Dance as the Nonviolent Rising…by Ericka Aisha Moore of Eveoke Dance Theatre

Ericka2The power of dance as a tool for activism is unlimited.  I believe dance can touch a person spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I teach dance in many different areas in San Diego and find that joining in dance begins to tear down the societal barriers that are created to keep people in their places. I have witnessed people, who may not have normally been in contact with each other, become best friends. I have witnessed people open up their hearts to dance deep truths that they were too scared to speak. I have witnessed compassion via dance.

As choreographer and artistic director of Eveoke Dance Theatre, I have always thought that dance would be my vehicle to give voice to my activism.  Eveoke’s mission is to cultivate compassionate social action through provocative performance, arts education, and community building.  Our current show is called AGAPE.  AGAPE aims to highlight the human capacity to use nonviolent action as an active pursuit of the human spirit in a physical and spiritual sense, and to explore how this pursuit can unite and create community.

mlk-792204In creating AGAPE, I began by looking into the present for individuals whose voices have the capacity to motivate the masses to do good in their communities and in the world — voices that cross ethnic, cultural, economic and geographic boundaries to share the fight for compassionate change. Yet I have also been inspired by past orators; orators who have given me a wealth of insight into the connection between rhetoric, passion, and activism, and how collectively they move a cause forward, nonviolently. Before I began doing my research on nonviolence, I thought it just meant a passive way of confronting injustice, an ideology practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  My eyes have been opened to how the past of nonviolent action has been used throughout the history of humankind.  Nonviolent action is active, not passive, and it is rooted in compassion and love.

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photo by Martin Rocha

Some would say the highest form of love is agape. Agape is a love anchored in the idea that we are all human beings and should treat each other how we wish to be treated. Eveoke’s production of AGAPE is an exploration through dance of this form of love.  The show is inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches and his six principles of nonviolent action

One Billion Rising is also a template for how dance as a nonviolent tool can move a nation. It sits in line with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s methods and beliefs. It is time to unite, to dance, and to bring awareness that violence is committed across the globe against our sisters, mothers, aunts, and friends, and it is up to us to stop it through nonviolent action!

AGAPE runs Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at 10th Avenue Theatre & Arts Centre.  Purchase tickets here.

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ErickaEricka Aisha Moore became artistic director of Eveoke Dance Theatre in September 2012. Ericka’s long relationship with Eveoke began at the age of 14 with its founding artistic director Gina Angelique. Under Angelique’s tutelage and mentorship, Ericka studied pedagogy, choreography, modern, jazz, and hip hop. Ericka maintains a close mentorship with Gina Angelique and Christopher Hall. Ericka also values her study of dance (ballet) and pedagogy with Kathryn Irey, owner and director of Stage 7.  Ericka has been driven to perform and to create pieces that speak about the world she lives in as evidenced by her choreography in Fingers in the Hood, Funkalosophy, Soulos Green, Voices: Mapping the Hood, Lyrics, Beats, and Bricks, Las Mariposas, and Reflections. Ericka established and continues to direct Eveoke’s talented Apprentice Company and recently started a new choreography program, DanceScape. Since 2008, Ericka has been an adjunct professor of dance at Palomar College; she is also a guest artist at Canyon Crest Academy.  She will be dancing on February 14, 2013.

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