Modern Griots: Adia Tamar Whitaker

Adia Tamar Whitaker is a San Franciscan dancer, choreographer and vocalist, and was artistic director of artistic director of the Brooklyn-based dance theatre ensemble, Ase Dance Theater Collective. For years, she has performed contemporary and Afro-Haitian dance styles, was part of the Afro-Haitian dance company Group Petit La Croix and taught workshops and master classes. In 2008, she received a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grant and studied traditional Ewe dance and music in Ghana. She has also studied in Cuba with Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Afro-Cuba de Matanzas, and at the studio of Narciso Medina, and studied in Haiti with Madame Vivian Gauthier and Florencia Pierre. In addition to that, Whitaker has studied dance in Brazil, Jamaica, New Orleans and other places. Whitaker was a co-choreographer of the hip hop theater choreopoem, “Scourge,” which was written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and also choreographed by Rennie Harris and Stacey Printz.

She was in the ensemble dance group of Nadia Dieudonne’s “Heritage.” While completing a residency at counterPULSE, Whitaker also presented another neo-folklore work, involving dance and the African Diaspora, her choreopoem, “Ampey.”

The first video is her recent project, “Ezili” and here is the description:

“The name Ezili describes a spectrum of goddess personalities that have become figures of love, beauty and womanhood in the pantheon of Haitian Vodou. Ms. Whitaker’s project is an artistic representation of the complex relationship she continues to build with her art. There are as many Ezili personalities as there are phases of the moon. Featuring music by Tommy “Soulati” Shepherd and collaborations with Brooklyn based filmmakers/visual media artists Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel and Joshua Bee Alafia, “Ezili” tells the story of a modern day moon goddess transforming struggle and sacrifice into love and grace.”

Here is her official youtube page, her videos on counterPULSE’s youtube page and an interview with her.

Sources: Mark Morris Dance Group

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