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40 Years Strong: Dimensions Dance Theater
Lisser Theater at Mills College
Oakland, CA
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Dimensions Dance Theater, the Bay Area's preeminent African-American dance company, in partnership with Mills College Ethnic Studies and Dance Departments, proudly presents "Forty Years Strong". This momentous occasion will celebrate Dimensions' rich cultural history of over four decades of creativity and community-building, during which the company has premiered more than 50 evening-length works, many created by company Co-Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Vaughan, and others by distinguished guest choreographers.

The Mills performance will showcase a range of the company's work including excerpts from My People (1973), choreographed by Co-Founder Elendar Barnes; Yesterday/ Yesternow (1983), choreographed by Garth Fagan; Isicathulo and Amatshe / (Can and Boot) (1988), choreographed by Dingani Lelokoane; Resilience (2000) a segment of Between Shores/Stream of Legacies with jazz pianist Omar Sosa and Zimbabwean mbira artist Stella Chiweshe, choreographed by Deborah Vaughan.

The performance will also feature segments of work from Hervé Makaya's "Vukana" (Congo) and Latanya Tigner's "St. Ann and N. Rampart and The Last Dance" (New Orleans). Both pieces are part of the larger work, Rhythms of Life: Down the Congo Line (2012). This segment of the performance will
highlight traditional Congolese dance forms and its evolution in New Orleans; moreover, this presentation will include MJ's Brass Boppers (New Orleans brass band) and Bay Area drummer, Kiazi Malonga.

Members of the audience will have an opportunity to participate in the program and there will be a brief Q & A at the program's conclusion.


For four decades under the leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Vaughan, Dimensions Dance Theater has dedicated itself to creating, performing, and teaching dance that reflects the lives and historical experience of AfricanAmericans. Under Vaughan's artistic leadership, Dimensions Dance Theater presents traditional African dances, as well as original contemporary choreography drawn from African, Jazz, and Modern dance idioms. Its repertory includes original works by its award-winning artistic director along with commissioned works by some of the most acclaimed choreographers in Africa and the African diaspora.

Dimensions has a unique connection to Mills College. Co-founders Shirley Brown, Elendar Barnes and Deborah Vaughan are graduates of the College's Dance Program, and were encouraged by Ruth Beckford, a protégé of Katherine Dunham  to establish a company that would preserve, perpetuate and perform dances from the African Diaspora.

Dimensions has garnered national and international acclaim for its performances. In 1984 Dimensions was chosen to perform at the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival, and in 1988 the company appeared in the first National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Then in 1995 Dimensions performed in the Forum for Contemporary Dance/Dance for Tolerance Festival in Bonn, Germany. The company has traveled to the Congo, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Jordan, and Cuba. Dimensions also tours regularly throughout California and the U.S.

Dimensions Dance Theater presents an annual Home Season in Oakland and San Francisco, and since 1993 the company has spearheaded Rites of Passage, an educational program serving more than 850 children and youth each year. Rites of Passage has been recognized with a Marcus Foster Foundation Award and the  Jefferson Award, known as the "Nobel Prize for public service". Dimensions Dance Theater has a vital legacy as one of the most long-lived and fruitful products of Bay Area Dance.

For more Black History Month events at Mills College, visit
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Lisser Theater at Mills College (View)
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613
United States

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Arts > Dance
Arts > Performance

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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