Committed to excellence in virtual dance instruction.
Department of Theatre & Dance
KNOWING THE PAST
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
MEDIA DANCE WORKS
Every February, people across the nation come together for events and activities to celebrate Black History Month. This year, more than ever, it’s a time for us to maintain peace and safety while continuing our collective journey of honoring and deepening our knowledge of black history and those who have been marginalized from mainstream curricula and discussions because of our country’s legacy of slavery and institutional and structural racism.
As dancers, Black History Month is also a reminder of our own tradition of diversity in our art form, and we take delight in celebrating the many achievements and contributions of Black American dance artists who, throughout history, have done so much to make us the culturally diverse, compassionate, and creatively rich community of American artists we are today.
is the theme of celebrating Black History Month for the students of media dance at SUNY Potsdam. These students feel that they are working
toward preserving a people’s culture
while not forgetting the history. Their goal is to inspire individuals through
dance and build a community with
awareness of diversity and inclusivity.
“Knowing the past can shape the future”
Students everywhere may have been strongly affected educationally by the COVID-19 pandemic, but SUNY Potsdam dance students keep on making it happen. Since Fall 2020, dance and media arts students have collaborated on producing a Media Dance Works Series under the mentorship of Dance Faculty Cynthia DuFault. It was
presented here at cyndance.org each first Friday in October, November, and December and hundreds of viewers tuned in to watched dance from their coaches. By its truest nature, dance has given these students (and viewers) a sense of wellbeing, spirit, and creativity, through the thick of it all.
From this Black History Month celebration event, you will see a variety of student-made media dance works that have been in development since fall 2020. One work featured,
entitled Elated, echoes the Lindy Hoppers of the 1930s and is about “happiness and being
carefree,” says senior and choreographer Aicha Konate. It takes you back to Stomping at the Savoy with Ella Fitzgerald and Bubber Miley. Brittney Brown, a fellow choreographer and classmate says, “this piece is fun and definitely light-hearted! A major contrast from anything I've seen you do, and I really enjoyed watching it.”
Another media dance work, entitled The Tribe is choreographed by senior I'Tik Phillips and costumed in the colors that represent the Rastafarian Movement. This
construct includes red that signifies the blood of all living things in the World and particularly those killed for the cause of the black community, black for the martyrs who were shed around the world during their struggle for liberation,
equal rights, and justice, yellow for the wealth of the homeland, Africa, and finally, green that
represents the beauty and the vegetation of the promise land, Ethiopia.
Students also hope to address issues surrounding diversity and inclusion not just in the month of February, but 365 days a year. “We are telling stories of the struggle for human rights through media dance throughout the year," as choreographer Brianna Polite replied in a recent discussion about her newest work entitled, The Runaways that premiered in the Dec 2020 Informal Dance Concert and will be a part of this event, as well. The work is a chilling portrayal of those attempting to escape slavery.
Other media dance choreographers from SUNY Potsdam included in this event are Shamara Bey, Nasir Chassé, Taylor Post, and Tatianna Montemorano.
Please join in celebrating Black History Month and the SUNY Potsdam dance students in their works of Media Dance. To keep us all safe during COVID-19, this event will be held virtually here at cyndance.org on the First Friday in February 2021 at 7:30pm (EST).
Feel free to contact for further questions on this event: contact here
A BIG thank you to Don and Bette Bergeron for their generous gift and support for Media Dance Works, which has furthered creativity and the quality of student work. We are excited about the future of virtual dance presentations.
Thank you for the press work of Bret Yager, College Writer for SUNY Potsdam and the Communications team at SUNY Potsdam. Please see articles: Click Here
Media Dance Works Series
— The 'Virtual' Student Choreographers' Concert at SUNY Potsdam, Department of Theatre and Dance.
Led by professor Cynthia DuFault, SUNY Potsdam students are successfully transposing dance online in the age of COVID. These student choreographers have presented
three short films this semester in a virtual dance concert setting entitled, Media Dance Works Series. Each First Friday of the month at 7:30pm (EST) since October, this event has been web-hosted here at cyndance.org and on display at SUNY Potsdam’s site and Facebook.