Black Nature Conversations

The Black Nature Conversation series began in 2020 to promote dialogue between black dance artists exploring their relationship with dance and nature.

June 2022 Conversation hosted by Joel Hall

Guest Joel Hall — a native of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood — established and co-founded the Chicago City Theatre Company in 1974. Hall was the Artistic Director and prime choreographer for his dance company and the Chief Dance Instructor for the training studio. Headshot Credit: Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth.

Christopher L. Huggins is a visionary, dance innovator. He’s a former soloist of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Aterballetto of Reggio Emilia, Italy. His work is rooted in research that memorialize our darkest history. Learn more about Christopher’s artistry here.

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March 2022 Conversation hosted by Dr. Kyaien Conner

Host Dr. Kyaien Conner is a tenured Associate Professor of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida. She has been dancing West African dance since she was 5 years old. And has been a professional West African dancer since she was 14. https://kyaconner.com

Guest Joel Hall — a native of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood — established and co-founded the Chicago City Theatre Company in 1974. Hall was the Artistic Director and prime choreographer for his dance company and the Chief Dance Instructor for the training studio. Headshot Credit: Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth.


February 2022 Conversation hosted by Stafford C. Berry, Jr.

Host Stafford C. Berry, Jr., MFA, is an accomplished artist, educator, activist, and scholar of African-rooted dance, theatre, and aesthetics. He is the Director of the IU African American Dance Company (AADC) and former Co-Director of The Berry & Nance Dance Project.

Guest Dr. Kyaien Conner is a tenured Associate Professor of Mental Health Law and Policy at the University of South Florida. She has been dancing West African dance since she was 5 years old. And has been a professional West African dancer since she was 14. https://kyaconner.com

January 2022 Conversation hosted by  Michelle Gibson

Host Michelle Gibson is a consummate storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academic. On stage and in the classroom, Ms. Gibson’s dance, choreography, and associated scholarship evoke the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building understanding within and across cultures.

Guest Stafford C. Berry, Jr., MFA, is an accomplished artist, educator, activist, and scholar of African-rooted dance, theatre, and aesthetics. He is the Director of the IU African American Dance Company (AADC) and former Co-Director of The Berry & Nance Dance Project.


November 2021 Conversation hosted by Clarence Brooks

Host Clarence Brooks, Associate Professor/ Director of Dance at Florida Atlantic University, founded the Repertory Dance Theatre Ensemble and guests with The Dance Exchange and David Parker & The Bang Group.

Gabri Christa is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia University’s Department of Dance and Affiliate Faculty of Film Studies. She is the founding director of the Moving Body – Moving image Festival a Biennale Screendance Festival around social and social justice issues.  She is also a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Global Brain Health.  www.gabrichrista.com

December 2021 Conversation hosted by Michelle Grant Murray

Host Michelle Grant Murray  is an independent choreographer, performer, Artistic Director of Olujimi Dance Collective, author of Beyond the Surface: An Inclusive American Dance History.  She is co-founder of the Florida Black Dance Artists Organization.

Michelle Gibson is a consummate storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academic. On stage and in the classroom, Ms. Gibson’s dance, choreography, and associated scholarship evoke the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building understanding within and across cultures.


October 2021 Conversation hosted by Crystal U. Davis

Host Crystal U. Davis, MFA, MA, CLMA is a dancer, movement analyst, and critical race theorist. Her research explores implicit bias in dance and how privilege manifests in the body.

Guest Clarence Brooks, Associate Professor/ Director of Dance at Florida Atlantic University, founded the Repertory Dance Theatre Ensemble and guests with The Dance Exchange and David Parker & The Bang Group.

September 2021 Conversation hosted by Corian Ellisor

Host Corian Ellisor (on IG: queen_ellarex) has worked with a variety of dance communities locally and abroad. Corian is a performance artist, teacher, choreographer and drag artist.

Guest Crystal U. Davis, MFA, MA, CLMA is a dancer, movement analyst, and critical race theorist. Her research explores implicit bias in dance and how privilege manifests in the body.


May 2021 Conversation hosted by Okwae A. Miller

Host Okwae A. Miller is an Atlanta-based professional dancer, emerging choreographer, and founder of Okwae A. Miller & Artists.

Guest Corian Ellisor (on IG: queen_ellarex) has worked with a variety of dance communities locally and abroad. Corian is a performance artist, teacher, choreographer and drag artist.

April 2021 Conversation hosted by PhaeMonae

Host PhaeMonae is a movement engineer originating from DC. Currently living in Atlanta GA for the last 6yrs creating and working in all forms of art making.

Guest Okwae A. Miller is an Atlanta-based professional dancer, emerging choreographer, and founder of Okwae A. Miller & Artists.


March 2021 Conversation hosted by Tina Mullone

Host Tina Mullone is Assistant Professor of Dance at Bridgewater State University, Ambassador for National Water Dance and New England board member for the American College Dance Association.

Guest PhaeMonae is a movement engineer originating from DC. Currently living in Atlanta GA for the last 6 yrs creating and working in all forms of art making.

February 2021 Conversation hosted by Hattie Mae Williams

Host Hattie Mae Williams received her B.F.A from The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Fordham University program and her Masters from Goddard University in Interdisciplinary Arts.

Guest Shamar Watt was born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Miami, and is based in Miami and New York City. He was nominated as one of the top 25 performers/choreographers to watch for 2019 Dance Magazine.


March 2021 Conversation hosted by Tina Mullone

Host Tina Mullone is Assistant Professor of Dance at Bridgewater State University, Ambassador for National Water Dance and New England board member for the American College Dance Association.

Guest PhaeMonae is a movement engineer originating from DC. Currently living in Atlanta GA for the last 6 yrs creating and working in all forms of art making.

February 2021 Conversation hosted by Hattie Mae Williams

Host Hattie Mae Williams received her B.F.A from The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Fordham University program and her Masters from Goddard University in Interdisciplinary Arts.

Guest Shamar Watt was born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Miami, and is based in Miami and New York City. He was nominated as one of the top 25 performers/choreographers to watch for 2019 Dance Magazine.


January 2021 Conversation hosted by Michelle Grant Murray

Host Michelle Grant-Murray, is an independent choreographer, performer, and Artistic Director of Olujimi Dance Collective. She is co-founder of the Florida Black Dance Artists Organization.

Host Hattie Mae Williams received her B.F.A from The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Fordham University program and her Masters from Goddard University in Interdisciplinary Arts.

December 2020 Conversation hosted by Augusto Soledade

Host Augusto Soledade, a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Choreographer for Augusto Soledade Brazzdance, and serves as an Associate Professor in Dance at the University of Florida.

Guest Michelle Grant-Murray, is an independent choreographer, performer, and Artistic Director of Olujimi Dance Collective. She is co-founder of the Florida Black Dance Artists Organization.


October 2020 Conversation hosted by Jamē McCray

Host Jamē McCray, PhD. is an interdisciplinary ecologist who uses the performing arts to increase the diversity of communities engaging in discussions about today’s challenges.

Guest Tina Mullone is Assistant Professor of Dance at Bridgewater State University, Ambassador for National Water Dance and New England board member for the American College Dance Association.