Latanya d. Tigner
Choreographer; Coordinator of Dimensions’ Rites of Passage program for youth; and Director, Dimensions Extensions Performance Ensemble
Dimensions Dance Theater: A Legacy of Staged Protest
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Conference Room: Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity; Main Quad, Building 360, Room 361 J/K*
Through video and discussion, Latanya d. Tigner will share Oakland based Dimensions Dance Theater’s legacy of manifesting art emerged from socially and politically charged catalytic events throughout the African Diaspora that have resulted in mass movements to action. Project Panther: Phase I, To March, Common Ground, and the most recent, The Town on Notice, and several other works brought to the stage the struggles, resistance, resilience and hopes of marginalized communities.
*Note the location change!
This event is free, but please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies is sponsored by the Mellon “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities” initiative and is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It receives administrative support from Stanford’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), and additional funding from Stanford’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity.
More information on Dimensions: Event after monumental event has provided artistic fodder for the company to examine and create works of art that reflect the grand possibilities of life as human beings through the lens of the African experience. Dimensions repertory includes works that paid tribute to a variety of still topical issues like: Black Power and Black Arts Movements: The company’s first piece, My People (1973), choreographed by Barnes, was an ode to the beauty in Blackness. Set to the Langston Hughes poem of the same name, My People was the first piece performed by an African American dance company in the Bay Area to live recitation. Civil Rights Movement: To March, created in 1992 in collaboration with a capella singing group Street Sounds and actor Winston Williams, brought to life familiar and not so familiar stories of the Civil Rights movement such as the speeches Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered regarding the Vietnam War. Apartheid: People of the Zozos, an incredible collaboration with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, examined the everyday lives of South Africans residing in Shanty towns and the similarities to Jim Crow South (1991). This work premiered a year after the South African government freed Nelson Mandela. Black Panther Party: Vaughan collaborated with former Black Panthers, to celebrate the Party’s 30th anniversary. Project Panther premiered in 1996 as the first interdisciplinary piece to acknowledge the important contributions the Panthers made to Oakland and ultimately the nation. The Rodney King verdict/death of Latasha Harlins: Dimensions reached out to Lily Cai Chinese Dance company to create Common Ground in 1994 with hopes of showing both communities of people the similarities of their cultures through dance. Black on Black crime epidemic/Hip Hop: The esteemed Dimensions on stage with a hip hop group? Why not? Seen Scenes featured the hip hop flows and storytelling of urban griots The College Boyz. Drawing on traditional West African dance and spirituality, modern dance and hip hop, this work revisions the tragedy of a drive-by shooting, demonstrating how communities can right societal ills by utilizing ancestral knowledge.
Now 40 years strong, Dimensions continues to create work that pulls communities together. Down the Congo Line, the culmination of which will premiere October 5, bridges four communities, Brazilian, Congolese, African American and Cuban through their Congolese lineage. This multi-year collaboration, one of several, reinforces the company’s purpose to preserve and perpetuate African and African derived dance forms. With the continued dedication of the company members, community and the strength of the organization’s artistic offerings, Dimensions definitely has another 40 years coming.