Black Art of Dance brings tradition to Sac State

Performance has been on campus since 1991

Miguel+Forbes%2C+Gelline+Guevarra%2C+Andrea+Guianan%2C+Senaj+Jones%2C+Shania+Lovelace%2C+and+Nafi+Thompson+perform+%22Avanhia%2C%E2%80%9D+which+is+a+celebratory+African+dance%2C+during+the+Black+Art+of+Dance+performance+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+26.

Alexis Perales

Miguel Forbes, Gelline Guevarra, Andrea Guianan, Senaj Jones, Shania Lovelace, and Nafi Thompson perform "Avanhia,” which is a celebratory African dance, during the Black Art of Dance performance on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Alexis Perales

Sacramento State held the first performance of the Sacramento/Black Art of Dance: Inner/Visions Wednesday night in the Dancespace in Solano Hall.

Performances will continue until Sunday.

The performance is a celebration of the movement culture within African and African American modern dance. The performance has been put on every year in the tradition of Black Concert Dance, since Linda Goodrich started it in 1991.

“Black people historically in this nation have not had a space for themselves,” said Bernard Brown, an assistant professor of dance. “And so using the body as a site of resistance and a site of joy and as an agent of change is why we do this.”

The night consisted of six performances with graphic pictures depicting Black life and tragedy in between performances. 

Sac State alumnus Kenya Hilliard, choreographed her own dance in memory of her father who died by suicide two years ago. Hilliard performed to a song titled “Hand Me Down.”

The piece was done by cutting up Antonio Vivaldi’s “Summer” and Roderic Hilliard’s “Isolation.” 

“The name ‘Hand Me Down,’ literally (means) hand-me-down (for) all the struggles that Black men go through (that) I could never imagine,” Hilliard said. “I’m a bi-racial woman. I could never imagine the struggles that a Black man can go through but they’re still being handed down to me in some way, shape or form.” 

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The performance ended with a celebratory and ceremonial Avanhia dance that brought history and tradition to the event.

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“We look at Black dance just like we look at the civil rights movement, as archetypes, or the architect for inclusivity and celebrating diversity,” Brown said.

Sacramento/Black Art of Dance: Inners/Visions will hold evening performances at 7 p.m. through Saturday with a matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase here.