I conduct research and engage in art-making at intersections of the arts, health, healing and activism. My academic affiliations include: Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life and the Department of Religion at Columbia University; Affiliated Faculty at the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College and Arts; and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cultural Engagement Fellow at the University of Oxford. The latter facilitated the development of the arts and science performance research project, Transportation Transformation: Migration, Teleportation, and Railways. Having trained as a professional dance artist in New York City, my career includes performing in Modern Dance companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Forces of Nature, DanceBrazil, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Stack Motions Productions and Urban Bush Women. I teach Horton Caribbean fusion workshops and master classes throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Jamaica, West Indies.
My theater background includes training with Dale Robert McClausland and at the Terry Schreiber Studios; I have been a member of Jomandi Productions, Portobello Theater, New York Theater Ensemble, and The Production Company. I have worked collaboratively with musical artists Boston Fielder – founder of Mutdawith, bassist David Tunkle, and percussionists Kevin Burrell, and L. Gerard Reid. I develop professional and community theater in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe and contribute as an artist-scholar to on-going public discussions centered on African Diaspora artistic and cultural expressions.
My research initiatives focus on the body in performance of identity and belonging in twenty-first century African Diaspora/Black Atlantic and in the wider category of western and westernizing societies. My research is grounded in critical ethnography, with the use of dance and performance as theoretical and analytical tools.
I hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and Master degrees in Religious Studies and in Cultures and Development Studies from the Katholieke Universitiet Leuven in Belgium. My more than two decades of higher education teaching include: College of Charleston – Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia State University – Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University Atlanta, Georgia, City University of New York City Hunter College -New York City in the United States; the University of Lincoln and the University of Leeds in the UK; the Fontys Dansacademie, Tilburg, Netherlands; St Michael’s Theological College and the University of Technology Jamaica, in Jamaica, West Indies.
I teach academic courses that address the performance and performative expressions of gender, ‘race’, and religion in the African Diaspora and practical dance training courses in Horton-based modern dance and in Hieflux Dance Mechanics (my own blend of Caribbean, modern dance, martial and meditative arts practices through principles of kinesiology).
I currently serve on the steering committee of the African Diaspora Religions Unit at American Academy of Religion and from 2011 – 2018 served on the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Group. I also independently mentor a select group of artists and scholars. My former service activities include: 2008 – 2013 Alternate Roots Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Atlanta, Georgia; 2007 – 2008 Planning Committee Crossroads In Cultural Studies Conference, Jamaica, West Indies; 2000 – 2002; Steering Committee for Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, Atlanta, Georgia, United States; 2002 – 2003 Student Representative Advisory Committee – Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; and 2004 – 2005 Sexual Harassment Committee for the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
D’NZi Productions was founded in 1989 with the aim to promote and support the work of artists inspired by faith and spirituality in their professional and personal lives. D’NZi Productions’ activities includes the forging of mentoring partnerships between aspiring young artists and seasoned arts professionals, providing production support for emerging dance and performing artists, and sponsoring workshops on a variety of social and cultural topics relevant to artists and artist-activist development.
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