UCR Department of Dance

New Research in Critical Dance Studies Colloquium Series

Towards Antiracist Futures of Dance in the Post-Pandemic Academy 

Recently, dance organizations and institutions across the country have pronounced themselves in different forms against historical social and racial injustice. They have drafted values intended to prompt commitments to fighting against systemic racism and social marginalization. The colloquium and the Schlundt Lecture are motivated by the premise that in order to implement structural changes there must be a radical change on how we have learned to think, be, feel, care, do, and make in the world and in relation to one another. Presenters will be sharing their radical imagination as we keep the fire burning and the momentum going toward envisioning and building a more equitable and antiracist (dance) world.

Coordinated by Jose L Reynoso
Assistant Professor of Critical Dance Studies

MAY 6, 2021 Thursday, 1:30-3:20 pm PDT 
ONLINE - Free and open to the campus and broader community

Register in advance for this series (one link for all presentations): 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the presentation. 

Download the poster here


André M. Zachery (he/him/his)

“Blk Haptics - Africanist Aesthetics + Feedback in Performance Technology”

Through research fusing digital programming and media design, contemporary African Diaspora dance techniques and critical race theory through the lens of Afrofuturism, I contend that there is an urgent need to reconsider digital and virtual landscapes not as inherently neutral or a-cultural spaces but as entities that are devised, coded and algorithmically structured from socio-historical corporeal experiences. My objective through my work is to acknowledge “haptics” as something that can be varied, measured and qualitatively quantified from cultural practices that can alter and simultaneously be altered across mediated terrains. I contend that the haptics of Africanist cultures ranging from the continent into its Diaspora are missing from digital inventories and thus databases are not only incomplete, but not accounting for new considerations or feedback from shared experiences. 

As a choreographer, digital programmer and cultural researcher I fuse history, technology and personal narrative into projects centering African Diaspora cultural practices such as improvisation, imagery, dissociation, double-consciousness and repurposing. I consider these practices to be “futuring actions”. 

I actualize these futuring actions through conceptually devising interdisciplinary multimedia projects which address the tensions, intersections and feedback between the body, space, architecture and time. Though technology is an integral component, using dance as the primary mode of investigation centralizes the body in this ideological chasm. In this way dance becomes more than a mode of artistic expression but an act of place-making to locate layered existences and experiences part of a greater collective. Through this exchange the haptics of bodies - more specifically Black bodies - can begin to influence and expand the possibilities in digital and virtual futures for Africanist populations across the globe. 

André M. Zachery is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist of Haitian and African American descent, and is a scholar, researcher and technologist with a BFA from Ailey/Fordham University and MFA in Performance & Interactive Media Arts from CUNY/Brooklyn College. As the artistic director of Renegade Performance Group his practice, research and community engagement artistically focuses on merging of choreography, technology and Black cultural practices through multimedia work. André is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Gregory Millard Fellow in Choreography and 2019 Jerome Hill Foundation Fellow in Choreography. 

His works through RPG have been presented domestically and internationally, receiving support through several residencies, awards, commissions. These have included the LMCC Arts Center on Governors Island, Dance/NYC Coronavirus Relief Fund, CUNY Dance Initiative, Performance Project Residency at University Settlement, ChoreoQuest Residency at Restoration Arts Brooklyn, 3LD Art & Technology Center, HarvestWorks and a Jerome supported Movement Research AIR. Awarded grants have been from the Brooklyn Arts Council, Harlem Stage Fund for New Work and a Slate Property SPACE Award. Commissions have come from the Brooklyn Museum, Five Myles/BRIC Biennial and Danspace Project. 

RPG has earned mentions and favorable reviews from publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Culturebot, Infinite Blogspot, Futuristically Ancient, Hyperallergic, the Brooklyn Rail, the Daily News and AFROPUNK. As a technologist André has collaborated with various artists through RPG, the design team of 3LD Art & Technology Center and The Clever Agency on design installations, immersive media productions, film productions, film editing, projection mapping and performance collaborations. 

André has worked on major projects across artistic mediums as a choreographer, media designer and consultant with artists such as Daniel Bernard Roumain, Cynthia Hopkins, Davalois Fearon, Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, Arin Maya, Rags & Ribbons, The Clever Agency, Kendra Foster, Manhattan School of Music, Burwell & Sasser and Spike Lee. 

As a scholar he has been a member of panels, led group talks, facilitated discussions and presented research on a myriad of topics including Afrofuturism, African Diaspora practices and philosophies, Black cultural aesthetics, technology in art and performance and on expanding the boundaries of art making within the community. He has been a panelist and presented his research at institutions such as Duke University, Brooklyn College, University of Virginia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. André has taught at Brooklyn College and been a guest faculty member at the dance programs of Florida State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, The Ohio State University and University of California Los Angeles. 

Contact and learn more at @renegadepg (IG & Twitter) and https://www.renegadepg.com/

This series is supported by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Dean’s Office Visiting Artist Fund

Information: dance@ucr.edu 

Learn more about series here

As we strive to constantly renew our commitments to social and racial justice as a department, we acknowledge and recognize our responsibility to the original and current caretakers of the land where UC Riverside is located:  The Cahuilla, Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano peoples (see full land acknowledgement). The life of our department and the upkeep of our facilities are maintained by the labor of so many people we are grateful for. Special thanks to Kathleen DeAtley, Program Promotions Manager, and Lily Chan Szeto, Event Specialist, for contributing their expertise to the production of this Colloquium and Schlundt lecture. 

Photo credit: Tara Lynn Pixley

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