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Career Pathways Series: Education

Career Pathways Series: Education

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World Arts West continues its quarterly dialogue series for cultural artists to share their road maps to success.

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Are you a cultural artist interested in working in education?

This next roundtable will focus on education. Facilitated by Dr. Anne Huang of World Arts West, this roundtable will feature Naomi Diouf, Carmen Roman, and Samad Raheem Guerra. They will share road maps to working as part time and full time dance educators, navigating educational institutions, and securing the necessary educational credentials for dance instruction.

Naomi Gedo Diouf (she/her)

Naomi Gedo Diouf, Cultural Bearer, Historian, Facilitator and Instructor, is the Artistic Director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company. Naomi Gedo Diouf grew up in Liberia and began dancing at age of six. Since coming to the U.S. in 1972, she has had a profound impact in the Bay Area, nationally, and internationally. She has created numerous acclaimed traditional and innovative choreographies for Diamano Coura, and was commissioned to assist and choreograph for many companies including the Dutch Theater Van Oosten in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1998 and 1999, she became consultant for the San Francisco Ballet to choreograph for “Lambarena,” an African and classical ballet fusion piece, which was also performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet of Florida, the Singapore and South African Ballets. Ms. Diouf served as guest lecturer at many venues and was awarded several honors in Holland, South Africa, Singapore and the United States. She has a Master Degree in Organization Management with emphasis on change management, and holds a California Teaching Credential. As an African immigrant woman, Mama Naomi, as she is known, has shown extraordinary leadership in a field predominately led by men. She has taken on difficult topics such as a transnational look at violence and community, juxtaposing the violence of child soldiers back in her native Liberia, with the violence youth face in Oakland. She has trained hundreds of dancers and taught thousands of students, holding the highest artistic and technical standards and rigor. She created a forum for immigrant artists with her Collages des Culture Africaines now in its 27th year.

A strong advocate of Arts-in-Education, Mrs. Diouf has worked with the Arts in Education programs in the San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and Alameda School Districts to promote cultural literacy. She was named one of America’s top teachers in Who’s Who Amongst American Teachers and has received numerous awards and recognition. After 28 years, she recently retired from teaching West African dance and culture at Berkeley High School. She is also now retired from teaching at Laney College, and continues to teach at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland where she has for the past 30 years. In addition to being an educator, she also consults and conducts workshops in costume design, cultural events/program coordination, and West African culture. Mrs. Diouf, over the years, has received many awards, recognitions and grants. In July 8, 2018 she received the Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; in May 2019 was awarded a Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists; and in 2020 was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and National Council for Traditional Arts.

Carmen Roman (she/her)

Carmen is a dancer, choreographer, educator, filmmaker, scholar, and the founding artis- tic director of Cunamacué, a dance company which promotes the continuity of Afro-Pe- ruvian culture not as a point in time, but as a living, vibrant and evolving form whose music and dance can be used as a means of contemporary expression. Raised both in Lima, Peru, and in the San Francisco Bay Area her work is deeply rooted in Afro-Peru- vian dance vocabulary and also uses movements inspired by other dances of the African Diaspora and modern dance.

Her article, “The Danced Spirituality of African Descendants in Peru”, was published in a special edition of the African Performance Review (2013). In 2015-2016 Carmen was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Dance to Peru to research Afro-Peruvian dance through practice, performance, and observation. Her dance documentary “Herencia de Un Pueblo (Inheriting a Legacy )” shot in El Carmen, Peru, was awarded Best Documentary and Best Cinematography at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival (2016) and has screened in various cities across the U.S. and internationally in England, Tanzania, and Canada. In 2018 she was part of NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. In 2019 she was awarded the Mythili Kumar Emerging Artist Award and was commissioned to create new work for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.

Carmen has been teaching dance for over ten years to children and adults in the Bay Area and in rural communities in El Salvador and Peru. She holds a B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Dance from Mills College.

Samad Raheem Guerra (he/him)

Samad Raheem Guerra is a director, multidisciplinary performing artist and arts educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received his BA in World Arts and Cultures/Dance from UCLA in 2014. Since graduating, he has worked as a teaching artist, program coordinator at a residential center for homeless youth and toured internationally with CONTRA-TIEMPO ACTIVIST DANCE THEATER. Currently, Guerra directs the World Dance program at Ruth Asawa School of Arts, an audition-based performing arts high school in San Francisco. When Guerra is not teaching or working on art projects, he enjoys spending time in the wilderness, at the beach and with loved ones. He finds it very healing to be in nature and goes on hikes to escape city life. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ (To All My Relations). Às̩e̩ (So, Will It Be).

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