• I was in Jamaica a few weeks ago interviewing both academics and healers who are in some way affiliated with Myal or the practice of healing. I also spent time at the African -Caribbean library there pouring over and through literature on Myal and  its evolution. I made several discoveries, and was able to photograph […]

    Read More

  • line “the concepts that shape …” are where I’d have to begin … better yet, “SHAPE!” is where I’d have to begin if you REALLY want to talk about what we do as folklorists, performers, teachers, students etc. This residency is an opportunity for us to build new models of discussion, exploration, and experimentation around […]

    Read More

  • If I were being safe I would say my art form is Haitian Folkloric Dance, then I would expound on it. However this would not be absolutely accurate. I am Haitian blooded African American raised in the United States by Haitian immigrants….”black”. The two cultures are quite distinct yet share a “way”,”taste”, “movement”. This gives […]

    Read More

  • Mexican folk dance has been a part of California since the the late 18th century. In those days the itinerant dance “maestro” went from Rancho to Rancho teaching the latest European dance fads to a multigeneretional clientele. When the Californios held their “meriendas” and “bailes”, this was the perfect opportunity for every elegible bachelor and […]

    Read More

  •  What is guqin? The guqin, a seven-stringed zither, is China’s oldest stringed instrument with a documented history of about 3,000 years. It became part of a tradition cultivated by Chinese scholars and literati and has been associated with philosophers, sages, and emperors since the time of Confucius. Perhaps because of this illustrious history, following the […]

    Read More

  • What is kathak? Kathak is a unique dance form which incorporates rhythmic virtuosity, compelling storytelling, poetry, recitation, song, swift and subtle movement, and a rich philosophy whose roots extend thousands of years. In 1992, I enrolled in a Kathak class at SFSU with world-renowned master, Pandit Chitresh Das. Little did I know the vast ocean […]

    Read More

  • For me, dancing is both a sacred and spiritual act. I was reminded of that as I sat and listened to the recently selected Performing Diaspora (PD) artists discuss there work during their orientation meeting here at CounterPULSE (CP) a few weeks ago (I am intern at CP for the summer).  As I sat there […]

    Read More

  • A Cambodian classical dancer, when practicing her moving meditation developed over a thousand years ago as a ritual prayer, displays a serpentine grace that is hypnotic and sublime. Her form is supple, her gestures fluid, and she floats in curvilinear paths across the stage. This is no coincidence as the serpent – moving like the waters that bring fertility and sustenance to the land, bridge between heaven and earth, the being in which the first “Cambodian” sovereign took form (in one creation story anyways) – was worshiped prevalently throughout what is now Cambodia before the introduction of major religions. And today, after many generations of refinement, the serpent can still be seen in this highly stylized art form: its scales transformed into a costume’s detail and its function assumed by a human dancer.

    Read More

  • While most know of Obeah in Jamaica, few know its counterpoint, Myal. An Entry in Jamaica Talk: Three Hundred years of the English Language in Jamaica by Frederic G. Cassidy ( MacMillian Caribbean, 1961), we get one notation: “Obeah, the Jamaican form of sorcery or `black magic’, [sic] was once counterbalanced by myal, or `white […]

    Read More