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The BAAD Review

Black American and African Descendants (BAAD) Affinity Group


Volume 1, Issue 1

February 2013

A Note from the President of BAAD

Learn what an affinity group is and does.
Healing Aspects of

Bomba Dance: Thesis Research Feature!

Many events have come to fruition in my life in the last few years. One is my graduation from six long years in Drexel Universitys dance/ movement therapy masters degree program, which by the programs schedule is a two-year endeavor. I spent four of those six years on a 380 page thesis, including over 300 references. My thesis entitled Movement Encounters in Black and White: Understanding Issues of Race and Cultural Competency in Dance/Movement Therapy
(available on the BAAD website), was hopefully my pas-

Inside this issue:

A Salute to Black History What DMT can learn from African Psychology Healing Aspects of Bomba

sionate ode to the field about how to expand more

to better understand the Black consumer in therapy with a White clinician. While I could have very well hastened my completion and turned out a respectable 100 page volume in order to finish in the two year allotted time schedule, I would not have felt that was enough to illuminate the often hard to define topic of race, particularly the historically troubling Black/White relations. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) has, in my opinion, so much to add to the rich study of racial dynamics as our basic mediums--body image and nonverbal communications--are at the very

Lysa Monique Jenkins-Hayden, Graduation, May 2011

heart of how we learn to belong to our cultural and racial communities. Therefore, I was excited to add our DMT perspective to the sociology, counseling psychology, and family therapy fields who have begun long ago their attempts to undercontinued on page 2

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Why an Affinity Group based on Race?

The affinity group model was first used to improve social conditions by workers in Spain during the late 19th century and then again in the 1970s by anti-nuclear activists. In the last decade, corporations started embracing and utilizing the model as a form of social networking that helped the company develop cultural competency standards and guidelines by gathering diverse input and perspectives; recruit and retain di-

by Lysa Monique Jenkins-Hayden take creative and direct action to problem solving. They usually challenge top down decision making and organizing in order to encourage an organization to consider diverse input and perspectives which would empower all persons connected to the organization, not just those in positions of power or privilege. Affinity groups based on race can help an organization recognize an experience that might be in the
continued on page 13

Power to the Imag- 12 ination! From PhD to 14 DMT: A Journey Towards Creativity Introducing the BAAD Officers 16

verse employees and consumers; and educate and train management and stakeholders about the skills, needs, and values of a particular niche market or employee base. Affinity groups usually bring together people with shared interests, personal identity factors, or life experiences. They usually work in a non-hierarchical, autonomous, and decentralized manner. Affinity groups usually empower members to

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The BAAD Review

A Note from the President of BAAD (contd from page 1)

stand the impact of race on the therapeutic relationship. whom I could commune, and mitigate the acute racial and cultural isolation I was experiencing as the only Black student during most of my six years in Drexels DMT program. Professionally, my research guided me to understand that a group focused on discovering the specific cultural needs and sensitivities of Black persons was necessary for cultural competency in the counseling relationship. In an answer to my prayers, I found wonderfully talented people who helped me turn my research into the ritual and dance we now call the BAAD Affinity Group. While we are still learning the correct steps and how to keep from stepping on toes, we are proud to bring to you our collective gifts in this publication. I hope this endeavor will help all clinicians, of every race, understand what an Afrocentric worldview has to offer the mental health community. I, also wish the personal stories and professional theories and research you encounter within helps to bring more racial understanding and harmony to our readers both in their personal and professional lives. Welcome to the first edition of the BAAD newsletter! Let this be our first steps in an exciting and colorful dance to an African drum!

I found wonderfully talented people who helped me turn my research into the ritual and dance we now call the BAAD Affinity Group.
My four long years in the trenches of thesis work, lead me to discover that my thesis findings were really a call to service. I became passionate about multicultural and diversity efforts and therefore began talking to others about efforts to form a Multicultural and Diversity Committee (MDC) within the ADTA, of which I became a charter member in 2007. From my service in the MDC and my simultaneous thesis production, another vision sprouted. This seedling was the vision for the BAAD group. I came to the 2009 national ADTA conference with hope of finding others to help me bring this budding idea to life. Personally, my hope was to find other Black DMT students and professionals, with

BAAD at 2011 ADTA Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota

(left to right: top row - Erin Holmes, Aqueena Smith, Mystique Hargrove, Maria Rivera, Lysa Monique JenkinsHayden, Romain Diaz, Charn Fulcron-Mack bottom row - Virginia Hill, Angela Tatum-Fairfax)

Being Latino is a online magazine and communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum. Our aim is to break down barriers and foster unity and empowerment through informative, thought-provoking dialogue and exchanging of ideas. Being Latino seeks to give a unified voice to the multitude of communities that identify with the multidimensional culture that is Latino.

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A S a l u t e to Black Histor y
by Lysa Monique Jenkins-Hayden

Bridging the distance between Eurocentric intellectual and academic models (whether science or art) and the spiritual and kinesic learning practices and worldview of Afrocentric cultures is no small feat. However, BAAD is committed to uplifting an African worldview and sensibility and it is with this lens we salute Black History. An African worldview espouses that one cannot have a sense of continuity or hope for the future, without understanding and paying homage to events and persons past. Today, there are differing religious and spiritual practices among Black persons throughout the world; by no means are Black people a homogeneous group. We, the BAAD Affinity Group, honor our many differences and rights to be so. While many Black persons, particularly those in the Americas, no longer practice pure African spiritual traditions, many customs still exist that are, at times, no longer attributed to their African root. Consider the tradition of pouring of libations, which is a West African ceremony (Baffoe-Bonnie, 1993) used to invoke deities and call the names of ancestors through movement and vocal rituals. To call the ancestors was to ask for spiritual guidance and protection throughout various life stages and transitions. While the movement ritual of pouring is practiced by only a few groups which still hold these traditions dear, the vocal tradition of raising a glass and speaking the name of those one wants to honor is still very much enacted today across racial and cultural lines. The libation ritual was usually lead by an elder or trusted member of the community to hold space for their communitys healing and the blessing of their descendants. It is for this reason BAAD wishes to speak the names of those who have come before us in the DMT field and on whose shoulders we stand in order to continue their contributions. Mildred Hill - We are still learning about her experiences and contributions to the DMT field, but we think she was probably the only Black charter member of the ADTA. Her name appears on the original charter list, along with Irmgard Bartenieff, Marian Chace, Blanche Evan, and Forrestine Paulay. We are immensely proud and would love to learn more about her. If you know of her or her work, please help us learn more! Thank you Mary KingLinares for continuing to speak Mildred Hills name and making her introduction to BAAD. Mary (Marie) King-Linares, MCAT, LPC, BC-DMT - This wonderful woman has been cheering BAAD on from its beginning. We appreciate her encouraging words and the wisdom she shares about the field of DMT in decades past. You might remember throughout out several decades Black artists used the word bad in movies and songs, as a way of saying that you were unlike any other and the best of the best! Look at her! Shes a BAD mamma jamma, just as find as she can be... (Carl Carltons song from 1981). Marie makes it so good for us to be BAAD! Glorianne Jackson, MA, R-DMT We salute your unique blend of liturgical dance ministry, DMT, and other models for health, wealth, and healing. You have brought your skills and experiences to many volunteer missions all of the world. Your credentials as an educator at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, make us proud. We want to be like you when we grow up! Joe a Cherry Caldwell MS, LCAT, LMHC - Her work inspired me, Lysa Monique, personally and was salient to my thesis process. Her thesis on the Expressions and Characteristics of Black Urban Males in Dance Therapy was a pioneering work in 1998. No one had written about this populations before and not many have explored it since. Her thesis shed light on a populations that is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. We salute your effort to pay attention to and write about this population from a strength based focus, which is so often not the case in scholarly, journalistic, or popular writing. I also thank Robyn Flaum-Cruz for providing me the hard to find printed copy of Mrs. Cherry Caldwells original thesis work.

BAAD Website:

Volume 1, Issue 1

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What Dance/Movement Therapy can learn from African Psychology

by Dr. Angela Tatum-Fairfax
Founded in 1968, the Association of Black P s y c h o l o g is t s (ABPsi) organized to address the mental health needs of the Black community and to organize the skills and abilities of Black Psychologists. Staying true to course, the 43rd International Convention, held in Crystal City, VA along the beltway to Capitol Hill, embraced the theme Akoben: Bridging for the future Through Collaboration and Community Building. It was a celebration of heritage, culture, kinship, scholarship, artistic expression, and unity among professionals and students of African descent. This gathering was a time of sharing, a rites of passage of sorts where the village elders imparted knowledge and wisdom to those of us who were awakened to a deeper reality of who we really are as African Americans. Although I was familiar with ABPsi, this was my first convention experience and what a memorable experience it was! I was delighted to encounter the daily morning sessions African Movement & Breathwork Meditation which closely resembled a dance/movement therapy warm-up with an African twist. The majority of the workshops that I attended significantly coincided with the Black American and African Descendant (BAAD) Affinity Groups mission and initiative of awareness, understanding and scholarship of the African and African American experience. The workshops that I attended included Ubuntu Psychology: Healing Afrikan Enslavement Trauma/Cultural PTSD; Obi-Dan-Bi An African-Centered Approach to Psychotherapy; Sep Tepy: African Psychology Origins and Future from Isis to the Isis Papers; The Use of Spirit in Psychotherapy; Elements of Optimal Psychology in Mental Health Healing; Rites of Passage: The Role of Our Traditions in Community Building and Ase Yoga: A Cultural Healing Practice. The common thread of all of these workshops was the concept of healing, empowerment and embracing our African heritage which encompasses the arts dance, music, song, art/sculpture and drama. So what do the Association of Black Psychologists and my conference experience have to do with dance/movement therapy? For starters, it directly relates to the American Dance Therapy Associations (ADTA) Multicultural and Diversity Committee goals to acknowledge and embrace non-dominant cultural aspects of dance and movement within the therapeutic setting and therapeutic relationship. Additionally, African Psychology values principles of intrapersonal, interpersonal and community healing which promotes the advancement of the collective (village/community) versus the individual (one/self). It is not only concerned with the African experience but the human experience in relation to the global context of living on earth. Since dance, movement and gestures are forms of expression embedded in the very dialect of African and African American culture, there are several things that dance/ movement therapists can learn. The ability to meet patients/clients where they are mentally, emotionally, and physically on a body level is a commonality when describing the work of dance/movement therapists. Furthermore, ADTA defines dance/ movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. If we were to look at dance/ movement therapy from an African American perspective embracing African psychological principles, aspects of spirituality (belief in something/ someone greater than self) and community (relationship to relatives and non-relatives) would inherently be included in the definition and description of the work. While these qualities of the human experience may be present within the practice of dance/ movement therapy, it may be further reaching to incorporate them more expressively within the teaching, training and professional practice of dance/movement therapists. Perhaps with more open dialogue through forums, panels and roundtable discussions the current culture of the ADTA would go beyond curiosity and speculation into the realm of understanding and embracing the wisdom of African Psychology that we are human first and African/ African American second. With the guidance and assistance of the Multicultural and Diversity Committee, the ADTA is well on its way to understanding diverse ways of being and moving. With new understandings the ADTA can not only bridge but heal the gap among culturally diverse communities.
Dr. Tatum-Fairfax holds multiple offices within ADTA commuIn addition to the Marias gifts as a nity. She currently serves on the multi-talented performer, she Board of Directors as the Multiholds two masters degrees in Pubcultural and Diversity Committee lic Relations Chair and isand alsoDance/Movement the Vice PresiTherapy. Her collaborative Chapter. perfordent of the Pennsylvania mance is and called Angela an choreography ordained minister of Catching dance Subira was major liturgical and hera doctoral highlight of examined 2011 ADTA Annual dissertation psychospirConference proudly serves as ituality andShe creative arts therapy BAADs processes Director of healing for Afro-Latino consumers with HIV and addictions. She also Relations. proudly serves as BAADs Vice President.


BAAD Website:

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So much hard work goes into the thesis and dissertation process for every student; however after graduation it is usually an important reference that is forgotten. BAAD is proud to highlight these works, as we believe that many students and professionals could benefit from the research questions asked and models and theories presented. Each newsletter edition will highlight an unpublished work which leads readers to think critically about race, ethnicity, or culture. The works highlighted are greatly edited for newsletter presentation, however if readers are interested in owning the works in their entirety contact us on the BAAD website and we will put you in touch with the authors. Maria Riveras thesis was selected for spotlight in this first edition as she bravely explores personal and intense experiences in a way that [makes] sense to the academic world (p. 3). Her exploration takes readers through her personal journey to discover and bridge her personal and professional selves, a feat many struggle to accomplish. We hope you enjoy her journey and find a little of yourself in hers! -LMJH

The BAAD Review

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

by Maria Mara Rivera al toques (particular drum rhythms having spiritual purpose) dedicated to deities, such as, Elegu or Oy, in the Cuban Yoruba tradition or Haitian Yanval or Nago rhythms dedicated to the deities Dambala or Ogou, I have felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually lifted. When I first got interested in learning about AfroPuerto Rican traditional drum-dance, specifically bomba, I was a professional dancer/ choreographer with Ase Dance Theater Collective (Ase). Ase is a professional neo-folkloric performance ensemble composed of young adults of color whose mission is to preserve and create dances of the African Diaspora and combine them with contemporary forms. Being part of an all black dancers ensemble was a new experience for me, especially because I did not consider myself black, thus I was afraid that I would not be able to connect with this group of dancers. At that point in my life (in 2003), I saw myself as a Puerto Rican with a very strong passion for African-based dances and being black was not part of my identity. The companys members always argued that even though I was Puerto Rican, I was also black but I just didnt see it. We have the same skin color, the same hair texture, have you noticed?; You look like you can be my cousin! They all claimed in the face of

Autoethnographic Discoveries An autoethnography is a type of research in which the narrators personal experience and voice is used to make meaningful connections with a particular culture. These connections, which exist on many levels in relation to a place, people or culture, served as the basis for the researchers self-growth. This type of research requires that the researcher talk, listen to, and observe people closely in a particular culture as well as himself or herself in context to the culture studied. According to Deck (1990), Neumann (1996), and Reed-Danahay (1997) it displays multiple layers of Thesis consciousness, connecting the personal [which first] ...focus [es] outward on [the] social and cultural theninward, exposing a vulnerable self that is moved by and may move through, refract, and resist cultural interpretations (as cited in Ellis & Bochner, 1993, p. 209). Coming from a family of spiritual healers, such as my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and great-aunts, I have always been particularly curious to research what constitutes healing. What are the healing properties of dance? How can I use dance to heal myself? Why is dance so essential to my mental and spiritual well being? All I knew was that every time I danced to Afro-Cuban spiritu-

Volume 1, Issue 1 my defensive reaction: Well, I am Puerto Rican and that has nothing to do with being black I have a different culture, a different history Ever since I moved to New York, 10 years prior, I had always struggled with this issue. For that reason, my first year dancing with Ase was a very hard and

Page 6 bership and composition makes it possible for each member to bring unique and particular elements from their culture, which is necessary for the collective vision and success. The ensemble was composed of members from all places in the African Diaspora, such as Haiti, Mexico, Guyana, and Barbados, and the dancers all consider themselves Black. I often asked myself Being Puerto Rican, am I also Black? This racial identity dilemma experienced in my first year of being with Ase, definitely pushed me to look deeper into my own African roots and establish cultural commonalities. It was very important to me to have a connectiona real bondwith the Ase members other than just a shared passion for dances from the African Diaspora. For that reason, I decided to make bomba my thesis topic for investigation because it was the opportunity to begin the process of self-discovery, or better yet, recovery from my forgotten history and hidden self. By the time I began researching bomba, I was excited and nervous at the same time because I wondered how this musical tradition escaped my sight, and why I never had the motivation to look into it. When I took my first bomba classes, I felt lost and brought to life at the same time. Realizing and coming into terms with how much I didnt know about my own culture was very hard to face and I did not know my place. I took classes with several bomba masters and practitioners and it was very hard to pick up the steps and remember the information. Once again, I felt like an outsider, but this time within my own culture. I was mimicking the movements and trying to embrace something that was not given to me at home. Gradually, I began connecting with my roots in a different way than in textbooks and history classes; through my own body. A lot of feelings and emotions began to surface, emotions that begged and cried to be explored for a long time. I was overwhelmed with joy given that I found a new world, a new movement vocabulary, and a new community that I never thought possible, namely my culture. I reflected on how much stronger I would be as a folklorist, and member of Ase, if I had a stronger sense of identity. I would be able to not only contribute to the Ase mission, but also to help enhance our creative process. Thus, I became obsessed with the dance, its foundation, its origins, and especially the reasons why I had been so oblivious about it all my life. In this thesis, I will look at how my cultural identity and self-concept were explored and clarified as I have incorporated a more extensive view of myself, which includes embracing my

Photographer: Anastacia Powers, 2010

When I took my first bomba classes, I felt lost and brought to life

confusing experience for me. at the same time. That is, the way they spoke Realizing and was unfamiliar, and the jokes coming into terms they made were not funny to me. The music they listened with how much I to was different than mine, as didnt know was their upbringing, thus, I felt like an outsider. Even about my own though, my hair is extremely culture was very curly and my skin tone is brown, my upbringing reject- hard to face ed the possibility of me being black. Being born and raised in a middle-upper class urban setting in Puerto Rico where being black was associated with being poor and having less social benefits, my family always wanted to stay away from the stereotype. In spite of the evidence that half my family has dark and brown skin tones and has curly hair. My hair, my hips, and my skin color are very similar to relatives on my mothers side of the family (the black side). Regardless to these facts, my mother never considered herself black, and as a consequence, I did not have reasons to feel black. As I began spending more time with Ases group members, I began to understand why there was so much emphasis on possessing a clear understanding of where you come from, who you are, and your heritage. Ases mission is to preserve the dances from the African Diaspora, therefore it is through diverse heritage that each member contributes. Ases intentional diversified mem-

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

Volume 1, Issue 1 extensive view of myself, which includes embracing my blackness. Brief History of Bomba Some of the African dances that were brought to the island took their names from the accompanying instrument. Bomba dance was clearly derived from the African dialect Akn or Ashanti word bomba, meaning drum (Dufrasne, 1994; McCoy, 1968). The music and dance has its origins in African traditions brought to the island as a result of the slave trade. Bomba developed out of the African experience within a colonial life in Puerto Rico and remains as the islands maximum expression of its African heritage without excluding indigenous (Taino, Carib), European, and Inter-Caribbean elements (Torres, 2001). Bomba was considered the most important social event, entertainment, and means of expression of slaves and free blacks in Puerto Rico. Some have also stated that bomba gatherings were also used as a platform to plan revolts against the slave masters in the face of an oppressive environment; however, free blacks and their descendants kept this music and dance Thesis tradition as part of their costumes and social activities (Dufrasne, 1994). Bomba Structure The Circle. Throughout my research, I learned that bomba gatherings can take place both in informal community settings, in which community members and/or families come together to play bomba music or "jam"; or in more professional performance settings, where there is a stage for a band. The audience sits or stands in a semi-circle around the band. Emphasis is placed on the drums, as a fundamental element, as they complete the circle. There is a sense of mystery inside the bomba circle and it becomes the main focus of attention, as everyone anticipates that enigmatic something waiting to happen. Dancers take turns inside the circle, connecting their bodies with the energy from the drumming, singing, and audience call and response.

Page 7 According to Torres (2001), the circle is and has always been an important concept in African ideas of life, death, and religious rituals. It symbolizes wholeness, completion, and the unbreakable links between the ancestors and their descendants. Gottschild (2002) describes that in africanist performance the circle structure dominates. She further added Where the circle rules, there is an abundance of energy, vitality, flexibility, and potential. For one, there is always the possibility that the person who is an onlooker may be drawn into the action and become a performer (p. 9). In my past experiences in African-based traditional ceremonies whether it was in a Santera ceremony, a drum circle, or a spiritual gathering with friends and family, the circle always has been regarded as a sacred place because it represented the space where spiritual and physical energies unite. As Adia Whitaker, artistic director of Ase, commented if we are descendants of the Africans, we are circular people many of our social activities and gatherings revolve around the circle shape, it is in us (A.Whitaker, personal communication, February 2007). As a Bomba was matter of fact, in my considered the own experience, it was through that cirmost important cular structure that I social event was able to gradually move closer and closand means of er to the core of the expression of slaves events without feeling intimidated. It was and free blacks clear to me that this in Puerto Rico. shape was conducive to a sense of belonging and being held because its physical form calls for protection, enclosing, containment, and equality. One night, in September 2005, I decided to check out a particular band that comes together to play live Puerto Rican roots bomba music. As the band started to set up their instruments, slowly but anxiously, people began gathering around the stage area and eventually created a semi-circular in front of the stage. There was an apparent order or synchronicity, which dictated the behavior not just of the musicians, but also that of the audience. It seemed like a ritual, in which everyone in the band and the crowd knew what to expect and what role one and

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

Volume 1, Issue 1

Page 8 somewhat nervous because it represented that place where sooner or later I was going to have to dance in order to experience bomba to its fullest. (Readers Note: Marias bomba journey is more detailed in the thesis manuscript but is reduced here for brevity). Conclusions As I became familiar with my own culture, which included learning the tradition of bomba, many other questions started bombarding me: Is bomba healing? In what ways is bomba dance healing to me or to a particular community? By using autoethnography as my method of research, I had the opportunity to use my personal experience and voice to make meaningful connections with my own culture. I got to know wonderful people who helped me shape my purpose, intention, and motives as a dancer. This experience made it possible for me to add my own personal voice and the voices and personal accounts of two wonderful and passionate Puerto Rican bomba dancers, Norka La Flaka Nadal and Millie Gerena-Rochet, into the existing bomba literature. Thanks to them and many others, I was inspired to look for the embodied meanings of this dance and the healing elements it contained. I went through emotional and physical changes, and based on all my personal experience I found that bomba was healing to me and to the communities that practice it. Here are the themes and concepts that I found made the bomba experience a healing one. All these themes are interrelated. In fact, all of these concepts also have implications and applications for dance therapy practice. Self-Expression As visceral sensations and feelings were channeled and expressed in bomba, they became more clear to me. I was able to use movement, rhythm, and songs as my vehicle to tap into deep feelings such as anger, joy, elation, which otherwise would not have been brought up to consciousness. Even if I was not able to figure out the roots of my emotions, at least I was able to get in front of the drums and momentarily liberate myself from those emotions. Self-Exploration It was important for me to find out the meaning behind my aesthetics of movement. It was a very difficult task given that I had to break away from my safe movement repertoire and move into an unknown place. I learned a new way of moving.

...creative combinations of steps and postures executed by the dancer, establish a captivating conversation between the dancer and the lead drummer...

would play. I noticed that singers placed themselves first, and then the person playing the cus (sticks played to mark the basic rhythm on a small hollow barrel), and finally the drummers took their places in front of the singers. Gradually, the audience began to gather in front of the group. There were a mix of people, some of whom seemed to know how the bomba thing worked and others like me who were still familiarizing themselves with the environment. I had learned that the dancers job is to improvise a series of movements or steps over the basic beat of the drum. These movements and steps are traditionally called piquetes. The dancers must assert themselves through the creative combination of a relatively finite and coded set of gendered movements and postures which will be interpreted musically by the lead drummer (Barton, 1995, p. 132). In other words, piquetes (creative combinations of steps and postures) executed by the dancer, establish a captivating conversation between the dancer and the primo (lead drum player), who responds musically to the dancer. It was in this empty space in front of the stage that the conversation took place. Unsurprisingly, this circular space made me feel

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

Volume 1, Issue 1 The Circle Formation The bomba structure-the circular formation-definitely created a safe holding environment where the energies were contained and where participation was facilitated. A sense of belonging and being held was experienced; its physical form called for protection, enclosing, containment, and equality. Rhythm Rhythm became an organizing tool. It gave shape to my energy and emotion and allowed for me to become an active participant in a safe way. Listening to the drums and connecting to the collective feeling helped me mobilize my energy and that of the collective. Mirroring The main objective in bomba dance is for the dancer to improvise a series of movements and shapes, traditionally called piquetes, over the basic beat of the drum. In this improvisation, the dancer and the drummer develop a very strong connection in which the dancer moves and the drummer mirrors. As the drummer mirrored my movement, not only was I able to gain a better sense of myself, but I also gained a sense of personal effectiveness in the community. Undoubtedly, I felt heard, seen, and understood by the primo player as well as honored like the queen. The echo provided organization to my internal world and the feeling of synchronicity, in turn reassured me that I was not alone. I felt that the drummer was complementing my expression, adding some validity and providing me with some comfort at the same time. This in turn increased my capacity to communicate more accurately what I was feeling inside. As a result, I felt appreciated, respected, and held. Improvisation: Searching for Flow Given the opportunity to move freely, to create and improvise, I was able to notice places in my body where energy was blocked. By noticing those moments in which I felt stuck in the dance, the desire to bind my flow and feel more confident increased. Mastering the art of improvisation gave me a sense of autonomy, opening the door for my forgotten self to come out. Finding flow meant connecting with my spirit, something that could not be taught. As I was getting more comfortable with myself, and letting go of my resistance, I accepted who I was becoming, and my dance began to exhibit more flow. Integration of the Self

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Through the execution of piquetes, I learned to embody themes and symbols inherent in the movements, such as pride, self-respect, and dignity. I knew that bomba and its movement could be a vehicle for me to increase my self-esteem and feel more positive about myself. Looking closer at some of the movements, a stronger sense of self emerged (strong weight) and my attention towards the space became clearer and more precise (direct space). This helped me to become more sensitive to my decisions (time), and enhanced my feeling for rhythm (flow). In the midst of all these experiences, I found meaning. I thought about how beneficial it has been for me to re-connect with my culture, not only in physical and emotional ways, but also in social ways as well. As I was feeling my body being transformed, I saw a new self that was emerging. On the physical level, I was listening to my impulses and letting my body speak. Also, I was using the piquetes to release energy and to let go of inhibitions. This fostered my intuition in movement. At the emotional level, by finding ways to give shape to my emotions, feelings, and sensations, I was gaining more strength as a dancer. This discovery had a healing effect on my personal life. By submitting to the life force I was enlivened by the process. At the social level, I began to understand the importance of creating connections not only with my true self, but with the people around me. My self-esteem was increasing as I was emotionally supported by the collective energy, e.g. the drummers, the musicians, and the crowd, everytime I danced bomba. Navigating through all these aspects of myself (physical, emotional, social), my body integrated a new self and the new life was unfolding in front of my eyes. Resilience The process of losing myself and finding myself again became the main theme in my process with bomba. I went to dark places and each time some light was shed in the midst of difficult circumstances. By overcoming obstacles such as feelings of emptiness, loss, and depression, I was able to tap into the reservoir of health withinthe resilient self. Writing an original bomba song, entitled Dolor (meaning pain), about all I was going through definitely helped shape, express, and release my anger, frustration, and suffering. This was the most important step towards healing. I tuned in with an internal rhythm, the rhythm of pain, and the singing allowed for a space in which my emotional and spiritual self was lifted.

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

Volume 1, Issue 1 Community I came to understand the notion that by providing an environment of acceptance and guidance, dancers can develop trust, foster self-expression, and learn to selfregulate their bodies. Judging from personal experience, if the bomba dancer perceives the environment as supportive it becomes easier to let go and dance freely and authentically. It opens the way for the beginning of the expression of my true self. In addition, I realized that I had become part of a collective entity. This fact, in combination with seeing myself as potential carrier of knowledge for the younger generations, started my process of understanding the importance of culture and community. Specifically, I learned that bomba served as a way to harmonize the collective unit. In many gatherings the collective purpose of union, broke down the communication barriers, thereby building self-esteem, and the nourishment of tradition. In my process of finding a place to belong and to be accepted, I discovered that prior to this experience I had been oblivious to a pre-existing community that had the capacity to provide me with all those aspects that I was looking for. I realized that Ase, the dance company and community I belonged to, was that place where I felt loved, listened to, accepted, inspired, and moved. I had cried, laughed, danced, and prayed with this group of women. In fact, when I came back from my research endeavors, my place in this group was there, intact, waiting for me to come back. This was a significant realization because my search for my true self, my true identity, my true community was over, at least for the moment. It felt as if I had come back home. Unquestionably, I learned to appreciate our dancing ritual, our ceremony. I had derailed from looking for my lost self and bomba brought me back to them. Culture and Identity In the beginning process of my research, dancing with Ase Dance Theatre Collective, pushed me to look deeper into finding a stronger sense of identity, as a Puerto Rican, as a women, as dancer, and as a healer. For a long period of time in my life, I was in the dark. Bomba came to me in a moment when I wanted to connect with my friends and fellow dancers in Ase. By learning about my history, appreciation, respect, and gratitude towards my culture amplified. Although the bomba tradition continues to be alive today under different circumstances,

Page 10 historically black slaves and their descendants used bomba dance to express resistance, unity, celebration, and resilience to assure their survival. To be able to reconnect with my ancestors through the bomba experience and feel what they felt in my body was a great honor. Cultural elements, such as celebration, community, survival, resistance, expression, etc., were internalized and in the absence of bomba, they continue to hold me, providing meaning to my daily life. All these elements and symbols, embodied and contained within the dance itself, have been passed from generation to generation, and now they have gotten to me. In addition, I realized that clarifying and embracing my racial identity of an Afro-Puerto Rican woman, I felt alleviated. I finally found a way to explain my intense gravitation towards the African presence in dance, music, and tradition. I felt liberated as I felt closer to my roots and ancestors, which was one of the most important goals in my soul-search journey with bomba. I came to know the African in me and bomba was the vehicle for expressing it. I understood the struggle of the Africans and the people before me as their dances carried the suffering, the pain, and the joy, and the unity, that I have been experiencing all this time. Spirituality Given the nature of my eclectic religious beliefs, namely Espiritismo, Santera, and Vodou, none of which I practice as my official religion, I learned to appreciate the secular aspect of bomba. Since it does not adhere to any religious practice, it allowed me to gain the freedom to explore and forced me to look deeply inside my soul and to solidify my spiritual beliefs. Bomba helped me redefine my religious beliefs as it facilitated a reconnection with my ancestors. Soy Cruz, a bomba-based dance I choreographed with ASE, was the manifestation and expression of all I have learned in this emotional and spiritual journey through bomba. This piece, being an intergenerational family representation, explores the strong religious conviction and strong character of three women on my mothers side of the family, the Cruz side. These women, my ancestors, were the carriers of my familys religious traditions and they were notable for their way of coping with painful life situations. In this piece I was able to explore and discover how and why these coping mechanisms were passed down to the next generation of women, including me. Exploring the lives of my ancestors, such as Eugenia Rivera Burgos de Cruz

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

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learn from my [bomba] experience, I immediately think of the importance of being sensitive to cultural elements, such as identity and a Puerto Rican I was able to reaffirm my identity and explore my culture in a way that brought a stronger sense of self.
(Abuela Eugenia), Ana Celia Cruz Rivera (Titi Pusin), and Fermina Cruz Rivera (Titi Minina), I learned that in order to heal I need to have faith in the power vested to me. In other words, after they died, I had the mission and the responsibility to carry over the healing and religious tradition in my family. I learned about the importance of compassion for oneself and for others. I came to value the importance of forgiveness and inner strength. I regained spiritual clarity and found a new purpose. Reconnecting with my family and my familys religious traditions helped me attain the spiritual direction I was looking for: it brought me back to my religious heritage and that of my spiritual protectors. When I asked myself what a dance/movement therapist can learn from my experience, I immediately thought of the importance of being sensitive to cultural elements, such as identity and heritage. Finally, and most importantly, as a Puerto Rican I was able to reaffirm my identity and explore my culture in a way that brought a stronger sense of self. I strongly believe that other Puerto Rican dance/movement therapists can help their Puerto Rican clients to also pay attention to identity and

community as part of their healing process. Ideally, dance/movement therapists who are not Puerto Rican should look into their own racial and cultural identity not only to heal themselves but also to better serve their clients. This suggestion is based on the premise that looking back into ones roots will make one stronger as it clarifies ones purpose and direction, which I discovered in the course of this research process. I hope that more Puerto Ricans will recognize that there is an available tool out there to heal themselves from physical, emotional, and spiritual problems which is accessible through their own cultural tradition.
In addition to Marias gifts as a multi-talented performer, she holds two masters degrees in Organizational Psychology and Dance/Movement Therapy. Her collaborative performance and choreography with Erin Holmes called Catching Subira was a major highlight of the 2011 ADTA Annual Conference She proudly serves as BAADs Director of AfroLatino Relations.

Barton, H. (2002). The challenges of Puerto Rican bomba. In S. Sloat (Ed.), Caribbean dance from abaku to zouk: How movement shapes identity (pp. 183-196). Gainesville: University of Florida Press. Chaiklin, S. (1975). Dance therapy. In S. Arcili (Ed.), American handbook of psychiatry: Vol. 5 (pp. 701-720). New York: Basic Books. Chang, M. H. (1982). Towards an understanding of the role of ritual in dance therapy: A comparison of dance therapy and vodoo. Unpublished masters thesis, Hunter College, New York. Dufrasne, J. E. (1994). Puerto Rico tiene tambin tiene tamb: Recopilacin de artculos sobre la bomba y la plena. Ro Grande, PR: Centro Library. Ellis, C., & Bochner, A. P. (1993). Authoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: Researcher as subject. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials (pp. 199-258). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Gottschild, B. D. (2002). Crossroads, continuities, and contradictions. In S. Sloat (Ed.), Caribbean dance from abaku to zouk: How movement shapes identity (pp. 3-10). Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Torres, C. (2001). Cuando la bomba ama. Unpublished manuscript.

Healing Aspects of Bomba: An Autoethnographic Study

Photographer: Jennifer Samuel, 2010 ASE Dance Theatre Collective EAST

When I asked myself what can a dance/movement therapist

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BAAD Newsletter

Power to the Imagination!

by Erika Barrington

Erika Barrington

...her response reminded me how my original interest in becoming a therapist was connected to social justice.

On Friday night a couple weeks after the 2011 ADTA conference, I went to see Angela Davis speak at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Black woman whose life's work has been devoted to social justice and change. Although she isn't a therapist, the parts of her lecture that stood out the most to me were intimately tied to my reflections from the ADTA conference. The presence of the Multicultural and Diversity Committee (MDC) and the BAAD affinity group at the conference was significant to me for many reasons, and in honor of Angela Davis I would like to use some of her messages as entry points to explain their impact. Three things she spoke about stood out most to me: 1) A life dedicated to social justice and change, 2) Critiquing from within, and 3) Power to the imagination. During the question and answer portion, an audience member asked Ms. Davis how she was able to find the energy to live a life so completely devoted to activism and social change, to which she replied that she wouldn't have it any other way. Notable to the dance therapists in the crowd Lysa Monique Jenkins-Hayden, myself, and my classmate--she mentioned the importance of taking care of one's body! My excitement about her response reminded me how my original interest in becoming a therapist was connected to social justice. I felt curious about how inner healing in the individual would impact the outer healing of our society- a society that has privileged people of my race (white) at the expense of people of color. Christine Sleeter, a white woman who writes about multiculturalism and white privilege in schools said in an interview with Rethinking Schools magazine: "I keep going back to the fact that multicultural education came out of the civil rights movement. It wasn't just about, "Let me get to know something about your food and I'll share some of my food." The primary issue was one of access to a quality education. If we're not dealing with questions of why

access is continually important, and if we're not dealing with issues like why we have so much poverty amidst so much wealth, we're not dealing with the core issues of multiculturalism. I know it may sound trite, but the central issue remains one of justice." (Rethinking Schools, 2000/2001) Angela Davis has brought this up in her lectures as well. Someone can call a group "diverse" while injustices continue, and this sort of dynamic could very well be at play in our organization and educational programs. In reading the goals and purpose of BAAD, it is clear that the mission is founded in principles of social justice. Since there has been a lack of theory and practice done by therapists of color, for clients of color, and because there are often far more clients of color at sites where DMT is happening, I feel a sense of gratitude knowing that groups of people within the ADTA understand this mismatch is about justice as well as culture. How are groups and individuals who focus on injustice within an organization perceived? Angela Davis learned the answer to this question when she was fired from her position as a professor at UC Davis for speaking out about her political beliefs. Ms. Davis spoke of critiquing something out of love for it, out of the need for it to be the best that it can be. In relation to the ADTA, the purpose of keeping a critical eye on the dynamics of culture, power, oppression, privilege, and access is to nurture an organization that all people can love to be a part of and where all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, class, and religion feel seen, and supported, but especially those who typically do not feel seen. (Wouldn't that be amazing?!) People sometimes feel hurt or scared by critique, but it opens the way for growth. Additionally, the definitions of "critique" and "criticism" are notably different because "critique" mentions analysis and assessment while "criticism" mentions perceiving faults and expressing disapproval. Disapproval must be an embraced emotion when an assessment points out faults, because the naming of faults is out
continued on page 13

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(contd from page 12)

Power to the Imagination!

of hope for something better. To open oneself up to critique and change can feel vulnerable I know that is how I often feel about it. But to quote Ms. Davis again, "we challenge ourselves to be better people because we love ourselves." The last thing that really stood out to me about Angela Davis's lecture was the phrase, "Power to the Imagination". As creative arts therapists, one of the things we value highly is the imagination and its power for change and healing. Ultimately, the furthering of healing for the community of Black and African descendants will be led by people in this community. In addition to feeling some level of relief that this work is happening within the ADTA, I also noticed that these workshops at the

conference were well-attended and discussed. In Lysa Monique JenkinsHayden's workshop about working with Black clients, someone brought up the point that becoming a culturally competent therapist is not a finite status, though many discussions about multiculturalism subtly frame it this way. This comment reminds me that working on multicultural awareness is always ongoing, especially because of the connection to social justice, and it also reminds me that there is still much amazing work that I know will happen through BAAD and the MDC. This time in my life has been crucial in my identity development: my racial identity as a white person, my gender, sexual identity, class, religious, political identity, and my tenta-

tive identity as a dance/ movement therapist. I am still in a learning process about identity, but in the meantime, I feel very grateful to BAAD and the MDC for their presence at the conference, because I know it helped me to feel more affirmed about my identity as a dance movement therapist and member of the ADTA. Power to the Imagination!!
Erika Barrington is a dance/movement therapy masters degree candidate, Drexel University. She is a Massachusetts native and dedicated to issues of social justice. We are proud to have her as a contributing writer. Thanks Erika!

Why an Affinity Group based on Race? (contd from page 1)

minority or suppressed within an organization. While there are many subgroups within any larger group (or in this case, ethnic groups within a race) a race-based affinity group usually discusses the distinctions and similarities, especially their commonly held interest or worldview. Many organizations have been formed with the values and beliefs consistent with a monolithic worldview and culture. Culturally different affinity groups usually form in an effort to remind a monolithic organization (characterized by often rigidly fixed uniformity) that there are other values, traditions, and similarities, especially their commonly held interest or worldview. Many organizations have been formed with values and beliefs consistent with a monolithic worldview and culture. Culturally different affinity groups usually form in an effort to remind a monolithic organization of other values, traditions, and beliefs that could be considered when making decisions or interacting; how the culturally different will receive or be impacted by those in authority is also considered. Sometimes the culture of an organization is invisible to those who share or buy into its values and beliefs, therefore groups that are autonomous and decentralized from the organization are best at noticing the cultural patterns and impact. Usually, organizations pay outside consultants to give them perspective and feedback on those they are finding hard to reach or retain. Affinity groups are usually better equipped to give feedback, as they understand both the culture of the organization and of the culturally different. Most importantly, they also have a stake in the stabilization and growth of the organization, because of their proximity and association. Sharing responsibility and power is of utmost importance in affinity work. An organization can take a step in the direction of multiculturism and inclusiveness by advocating or understanding the need for the cultural different to form affinity groups. At the heart of any affinity group is support, mutual respect, and relationships with those that are inside and outside the affinity group. Most organizations realize the retention of their employees, stakeholders, or consumers start and continue because relationships are valued. When people feel supported, heard, respected, and given an opportunity to voice and offer their differing needs, skills, and perspectives any organization can better meet their goals of stabilization and growth. The support and celebration of differences ultimately leads to more ways and opportunities to meet needs and goals.

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From PhD to DMT: A Journey Towards Creativity

by Dr. Crista Gambrell

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. -Henry David Thoreau

I believe now that I can not only gather in-depth understanding about this incredible art form but I can also contribute to it.
My name is Crista and Im an alternate route student in dance/ movement therapy. I began the alternate route, in North Carolina, the fall of 2009 during the third year of my Ph.D. program. Thats right. Amidst clinical internship and dissertation writing, I decided that it was time to respond to my hearts call and reawaken my innate need for creative expression. I suppose I couldve waited for a later time or even decided I had gone far enough in my education already. I had certainly incurred enough debt. I couldve said that another four to six year commitment was impractical, that I already had enough tools in my toolbox to have a vi-

brant counseling career. But, I needed more. I needed my passion and purpose to intersect. Thats what led me to pursue a specialty in dance/movement therapy. As with any calling, this pursuit has had its rewards and its setbacks. For starters, the alternate route arguably takes more discipline and dedication than a formal degree program. After all, many alternate route students, like myself, work full time and dont always have the resources of money or time to travel and get the requisite training. Additionally, the alternate route journey can often be a solitary one as much of the coursework and general orientation to the field is self-guided. I often felt as though I was entering a field I had no context for and that was a lonely feeling. There was an entire association of like-minded professionals and yet I had no apparent entry point. That was until a serendipitous response to an informational email led me to BAAD. I still remember the words of the invitation. Are you a DMT professional who wishes to understand Black culture and dynamics better? Are you a Black DMT professional or student who does not feel as connected to the ADTA as you would have hoped? Are you a Black DMT student or professional who wants to commune with other Black DMT students or professionals? My answer to all of these questions was a resounding yes. Not only was I in a time in my life where I was reconnecting

with my creative self; I was internally seeking connection to my cultural self. Since joining BAAD, I have linked to an incredible network of professional support, mentorship, and a sense of community. I believe now that I can not only gather in-depth understanding about this incredible art form but I can also contribute to it. And as I resume alternate route coursework later this fall, I am confident that the work that began four years ago will be seen to completion as I continue to pioneer my path to the life I imagined. Crista holds a Masters degree in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University. She currently works as a clinician in a university counseling center. Cristas professional interests include supervision, mentorship, and professional identity formation. Her clinical interests are womens issues, trauma and resilience, and the recovery process. Crista is passionate about making DMT more accessible to practitioners, students, and clients of color. She proudly serves as the Director of the Research and Development for BAAD. Contact Crista at crista_gambrell @

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References & Resources

A Salute to Black History
Baffoe-Bonnie, E. (1993) Traditional marriages: The African style, asantes & yorubas. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Sankofa Creations, Inc. 215-741-1116.

NEWSLETTER February 2013 Volume 1; Issue 1

Credits and Acknowledgements Editorial Credits: Editor: Lysa Monique Jenkins-Hayden Guest Editor: Crista Gambrell Special Thanks to Nicolle Morales-Kern, Managing Editor of being latino e-zine, for copy editing this edition! Photo Credits: Healing Aspects of Bomba Page 10, Anastacia Power, 2010 Page 12, Coco Killingsworth Page 14, Jennifer Samuel, 2010

Please visit the BAAD website ( for recommended readings and media to increase cultural competence and to learn more about the multiple ethnic groups within the Black racial community.

BAAD Officers Featured in Upcoming Issues!

(full bios on BAAD Website)

Director of Education, Practice, & Credentialing Charn Furcron, Ph.D., LPC, BC-DMT, BCC, ACS currently serves on the ADTA Nominating Committee currently holds a BFA in Modern Dance, two Masters in DMT and Counseling, and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Currently she is the Director of Outreach Programs for Moving in The Spirit and maintains a clinical private practice. Director of Student Relations Romain Diaz, MA, majored in kinesiology at Penn State University for her bachelors degree studies and is a graduate of Drexel University Dance/ Movement Therapy program. Romain is working as a Dance/Movement Therapist with children and adolescents in an inpatient psychiatric hospital and daycare. Assistant Director of Research and Professional Development Virginia Hill, MS, MA, R-DMT, CRC, LPCA completed alternate route training for dance/movement therapy in 2010. She also has a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and licensed professional counselor associate (LPCA). She has worked in the psychosocial clubhouse environment and counseled in both in-patient and outpatient mental health settings. Director of PR & Advertising Yolanda Dandridge Assistant Director of Afro-Latino Relations Yelimara Concepcion, MA graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and holds a Master of Arts in Psychology and is a dance/movement therapy masters degree candidate at Pratt University. She is multi-talented and accomplished as a actress, choreographer, vocalist and dancer and performed with several afro puertorican bomba groups in Puerto Rico, Philadelphia and New York . Afro-Latino Relations Committee Leaders Research and Development: Judith Socarras Community Alliances: Rosanna Hernandez Student Relations: Linelly Olmeda-Santos

Next Issue June 2013!

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