Dancing Diaspora Festival
A FREE two-day celebration of Latinx dance, music, history, and resiliency in East Los Angeles
Saturday, Jun 1 2019
11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
FREE! Register

Saturday June 1, 11am-3pm & 8-10pm

Sunday June 2, 12-9pm





The Dancing Diaspora Festival is a FREE two-day celebration of Latinx dance, music, history, and resiliency in East Los Angeles. Growing from the free weekly community class taught by Brazilian-born dance-maker Marina Magalhães, DDF brings together diasporic artists and community members from the East Side of LA to honor ancestral practices, find collective healing, and embody radical joy.










*Please note that the festival is FREE, but space is LIMITED, and so it is recommended that you arrive EARLY. After we reach capacity we will turn people away*






June 1 Schedule



11am-1pm: Opening Class with Marina Magalhães



1:30-3pm: Panel Discussion featuring Linda Yudin (Founding Artistic Director of Viver Brasil), Ana Maria Alvarez (Founding Artistic Director of CONTRA-TIEMPO), Dana Fitchett (Choreographer), Rainy Demerson (UC Riverside PhD Candidate), Marina Magalhães (Choreographer)



8pm: Performances by José Richard Aviles, Dana Fitchett, Allison Gray, Marina Magalhães, Bianca Medina,Vera Passos & Rachel Hernandez, Primera Generación Dance Collective, and Tatiana Zamir





June 2 Schedule (day of workshops) 



12-1:15pm: Afro-Brazilian Dance with Vera Passos & live drums



1:30-2:45pm: House Dance with Jackie MissFunk Lopez



3-4:15pm: Afro-Cuban with Kati Hernandez & live drums



4:30-5:45pm: Samba Reggae with Rachel Hernandez and Bloco Obini drum ensemble 



6-9pm: Open Jam with DJ Sizzle





(festival founder, performer, panelist & teacher)

Marina Magalhães is a border-crosser, bridge-builder, and dance-and-change-maker from Brazil based in Los Angeles.  She has shared her work throughout the US, Brazil, Cuba, Botswana, South Africa, Germany, and France. Magalhães is a graduate of UCLA’s World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department and projected to graduate with an MFA in Dance from University of the Arts this summer. She is currently a Resident Artist at Pieter Space where she teaches the Dancing Diaspora community class, which she founded and is going on its 3rd year with the support of California Arts Council.



Rainy Demerson is an artist and scholar investigating decolonial praxis within the African diaspora. As a PhD candidate at UCR, her current project researches Indigenous philosophies within contemporary dance in South Africa. She holds an MFA from Hollins University, an MA in Dance Education from NYU, and a BA in World Arts and Cultures/Dance from UCLA. She has trained at L’ecole des Sables in Senegal, Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Escola de Dança da FUNCEB in Brazil, and in Belize, Indonesia and Germany. She teaches critical dance studies and dance history at Scripps College and Cal Poly Pomona. 



Ana María Alvarez, Cuban American, raised mainly in the south as part of a union family, is a choreographer, director, dancer, community organizer, movement activist, Salsera, teaching artist, mother and the Founding Artistic Director of the LA based dance theater company CONTRA-TIEMPO.



LINDA YUDIN is the founding artistic director of Viver Brasil. She earned her MA in Dance (Ethnology) from UCLA in 1988, and has devoted more than 30 years to researching, performing and teaching Afro-Brazilian dance.  She taught at Santa Monica College (1999-2014) and is an adjunct lecturer in the UCLA WAC/Dance Department.


(panelist & performer)

dana e. fitchett is a multi- and interdisciplinary artist, committed to the pursuit toward liberation through creative expression and community-building. In addition to her work in dance, visual art, and writing, dana has over a decade of experience in schools and community-based organizations. dana splits her time between the Northeast and the Bay Area, holds an AB in Urban Studies with concentrations in Sociology and Africana Studies, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, exploring identity reconciliation and decolonization through creative practice. 



Jose Richard Aviles is an Angelino seeking ways to find movements that are authentic to all of their identities and skins. They hope to inspire and empower others to become activists in their lives all while unpacking the epistemology of queer bodies and policing of desire.



Bianca Medina is a Puerto Rican & Mexican Chicago native & holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Iowa. She is currently professionally dancing, touring, teaching, and engaging with communities internationally through arts activism as a company member for CONTRA-TIEMPO Urban Latin Dance Theatre, Viver Brasil Dance Company, and in working with choreographer Marina Magalhães. In reclaiming her Afro-Latin Indigenous roots within spiritual & ritual Orixa traditions, Medina’s choreographic interest lies in exploring essence of divine (her)stories & ritualistic (re)remembering that lives in the female body through a resiliently grounded & lush expression.



Allison “Alli” Gray is a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator based in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from UCLAʼs Department of World Arts and Cultures with a concentration in Dance in June 2010. Since graduation, Alli has been a principal member of Versa Style Dance Company, co- founder of Soul Lab Dance Project, and teaching artist in residency at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Academy. Alli is inspired to create work that represents a unique female voice through powerful, dynamic, and funky movement.



Tatiana Zamir is a choreographer, dance instructor, performing artist and holistic healer. Tatiana earned her BFA at UCLA in the World Arts & Cultures Department with an emphasis on dance. From healing arts workshops to her inclusive Afro Hip-Hop dance classes and performance art pieces Tatiana proves herself to be a compassionate, outside-the-box creator of dynamic, expansive, empowering and joyful experiences that catalyze transformation.



Primera Generación Dance Collective is a collaborative group based in Riverside, California and formed by Alfonso Cervera, Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Irvin Gonzalez and Patricia (Patty) Huerta. Educated and trained through graduate studies at the University of California Riverside, the collective finds its roots in experimental choreography and research that focuses on Mexican American identity and its many marginalized connections.


(performer & teacher)

Vera Passos

Passos is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer, holding a degree in Dance from the Federal University of Bahia. She studied with renowned Brazilian teachers, among them: Gal Mascarenhas, Lia Robato, Mestre King, and Carlinhos Moraes. Passos danced in companies such as Africa Poesia, Companhia de Dança Jorge Silva and was a solo dancer of the acclaimed Folkloric Balé of Bahia. She began her studies in Silvestre Technique in 1988, and has been teaching the methodology throughout the world since 2002. She is currently the director of Silvestre Link Bahia and Associate Artistic Director of Viver Brasil Dance Company.



Rachel Hernandez began her professional studies in Salvador, Bahia. She has had the privilege to study with landmark masters such as: Mestre King, Joffre Santos, Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Nildinha Fonseca, and performed with Mestre King’s Grupo Genisis, Balá da Mata, Fusion Dance Company, Ballet Santa Barbara, Marina Magalhães, Viver Brasil and in the legendary production Saurê. She currently curates and choreographs the dance component of Extra Ancestral and plays percussion with Bloco Obini.



Jackie Lopez aka Miss Funk is a first generation Los Angeles native. Jackie graduated from UCLA in 2004 from the Department of World Arts and Cultures, with a concentration in Dance. Jackie is the Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Versa-Style Dance Company (certified 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization). Simultaneously, she is the Executive Director for The Flourish Foundation and Lecturer at UCLA’s Dept. of World Arts and Cultures/Dance teaching Hip-hop dance. 



Sizzle Fantastic is a Dj, Event Producer, and Community Organizer born en la Costa de Guerrero and raised in the beautiful barrio of Boyle Heights, California. Currently, she is the resident Dj and curator of Cumbiatón, a Nationwide party paying homage to the Afro-Latinx cultura and musica de barrios. Sizzle Fantastic holds Dj residencies all throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.



The Dancing Diaspora Festival is a FREE program thanks to generous support of the California Arts Council, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.





Please park on the street.

Upcoming Events in the Series:

Photo Credit: Bobby Gordon
Image Credit: Blaine O'Neill