A Diverse Cohort of Vital Voices
CounterPulse has convened a Dramaturgical Council of paid honorary individuals to help us realize our mission of being a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization—from the inside out. Dramaturges are involved as curatorial panelists, mentors to Artists-in-Residence, facilitators of our Neighborhood Arts program, and contributors to survey designs to better listen to our community.
We have selected these individuals to leverage their art practice and/or curatorial frameworks to elevate the voices of marginalized communities and challenge contemporary power dynamics.
Yetunde Olagbaju is a multidisciplinary artist and curator, currently residing in Oakland, CA. Through their work, they utilize performance and emotional excavation as a through-line for inquiries regarding Black trauma, labor, legacy and processes of healing.
By creating work that exists within and expands upon nonlinear time, they seek to: create meaningful exchange of narratives, explore methods of emotion-based storytelling and archiving.
They have shown work and projects with Oakland Museum of California, New Image Gallery, Pt. 2 Gallery, Southern Exposure, Guerrero Gallery, SOMArts Cultural Center, The New School, and Art Basel. They have collaborated with institutions such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Facebook HQ, Museum of the African Diaspora, CounterPulse and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
They are currently co-curator of recurring Black and Brown film night, Opalescent and are pursuing an MFA at Mills College. They are also Creative and Artistic Director of There Is No Time — a creative production organization focusing on supporting emerging Black & Brown artists.
Anne Bluethenthal is founder and Artistic Director of ABD Productions, a multiethnic and multicultural modern dance company, committed to activism in the arts. A woman-centered, collaborative dance ensemble, ABD is dedicated to creating a language of movement that breaks the ordinary paradigm of Western dance and to presenting choreographies that face difficult issues with eloquence and passion. Through her choreography and community collaborations, Bluethenthal has presented work on subjects such as Palestine-Israel, globalization, the environment, genocide, and the gift economy. ABD received the SF Chronicle’s Best of 2001, SF Weekly’s Black Box, the SF Bay Guardian’s Goldie Award for Achievement in Dance, and the Rhinette Award for Best Choreography.
Bluethenthal founded and produced the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Dance Festival as well as the Dancing the Mystery series, a festival of dance, music, and poetry celebrating women’s spiritual traditions. Certified by the American and London Societies for Teachers of the Alexander Technique, Bluethenthal maintains a private teaching practice. From 2005–2008, she served as co-director of the MFA Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts Program at New College of California.
Since 1979 Joanna Haigood has been creating work that uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium Museum, the National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d’Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, the US Artist Fellowship, and a New York Bessie Award. Most recently, Haigood was a recipient of the esteemed Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, the San Francisco Circus Center and at Zaccho Studio.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (b. Damascus, 1990) is a visual artist, performer and curator. Bhutto’s work explores complex histories of colonialism that are exacerbated by contemporary international politics and in the process unpacks the intersections of queerness and Islam through a multi-media practice. He has shown work and performed at SFCamerawork, Kampnagel Theater, The Beirut Art Fair, The Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, The Queens Museum and the deYoung Museum . In January 2018 he co-curated The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. Bhutto has as spoken extensively on the intersections of faith, radical thought and futurity at Columbia University, UC Berkeley, NYU and Stanford University. Bhutto is currently based in California where he received an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2016.
Dazié Rustin Grego-Sykes is an Oakland, California based performance artist. He is a graduate of The Experimental Performance Institute at New College. It was there he learned to transform spoken-word into solo plays.
Dazié’s first full-length performance I Am A Man is a multidisciplinary solo work which focuses on the ways in which gay men of color claim and hold their masculinity. I Am A Man was performed as part of the National Queer Arts Festival in 2010 and 2012. He is one of the original members of The Deep Dickollective one of the nation’s first black gay hip-hop groups and Queer Identified Objects which created original performance work about gender and queer identity.
Dazié has worked with The Pomo Afro Homo’s to restage an updated version of Fierce Love and toured with them nationally. Dazié is a regular feature at Bay Area spoken-word venues This led to him hosting The Oakland Queer Open Mic and curating events at SOMArts, Brava Theater, and The New Parish.
Weidong Yang and Daiane Lopes Da Silva
Daiane Lopes da Silva is a dancer, choreographer, educator and artistic director of Kinetech Arts. Her work has been performed in Brazil, France, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy and the U.S.A. She was a resident artist at CounterPulse and Headlands Center for the Arts, and is currently in residency at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and ODC Theatre from 2018-2021. As a dancer, she has performed with KUNST-STOFF dance company, Labayen Dance, Lisbon Dance Company, little seismic dance company, Robert Moses’ Kin, and in works of Sara Shelton Mann. She studied at The Municipal Ballet of São Paulo, Brazil and at P.A.R.T.S., directed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Brussels She is a faculty member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet Dance Center and Western Ballet. Daiane graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, Alpha Beta Kappa, from SFSU.
Weidong Yang is the co-founder and director of Kinetech Arts. He founded Kineviz, creating visual analytics solution for complex data. He received his Ph.D in Physics and Masters in Computer Science from University of Oregon. Weidong was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, conducting research on quantum dots. He has collaborated and created many performances and installations. As a dancer, he has performed with various dance companies including KUNST-STOFF, Paco Gomes and Sara Shelton Mann. He was a Scientific Delirium Madness resident artist at Djerassi Resident Artists Program in 2017. He is currently in a 3-year residency at ODC Theatre and Djerassi.
Bessie’ award winning dancer, choreographer and teacher, Gerald Casel was born in the Philippines and raised in California where he began dancing in public school. He received a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School in 1991 and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2007 assisted by a fellowship from the Advanced Opportunity Program. His choreographic work complicates and provokes questions surrounding colonialism, cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power. As a teacher, he employs somatics as a way to amplify knowledge production through movement and to identify and undo coded systems of dance training that privilege Eurocentric canons and aesthetics.