2022 Afrikana Independent Film Festival

6PM | Afrikana Shorts + Roundtable | Women in Resistance

Expired September 18, 2020 12:00 AM
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Filmmaker Panel:

Alicia Diaz

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Alicia Díaz is co-director of Agua Dulce Dance Theater with movement artist Matthew Thornton. As a Puerto Rican contemporary dance artist in the diaspora her choreographic work speaks to issues of migration, colonialism, and the legacy of slavery. Her artistic research is rooted in the premise that the body is a site of knowledge, and on questions of memory and identity. Alicia performed professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Andanza: Puerto Rican Contemporary Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group (The Harlem Nutcracker), Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, and the Maida Withers Dance Construction Company amongst others. She has collaborated extensively with Puerto Rican independent dance artists Esther Nequi González and Marion Ramírez, as well as percussionist Héctor “Coco” Barez. Her choreographic work has been presented in the United States, Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Alicia is dance faculty at The University of Richmond.

Christia Leoni-Osion

Christina Leoni-Osion is a performance artist, circle facilitator, educator and full-spectrum doula based in Richmond, Virginia. They received their BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and are continuing to refine their skills in movement, facilitation and support techniques. As a dance artist Christina has had the pleasure to collaborate and perform nationally and internationally with Agua Dulce Dance Theatre, The Theorists, Ground Zero Dance, LeeSaar, nathantrice/RITUALS, and The Von Howard Project among others. Christina has been a lead facilitator working with young people around social justice, self-advocacy and conflict transformation at the Richmond Peace Education Center for the past three years and currently serves as their Youth Program Coordinator. They have also recently been trained in a transformative justice practice known as the Circle Process. As a movement educator, they have collaborated with young movers at ART 180, Charter House School, Appomattox Reg. Governors School and John Marshall High School. As a Collective Member of the Richmond Doula Project, Christina trained in reproductive justice with Ancient Song Doula Services and is pursuing certification through Doula Training International to strengthen her skills to continue to support pregnant people no matter the outcome of their pregnancy. Christina is eternally grateful to participate in performance that pushes their understanding of embodiment, to engage in communities that challenge them to unlearn and rethink, and to build supportive, radical, transformative relationships.

Christine Wyatt

Christine C. Wyatt is a free-lance, anti-institutional, dance artist, performer and facilitator of movement experiences; born and raised in Baltimore, MD, She has her mama to thank for her career in the performing arts. After a multitude of experiences in 15 years of performance and training in music, theatre, and dance, Christine received a B.F.A. in Dance & Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in May of 2018. 

While enrolled at VCU, Christine was a collaborator on many VCU grant funded inter-disciplinary projects, including #donttouchmyhairRVA, Forgotten News. Forgotten Names. project for film "Hell You Talmbout", and two self produced performances "Journeys: An Interdisciplinary Dance Project" and "Homecoming". Post graduation, Christine continued to teach and choreograph in the Richmond Ballet's community based program, Minds in Motion, at several dance/performings arts schools in Virginia, and for many Musical Productions in the Richmond area. 

In addition, Christine has trained or performed, with artists like Mari Andrea Travis, Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange, Jawole Jo Zollar/Urban Bush Women, MK Abadoo, Maria Bauman, Dr. Gaynell Sherrod and Alicia Diaz/Agua Dulce Dance Theatre since 2014. Her most recent work in the field has been defined by her solo performance work, namely the restaging of her senior thesis "Ti'ed", site specific choreography, and her organizing of conversations and action in the arts community. The africanist movement values have influenced her movement practice and perspective of art as resistance. Her passion for anti-racist, community based work keeps her interest in the field of dance alive. 

Dr. Patricia Herrera

Dr. Herrera is committed to creating a more just world by using the visual and performing arts as powerful instruments for documenting history, building community, and igniting social change. Her teaching, research, and community-based projects explore/ the social inequities experienced by underrepresented communities, specifically as it relates to Latinx and African American diasporic communities as well as LGBTQ+ people of color. 

She is the author of Nuyorican Feminist Performances: From the Café to Hip Hop Theater (University of Michigan Press, May 2020), which critically examines the work of female performance artists inspired by the Nuyorican Poets Cafe between 1973-2010. Her writings also appear in Theatre Topics, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, African American Review, Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS, Public: A Journal of Imagining America, Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, and Café Onda: The Journal of the Latinx Theatre Commons

Since 2011 Dr. Herrera has engaged with the greater Richmond community on a public humanities project entitled “Civil Rights and Education in Richmond, Virginia: A Documentary Theater Project,” which has led to the creation of a digital archive—The Fight for Knowledge, as well as three community exhibitions at The Valentine Museum—Made in Church Hill (2015), Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond (2017) and Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic (2019-2020) and a series of seven docudramas about gentrification, educational disparities, HIV/AIDS, segregation and Latinos in Richmond. 

In 2000 she co-founded and co-directed Rubí Theater Company, an intergenerational ensemble that produced original plays and conducted performance workshops in New York City. She has appeared with the group as a lyricist and rapper on Dan Zanes’s Nueva York (2008), Catch That Train (2006 Grammy Award Winning CD for Best Children’s Musical Album), House Party (2003), and Night Time (2002). As dramaturg, she has assisted with the development of the dance piece “We Must Say Her Name,” choreography by Alicia Díaz as part of In/Motion (February 28-March 3 2019) as well as original plays such as How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (2019), Threshold (2014), My Life is a Telenovela (2004) and Through My Eyes (1999). Her plays A Woman Who Outshone the Sun (2003), Embrace Me with Your Shawl (1997), and the musical Remnants (2014) co-written with José Joaquín Garcia, deal with growing up in New York City, environmental justice, and urban youth experiences. Her work has appeared at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, International Fringe Festival, Rubicon Theatre Company, University of Richmond, and Culver Center of the Arts.


MK Abadoo

MK Abadoo is an assistant professor of Dance + Choreography, and a lead faculty member in the Racial Equity, Arts, and Culture Core of VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation. Abadoo’s creative work exist at the crux of dance theater, undoing racism cultural organizing, and critical education studies. Combining classical American modern and postmodern dance vocabularies, neo-traditional Ghanaian movement, and social Funk styles, Abadoo draws from the “tradition of black literature and art that unites past and present in unsparing dialog.” She has performed for over a decade with internationally renowned dance companies and choreographers including Gesel Mason, Liz Lerman, Urban Bush Women, David Dorfman Dance and the Dance Exchange. She’s worked with students as a guest artist at the University of Maryland, Brown University, James Madison University, East Carolina University, Dickinson College and the University of Virginia. Abadoo earned her MFA in dance from the University of Maryland, and her BFA in dance education with a concentration in modern dance and a minor in strategic advertising from the University of the Arts.