Friday, January 26, 2018

nzoCALIFA: Sensational Samba Sendoff with ShaunteMJ

nzoCALIFA -- A Fantastic jump off for our Season's programming as Nzo Califa Dance Works produced its first event of the year, "Samba Sendoff Workshop" with one of the Bay Area's most dynamic emissaries of Samba traditions, Ms. Shaunte M. Jackson aka Shaunte MJ, Princesa do Samba USA, the first American to achieve this coveted title in 2015 and 2016.  Advancing her career achieving esteemed membership as "Musa das Passistas" (Muse of Samba Dancers) with Rio's Escola de Samba, GRES Academincos de Santa Cruz, guided by the incomparable Marcel Chocolatt, Shaunte continues to  trail blaze pathways for aspiring Bay Area Sambistas.
Students learn technique, choreo routine & Samba culture, RIO style

Shaunte MJ, Dance Teacher
of Samba Cultural Traditions

As if that weren't exciting enough, Shaunte is an RN accompanied by several certifiable letters in her field, working closely with Heart patients in life and death circumstances.  Dedicated, she balances her life doing what she loves -- to Dance and teach traditional and popular cultural traditions of Samba.  Founder and Director of Samba Sensation Brazilian Dance Entertainment, Shaunte preps for her departure to participate in one the greatest showcase on Earth, Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval of Brazil.
In a partnering mission with Dance-kin Ashlee George, Carnaval San Francisco Queen 2012, we booked Shaunte overnight at West Oakland's Full Out Studio -serving as our host Dance house dynamic in energy. *thank you to owner, Anthony Esposo for answering our call swiftly and Ceasar for your wonderful hospitality.

After mirrored warm ups, Shaunte invited students to share what they knew about Samba culture in a series of inquiry about instrumentation such as the surdo, questioned what's a break, a passista, and demonstrated feet placement making it paramount that RHYTHM is key. As Students transitioned into progressions across the floor, Shaunte did not let up encouraging them to bring their Dance, and release their inner Diva. And even in the brisk of cold, things got Hot as some students stepped up their Dance practicing in platforms and heels. View a glimpse of the class action below:


Getting better with every cycle across the floor, shoulders shook, hips grooved, as feet strive to #Dance on rhythm at various speeds. At class close, the traditional roda [circle], solo filled with alegria as each student, including yours truly, dived into a revelry of RIO inspiration, with Shaunte serving up a finale solo of finesse and style:

Pleased, as faces beamed with gratification and adulation of the experience; indeed the class was enjoyed by all with some students sharing their deepened appreciation about honoring the cultural traditions of Samba. At Nzo Califa Dance Works, we identify Dance agents and agencies aligned with our mission:

"to inspire consciousness in movement."

Muita Obrigada to Shaunte MJ for including us in her count down to Brazil voyage, com muito exito; a special Bom viaje to students of @nzoCALIFA in their respective sojourn to Brasil, and shout out to Full Out Studiosuntil we create Dance-building again.

Learn more about Shaunte MJ and her Company
*on Facebook and Instagram

ShaunteMJ is also available for private classes, conferences
and Choreography work with Companies. So you want to travel or Dance in RIO Carnaval?! Contact Shaunte and engage in organic exchange about making your venture possible.

vid clips/photos/flier: courtesy of  @nzoCALIFA


Thursday, January 18, 2018

nzoCALIFA Winter works:Genealogy, Samba Workshop,Ancestral Tribute


Exciting news from the #nzoCALIFAncestry hub as we've repaired over 27 Community Family Trees, unearthing fantastic stories about our Ancestors. 

We've met in living rooms, coffee houses and the Library, engaging in the most compelling sessions bringing light to the unspoken and flipping scripts adding technological research. 
R. Califa Calloway, #nzoCALIFAncestry

ūüĒĎOn the course to #nextlevel my research and service through #Regina2Rootstech2018
beneficient to the works of US and Them. Your GIVE is my gratitude, Ase'o. [please click highlighted link above]

Wherever we are Ancestors are with us, get to know them, learn their names, pay homage to the ones who make YOU possible; I'm here for you. @nzoCALIFA

sat.jan. 25, 2018 

Spaces are limited $15 Advance registration available: Nzo Califa Dance Works - Samba with Shaunte   Drop-in $20 with space availability. For more info: 510.900-WATA [9282]

sat.feb.03.2018 |oakland, ca
@nzoCALIFA -- In the wake of our beloved transitioned, and under observation of His Ancestral ascension, the dawn of a new era of awakening now transforms a Global Cultural Community; We gather together in the Spirit of #JebaBara to honor the teachings of our foremost Wisdomkeeper, Cultural Gatekeeper of Bamana traditions, Djembefola and Master Teacher in West African Dance and Drum Traditions -- we give praise to the life of Gran' Abdoulaye Diakite - BAMANA of Tambacounda, W. Africa. | Please support our relief  campaign for Gran Diakite's Family: Uplift _Gran Abdoulaye Diakite


Monday, January 15, 2018

nzoCALIFA: Salve Mestre King - Give praise to Life! 1943-Jan.13, 2018

nzoCALIFA -- Salveeeee Mestre King, Salvador da Bahia's Dance Pioneer, Scholar and Teacher, invoking Dance Spirit, Dance Education and Dance Excellence in all who've learned from your feet or was privy to Dance discourse, a joke, a hearty laugh and sometimes a screw-faced look if you weren't Dance present. *smiling* Obrigada Pai for decoding and installing the Ancestral codes of  Bahiana kinship upon my feet; for openly receiving me on #Dance merit as you flipped, rolled, leaped my Dance body across that dusty-cemented classroom floor in Liberdade '94, jam packed, bursting open gateways of #Dance. Yup, that 2-hour city autobus ride changed the course of my #Dance life, that day.  And we'd meet in the Dance, discourse, create and building #Dance cycles of seasons over, inheriting a Dance camaraderie in Afro Brasilian Dance traditions that'd enrich lifetimes over...  
Mestre King "revolutionized the practice and teaching of contemporary dance, being responsible for the formation of the main names of Afro dance in Bahia." documentary: Raimundos: King Master and the Male Figures of the Dance in Bahia
Today, I celebrate, grieve and Dance your Spirit into sweet ascension, adjoined by the many excellent Artists and brilliant Teachers birthed from your Ile, and for that I am pleased to be of  kinship, humbled by your final bow of departure.
*a ben√ß√£o meu pai, com muito Axe'*

Regina, "Califa da Bahia" Calloway,
Nzo Califa Dance Works | @nzoCALIFA

Grandes condol√™ncias aos meus amigos: Nildinha Fonseca, Ze' Ricardo Santos, Zebrinha, Tania Santiago, Denilson Oluwafemi, Roseangela Silvestre, Isaura Oliveira, Paco Gomes.   #givepraisetolife

In shared kinship and adoration, I share my deepest sentiments of saudade, celebrating the greatness of Our Mestre King, so eloquently written by my Dance Sistar Linda Yudin, a written keepsake highlighting his vast contributions; and extend heartfelt condolences to our irmao & Mestre Luis Badaro. ~Axe'o Viver Brasil Dance Co.

Farewell Mestre King, Master of Masters - Dance Pioneer, Scholar and Master Teacher  foto: A TARDE

online news links:

Balé Folclórico da Bahia's Founder/Director Walson Freitas Bothelho aka Vava

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

nzoCALIFA: Wading into Dance Healing works 2018

nzoCALIFA -- WATA, Wezolo Mami, WATER, nature's gold WATERS, my Maternal Family name...I flowed into the New Year prayed up, praised up and in the cove, as incubating works ready for its creative birth awaits sacred passage to gush forward like a waterfall; Mami ebbs, Yeye flows, opening up the way allowing me to "Wade in the Water".
"Sobe as Antepassadas" Yerba Buena Center for The Arts-2014  
Lead: Amara Tabor Smith, Regina Califa, Karen Ransom &
Malia Connor. photo: Robbie Sweeny regalia: Dana Kano

New Year's resolutions? You still gotta have a plan, it's the HOW you're going to do what you are divinely commissioned to do? You got goals? What are the daily tasks leading up to those proposed dates? Are you creating a timeline and how will you hold yourself accountable? -- Who do you fellowship with or will you congregate?! Got viable answers, WONDERFUL, walk well, and if not -- STOP, get QUIET and LISTEN!

"The Spirituals represent the multi-level genius of our enslaved African Ancestors"

"Wading in the Water" made way for a spirited New Year's Eve sermon delivered by Pastor Greg Stamper, of Celebration Spiritual Center in Brooklyn New York.  Drawing inspiration from from Bible scripture, John 5:2-9 [Jesus in Bethesda and the pool of "troubled" Water] espoused how "wading in the water" is an act of activism; And that God "troubling" the water brings about a healing, change, and transformation, while gently warning that unless you get in the water, change just can't happen. [paraphrased] *Harriet Tubman knew this* 

Iyalode's depths are only known
by her complement Olokun,
who dwells in unfathomable leagues
of the watery realm where "Kalunga"
crossings of the Ancestral dominion
may take place
     His sermon reminded me of one remarked year whereby invite, I joined an intimate gathering led by Mestre Jorge Alabe,  ritual Drummer of the Atabaque and Candomble Priest of Xango to make offerings to Yemonja, the all-encompassing Mother, nurturer, and protector.  
It must have been a very early morning in the month of January as the meeting place was in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the cold shores of the Pacific ocean -- a stark difference than being in Bahia for Festa de Iemanj√°. Nevertheless, we sang, played afoxe style as an ensemble in procession making our way towards to the waters.  In Bahia, I KNOW my sandals would have flown off enthusiastically to enter the warm turquoise coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, YET the whipping winds made it ever-so-present that we were indeed in California and cold is gon' be cold.  Leaving not a moment to hesitate, Pai Jorge braved the chilly waters of the Pacifica, slightly wincing from its sting, yet, he didn't miss a step, lose the rhythm nor sing off key. *I'm smiling*

Dutifully we followed suit, no one dared to miss the blessings by standing idly by; Indeed freezing, the water quickly engulfed my hastily placed feet like nitrogen oxide going through the joints of my toes; We all laughed at the somewhat uncomfortable circumstances, yet knew that favor had to be in our midst. And of course fulfilled, I so admired the tenacity and dedication of Mestre Jorge, transcending his native ways in alternative conditions to carry out Spiritual obligations he was born and initiated to do. We all served and were served well. ~Axe`

     In our Bay Area Community, African Diaspora Dance and Drum Mediums and Students are privy to ceremonial rites conducted by initiated Artist leaders of their respective Spiritual traditions or Cultural form. Others learn from Folklorists and Culture keepers who've received Elder clearance as promising stewards mentor with Cultural gatekeepers and Wisdom keepers; the Bay Area Artscape is well-primed to transcend changing social and civil dynamics challenging societal wellness and place.  Historically our Community is founded upon pioneering legacies of Spiritual Activism, Civil Rights movements, Community building initiatives, along with the advancing field research works founding some of today's Ethnic Studies programs; these pedagogical methods influenced by Artistic visionaries, continue to influence Dance training in University and College settings. There exists a historical Artistic cadre of 4-generation Arts organizations anchored in buildings throughout the City or in places of residence, still standing as light towers - Our "Walking History" 

     I am reared in a time where my Dance, Drum, and Culture was plentiful and present, named and claimed, with no explanations needed;  And as swift currents call for today's realizations, lest we ever forget those names that make US possible to do what WE LOVE, by way of African Ancestored Spiritual and Cultural Traditions. Water as conductor and conduit can bring messages to the surface of a sparkling river or simply through gazing into a sun-kissed glass bowl of water -- these are the ways of my Ancestors. With proficient prayers and libations of my Ancients, name-by-name-by-nation-and-dimension: calibrating, cleansing and cleaning with guided intent, continuing to hydrate my temple and fellowship in Temple, I remain fortified. ~Aboru, Aboye, Abosise'o.  

         Your Spiritual hygiene is as important as your physical hygiene. 
"86 year old Sioux Elder arriving at Sacred Stone Camp near Cannon Ball,
North Dakota/photo: Birk Albert/Facebook" ~prayers & politiks: "Sign of the Times"

Seize the moment to BE in this Season of Renewal!

Already ensoiled with the ocean washed sands of MAAFA Ancestral remembrance, Bay Area Houses Studios and Temples open their doors for the aligned to propitiate the Season.  House/Full of Black Women's Ocean visits brings back messages from the middle, Annual Bay Area Lavagems like Brasarte's in Berkeley to 1st of the year classes in White led by Maestra Isaura Oliveira brings the Brasilian Axe experience. At the helm, Bay Area Dance Pioneer and Master Teacher of Haitian Dance traditions, Ms. Blanche Brown give us the best of both worlds as old-school technique reigns supreme with timely grace and form; this legacy continues to carve out new pathways uplifting the Vodou thru White Party Communal rites presented by Rara Tou Limen

And with guided heads, together: We remember, We propitiate, We're cleansed, We're refreshed and We Dance, Drum and Honor Spirit, invoking the roar of sacred drums with Ancestral applause. 

Happy New Year in shared Dance, Drum & Good Spirit,

R. Califa Calloway, Founder/ Creative Director
Nzo Califa Dance Works | @nzoCALIFA 
#danceyourdestiny #RiteOn #nzoCALIFAncestry
nzoCALIFA pixlist
______________________a winter's glimpse 2018_____________

Dance Virtuoso, Master Teacher of Afro Cuban Dance and Drum Traditions, a legacy of Havana's pioneering Folklorico Raices Profundas; Award-winning choreographer and Director of Obakoso Dance & Drum Ensemble. Experience Dance excellence and cultural proficiency with Baba Jose Francisco Barroso. 

HOUSE/FULL OF BLACKWOMEN episode: passing/through/ the great middle


Monday, January 8, 2018

AncestorCALL: Gran Abdoulaye Diakite, Tambacounda, West Africa

JAN. 11 Update: Current GoFundMe Campaign is in motion to raise funds for our Gran' Abdoulaye Diakite's Funerary Arrangements, along with a message from his close Student and kinship, Jesse Servin. The link is provided below, please share far and wide as all donations are gratefully accepted. Love and Light. *R. Califa, Nzo Califa Dance Works

jan 2018 -  #AncestorCALL - One of our preeminent Cultural Gatekeepers, Master Teachers and Djembefola of his time Gran Abdoulaye Diakite of Tambacounda, West Africa, Bamana, has transitioned.

Sitting at the feet of my Wisdom keeper, Griot, and my kinship.  I learned the ways of Bamana traditions,
the Spirit of resistance and cultural preservation, as WE talked jugu, jambalaya, sewing cowrie shells and
Culture.  Jere juf  Gran', I'll continue to "do rite by the culture" ~Love, Gina
We take a moment to grieve our beloved transitioned extending our deepest sentiments of great loss shared by Gran's Family, Friends Colleagues, the Bay Area-at-large, the many West African Dance and Drum Cultural Communities abroad, as well as Gran's Global Student membership.

As were informed by his devoted student and kinship, Jesse Servin, he departed quietly in his sleep ascending into the Ancestral realm. 
Please remain on standby as Family and emissaries take time to allow this news of monumental proportions to carry forward; Proper arrangements, rites, and rituals are now underway. Your kind thoughts, mindful sentiments, and support forward are humbly received.

Walk well in kinship beloved Community,

~ Allhamdulillah,

Regina "Califa" Calloway
Nzo Califa Dance Works
Kongo SQ West Kinship Society

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Homage - Viv Vodou Ayisyen, Bay Area to Haiti

nzoCALIFA -- January 5, 2018, the earth shifted once again beneath Haiti, alarming the world's Spiritual pulse as we learned of the untimely death of prolific Lecturer, Professor and Activist Manbo Rachel Dominique Beauvoir of Le Peristyle Mariani, Haiti, daughter of powerful Spiritual Leader and Pioneer, Ati Max Beauvoir departed just three years earlier; both of whom I was privy to sit before "at the table" in fellowship with my kinship, Rara Tou Limen, in 2014.  In an unforgettable session, Manbo impressed me as a Liberation leader providing depths of wisdom and tangible knowledge of Haitian Vodou traditions, elevating the vital nature of the LWA, Guede, Secret Societies and the indigenous traditions laced in some of the rituals, invoking an omnipresent Spirit of CHANGE, challenging our service to these traditions. 

Under the yoke of Spiritual persecution, this is a major passing of the guard that I can only imagine to this day, how this affects global Haitian Vodou Communities, including right here in our own Bay Area backyard. God Bless those of us living who hold these keys, continuing to BREAK THE CALABASH!
Mesi ampil Manbo Rachel, rest in peace, progress, and paradise...

~R. Califa Calloway, Nzo Califa Dance Works 
 Kongo SQ West Kinship Society | @KongoSQWest

"White Party" Oakland, CA 2017 | Celebrated Bay Area kinship, Portsha Jefferson, Ashade Bon Manbo &  Daniel BRAV Brevil - Vodou Servitors salute in kinship honoring the LWA in service to their shared Communities,  Bay Area to Haiti and beyond; They represent a Visionary Artistic kinship teaching Dance, & Drum Classes, with Cultural Study Tours to Haiti brilliantly transcended for over a decade through Rara Tou Limen Haitian Performing Company; An invaluable and cherished leadership as our Communal Lakou and dedicated progenitors advancing awareness of  Haitian Vodou traditions. photo: Akiko Photography
reflections: Homage to Ayisyen Vodou in kinship with Rara Tou Limen

[October 2014 an excerpt post from @nzoCALIFA #Dancestory2014 Campaign]

Pictured at Le Peristyle Mariani, Haiti -2014,
my first sojourn to Haiti on tour with Rara Tou Limen.
Manbo Rachel, far left & Ati Max, direct center in white.
My #Dancestory2014 Sojourn catapulted me into an adjoined kinship with Rara Tou Limen upon their 10th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Tour and historic performance concert -- in Ayiti!   Good works forward assuredly bring great rewards. In Haiti I gained a lifetime of monumental pearls of wisdom, ritual lessons, and unforgettable moments imbuing all of my senses and recommitment to these works. Even on the first day, I encountered by complete surprise my #Kongo kinship Masengo Mbongolo, of Malaki Ma Kongo, Bro. Samba El, CECILE-Malaki ma Kongo-Haiti and Mama Alphoncine Ny√©lenga Bouya, World Food Program Ambassador for Brazzaville, now residing in Haiti.  Near the poteau mitan, we converged at one of the city's historic Le Peristyle Mariani founded by the legendary Ati, Max Beauvoir shouldered by the incomparable stewardship of his daughter Dr. Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique, Mambo
Along the way, prompt many questions of lineage, with increased curiosity to learn stories as to how these traditions were maintained. Some of the most interesting Family histories came from "breaking bread" testimonies of Rara Tou Limen members themselves, some holding direct Haitian lineage with historical allegories primed for the unearthing.Our visit to Mus√©e du Panth√©on National Ha√Įtien (MUPANAH) revealed the depth of history preserved from fascinating to harrowing, as it was also a mausoleum for holding the remains of the nation's Freedom fighters and Founding Fathers; some instances displayed the incorrigible drippings of greed exhibiting collections of objects bearing immeasurable wealth, by King's and Queen's of the land.                 
Ultimately I was excitingly overwhelmed by all of the data, facts, especially at the Museum's entrance, listing over 102 ethnic origins of Africans enslaved and shipped to the island...Solongo, Bissayol, Adiola and Tiambas to name a few, the most being from "Afrique du Centre-Ouest", not to mention indigene cultural contributions Taino, Sibonney and the Arawak who were said to have migrated to the area from Venezuela in canoes, and to have "given the sacred asson" to the Vodou rites in Haiti.  It certainly sent my mind into a tailspin of possibilities extending my research and service to perhaps delving into these historical archives, or municipal records and corroborate some family connections, strengthening Family lines...bit-by-bit 
I shall return - and more to wRITE.  
~Mesi ampil to my Rara Tou Limen Family and the powerful creative dual leadership and sacred stewardship of Portsha Jefferson and Daniel Brav Brevil // R. Califa Calloway, @nzoCALIFA

In Loving Memory from Ours to Yours Fanmi
Grand Spirits who remain ever-present with indomitable force, living thru our works and in Me.
The powerful trailblazing legacy of the Beauvoir Family and Le Peristyle Mariani of Haitian Vodou traditions, transforming global perspectives through scholarly works, Institution building and Activism serving the Vodoun, Haitian LWA and its vast pantheons descendants of African Spiritual traditions and indigenous people of Quisqueya.