Skip to content

Credit: Hanna Knowles.

On the occasion of the exhibition Citing Black Geographies, GRAY presents a dance and movement course led by dancer and choreographer Darlene Blackburn and accompanied by Atiba Walker on drums. Organized by exhibition curator Romi Crawford, this program serves as an activation of black pedagogical space through the Black Arts Movement School Modality (BAMSM), an intergenerational virtual school founded by Crawford in 2022 and meant to draw out the knowledge forms of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) practices of the 1960s in the areas of music, visual art, dance, poetry, theater, and photography. This event takes place Saturday, October 1, from 1-2 PM CDT at GRAY Chicago (2044 West Carroll Avenue).

Darlene Blackburn is a producer, teacher, choreographer, lecturer, and demonstrator of African and Caribbean dance with a strong foundation in modern, ballet, jazz, and tap. A core faculty member of the BAMSM, Blackburn will activate the gallery through a guided dance and movement class. Using drum-dance language to speak to her community, Blackburn invites Atiba Walker, Company Elder of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, to accompany on drums. As part of the programming, Blackburn will also speak about her history and involvement in the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977, an ambitious festival of arts, music, dance, literature and culture which brought together artists from all over Africa and its diaspora.

Conceived by Romi Crawford in 2021, The Black Arts Movement School Modality (BAMSM) was initiated and founded in 2021. BAMSM is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring and elevating Chicago’s rich art and design histories and diverse creative communities through exhibitions, events, and publications.

A producer, teacher, choreographer, lecturer, and demonstrator of African and Caribbean dance, Darlene Blackburn uses dance as a vehicle to express her aspiration for African liberation and cultural reclamation. Blackburn has worked as a dance instructor at a number of institutions, including the Calumet Career Preparatory Academy, the Chicago Boys and Girls Club, the Goodman Theatre and Mostly Music, Inc. She has also served as choreographer for a number of productions, including “Benito Cereno” at the Goodman Theatre and “The Lion and the Jewel” at the University of Chicago. She has also been honored numerous times, including receiving the Outstanding Achievement in Dance award from Ladies of Distinction and the Alyo Award from the Muntu Theatre of Chicago.

Space is limited, RSVP is encouraged. To RSVP for this event, click here. For more information about this event, please contact Sarah Sexton,