new york.

Class Schedule 

Thursday Jan. 28th from 7:30pm - 8:00pm EST | Saturday Jan. 30th 7:30pm-8:30pm EST 

Olaiya Olayemi


Cooper - 300 DPI .jpg

Blackness + Space + Territory 

This talk/presentation examines how blackness is used in art, performance, as well as other visual- and movement-based practices to index space and territory. Together we'll amplify underthought strategies for inhabiting the world and creatively contending with anti-blackness wherever it's encountered.

Cecilio M. Cooper holds a PhD (with Distinction) in African American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory from Northwestern University. Prior to that, they completed an MA in Performance Studies, with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory & Research, from University of California-Davis and a BA in Ethnic Studies, with a minor in Intermedia Arts, from Mills College. Dr. Cooper’s artistic practice has included experimental performance, drag, burlesque, video, textiles, and collage. They research history, theory, and criticism of Atlantic World culture via Visual Studies, Black Critical Theory, Science & Technology Studies, Political Theology, and Trans Studies. With materials from the thirteenth century onward, their first book manuscript examines how blackness figures in cosmological constitutions of territory throughout Europe and the Americas. Cooper’s interdisciplinary archival research has been supported by the John Carter Brown Library, Yale Center for British Art, American Antiquarian Society, Helmerich Center for American Research, and Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Currently, they serve as Visiting Assistant Professor of English & Africana Studies at Tulane University. There they teach courses on black thought, history of medicine, theories of space & architecture, as well as racialized gender.

Class Schedule 

Saturday Jan. 30th 2:00pm - 3:15pm EST 

Cecilio M. Cooper

Scholar in Residence

profile pic2.jpg

Rooted: Kemetic Yoga series. In this Kemetic Yoga class, we will engage in breathing, meditation and geometric progressive yoga postures to help manage everyday stress, balance and finding harmony with the self. Yoga postures imitate Ancient Egyptian/African Gods. You can find the positions of these postures in carvings of Temple and Pyramid walls. Kemetic Yoga is for people of all ages and for people with all ranges of movement. Kemetic Yoga specifically works through a geometric progression which means that instead of focusing on flexibility/force we use our sustainment and deep breathing to transition from each posture. This makes the group accessible to people of all ages, body shapes and multi-movement abilities. If there are any special needs or safety concerns, feel free to let the instructor know before the group and she will accommodate and provide modifications. 

Come join us for an uplifting movement experience. Peace.

 Queenlin (pronouns: She/Her/Love) is a Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Certified Kemetic Yoga Instructor, Thai Bodyworker and Community Herbalist. In her work with Bodyverse, LLC she focuses on a holistic lens of healing all parts of the individual in order to live well and at our highest potential of self. She is also the founder of The Healers for Liberation Network, a collective of BIPOC healers providing services to BIPOC activists, organizers and movers in the Movement For Black Lives D.C. Queenlin is a big advocate for transformative justice and healing justice in black and brown communities and continues her activism on the streets fighting for the freedom and liberation of all black people in our world and the continuum of generations after. 

Find her on IG @bodyversewellness. Needing support in your wellness journey? Needing some help in finding your path or direction in life? Need bodywork as an outlet of release and/or body discomfort? 

Class Schedule: 

Wednesday Jan. 27th 5:00pm - 6:00pm EST | Saturday Jan 30th. 10:00am-11am EST | Sunday Jan 31st. 10:00am - 11:00 am EST




Jerome's lecture will consider the intersections of violence and the imagination and how these intersections manifest in black cultural and imaginative labors. Bringing together scholarship and criticism and popular culture, I think through the complicated relationship our work has to and in the world in which we live.

Jerome P. Dent, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Communication and Africana Studies at Tulane University where he is a Newcomb Core Faculty Fellow and teaches courses on television, film, critical race theory and queer theory. He is currently working on his first monograph, Of Figures and Failure: Blackness and the Topographies of the Imagination, in which he interrogates the deployment of figures of blackness in contemporary speculative fiction film, unsettling received understandings of blackness, visual culture, and spectatorship. 

Class Schedule: 

Friday Jan. 29th 12:00pm - 1:30pm EST 

Jerome Dent Jr.

Scholar in Residence

087 (1).jpg

 Ancestral Dance Movement Memory: Chapter 6 [Memory and Ecology Embodied Publications] is a deconstructive discourse of memories in the form of movement that identify ancestral legacies and intersections of kinetic and kinesthetic complexities of the moving body. The process utilizes the ecology of spirituality to reveal the essence of human nature. Ancestral Dance Movement Memory is a breathing archive that celebrates, heightens and authenticates intuitive wisdom of the body.

Michelle Grant-Murray, a Georgia Peach, hybrid Florida Mango fused with Texas Honeysuckle, is an author, choreographer, performer, Founder and Artistic Director of Olujimi Dance Theatre/Dance Collective, The Black Artist  Black Artist Talk. Artistry In Rhythm (A.I.R.) Dance Conference  and author of Beyond The Surface: An Inclusive American Dance History. She is Co-founder of the Florida Black Dance Artists Organization and a two-time recipient of the Artist in Residency program at the Historic Deering Estate andthe MDC Live Arts 2020 LALA Residency. Michelle is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Dance at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus. Michelle’s love for the moving body as a radical expression of knowledge is visceral, vibrant, and vivacious.

Friday 7:15pm - 8:45pm | Saturday 11:00am - 12:00pm | Sunday 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST 


Michelle Grant-Murray 

Choreographer in Residence


Sabar Class: A dance originating from the sandy grounds of Senegal, West Africa. It is danced up off the ground, uses the arms a lot, and is danced by twisting the hips.

Lamine Thiam is a world-renowned actor, choreographer, dancer, drummer and instructor. Lamine specializes in West African Dance from his native Senegal and neighboring countries, including rhythms such as Sabar, Djembe and Bougarrabou. He has graced the stage at venues worldwide including Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, The United Nations and Lincoln Center (NY), as well as theaters in Japan, Germany, London, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Class Schedule:

 Saturday Jan. 30th 4:00pm - 5:00pm EST | Sunday Jan. 31st 4:00pm - 5:00pm EST 

Lamine Thiam


Patriann Edwards 1.jpg

This exciting class invites the participant to experience a taste of the afro-traditional dance forms of Trinidad and Tobago. Participants will gain a basic understanding of the history & dance aesthetics of the dance forms which originates from the beautiful conglomeration of African cultures that traversed to Trinidad and Tobago during & post transatlantic slave period. Class will be accompanied by music afro-indigenous to T&T, to help the participants achieve a rhythmic understanding of the form.NB: A flare dance skirt is recommended for this class but not mandatory. Bare feet are preferred. OPEN TO ALL LEVELS 

Patriann Edwards is a multidisciplinary performing artist, dance educator & independent cultural researcher from Trinidad and Tobago. Extensively trained in Afro-Traditional/Folk Dance Forms of Trinidad & Tobago, West African Dance and the fire arts, Patriann holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts - Dance, from the University of Trinidad & Tobago. A "Jane of many trades", Patriann's wealth of experience extends to over 20 years of performance, training & mentorship within the artistic & entertainment industry in the Caribbean and the United States. In 2017, she received the Movement Research Institute of New York’s, MELT Summer Intensive International Scholarship and was also bestowed one of the awards, as one of their “GPS Artists of 2017”. Her ongoing artistic development, research and process centers around the promotion of the fastidious dissemination and presentation of the Afro-Trinidadian traditional dance forms. Known in her country for her high energy sessions & workshops, Patriann aims to bring the Trinbagonian fire across the waters. She is the current recipient of the Founder Scholarship from the Kieron Dwayne Sargeant Dance and Education Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago and is also currently pursuing the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts & Cultural Enterprise Management at the University of the West Indies. 

Class Schedule:

 Thursday Jan. 28th 6:00pm - 7:15pm EST | Sunday Jan. 31st 4:00pm - 5:00pm EST

Patriann Edwards



Marz Saffore and Amy Weng are members of MTL+, the artist collective which both founded and facilitates Decolonize This Place. Decolonize This Place is an action oriented movement centered around six strands of struggle: Indigenous struggles, Black liberation, Free Palestine, de-gentrification, dismantling patriarchy, and global wage workers.


Workshop Title:

"Movements Keep Moving: Abolitionist and Decolonial Organizing In Our Cities"


Workshop Description:

In this workshop, we will discuss the successes, failures, and lessons learned in abolitionist and decolonial movements, specifically focusing on our experiences in New York City. We will present our "Decolonial Operations Manual: Study, Reflection, Action," a forward-looking zine which traces the work of Decolonize This Place alongside our close collaborators and comrades. Then, we will open up the conversation to hear and learn from others who may have offerings for the space.

Get Dis War Dance.png
GDWD Infographic.png

Get Dis War Dance Artist Collective

Heather Himes. Alexis Araminta Reneé. Jennifer Harge. Brittany Williams. Nana Chinara. Orlando Hunter. Riccardo Valentine

The Power of the Black Demand