For three weeks, students of Living Arts' Youth Dance Ensemble studied under visionary master teachers Madame Penny Godboldo, Chi Amen Ra and Ozzie Rivera to understand the cultural connection between Black American and Afro Latinx communities (The African Diaspora). As the Living Arts Teaching Artist brought in on this project, I was honored to even be in the room with these incredibly decorated artists that I'd heard about for years. The importance of using dance as the catalyst to discuss these connections is a conversation I've had many times with various students, parents and fellow teachers. In Afrocentric and Indigenous culture dance is often used as an archive.
Hi my name is Johnathan Williams, I am a visual artist, beatmaker, DJ, and I was on the Open Arts Fest planning team this year. I had a lot of fun this summer planning Open Arts Fest, and I also learned a lot and gained more experience for a career.
Hi! I’m Diamond and I’ve been with Living Arts as a dancer, photographer, and artist for over five years.
And I’m Bailee and I have been dancing at Living Arts for four years. I was originally introduced to Living Arts when me and my mom stumbled upon it, and I have been coming ever since. During my time here I have taken all types of classes like ballet, tap, point, jazz, hip hop, salsa, and Afro-Latin.
In the 45 minutes window between school and rehearsal, I met with 5 young women at the FREC-Mercado. In preparation for their upcoming 20th Annual Student Showcase, we sat down to talk about their history with Living Arts, and the role the organization has played in their lives.