Andrea Vonny Lee- Artistic Bio
Andrea Vonny Lee, Oklahoma Native and descendant of Freedman, grew up in Richmond, CA. Her dance career spans 25+ years as a performer; choreographer; dance educator, and arts advocate. Educational accomplishments include transfer from Merritt College to San Francisco State University to earn a B.A. Dance in Performance & Choreography; Teaching Credential-Physical Education; M.A. Secondary Education; and current doctoral studies at San Diego State University in Community College Leadership. Lee studied ballet, modern (Horton, Dunham, Cunningham, Graham) and jazz/jazz tap in dance schools in the Bay Area/New York, and was fortunate to study multiple times in East St. Louis under the tutelage of 1st/2nd generation Dunham Master Instructors such as Pearl Reynolds, Walter Nicks, Tally Beatty, Theo Jemison, and the legendary Katherine Dunham. Lee performed nationally and internationally as a principal dancer with Nuba Dance Theater, Petit la Croix, and Dimensions Dance Theater, under Artistic directors Evelyn Thomas, Blanche Brown, and Deborah Vaughan, respectively. Her work has been presented by Black Choreographer’s, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; African American Shakespeare, Nuba Dance Theater, San Francisco State, Laney College, Dimensions Dance Theater, and beyond. Lee’s awards include California Arts Council’s Artist-in-Residency, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, and Oakland Cultural Arts Community Service Award.
Andrea is Department Chair and full-time dance instructor at Laney College where she co-founded Jikelele South African Dance Theater- serving as the volunteer Associate Director, alongside Artistic Director, Thamsanqa Hlatywayo, 2012 – 2017. Andrea was instrumental in developing curriculum for the department’s academic-bearing Dance Study Abroad Program, whereby students earn transferable units. Andrea’s community work is reflective of her passion and advocacy in the arts and global education. As Founder/director of Cultural Links to Academic and Social Success, (2000), Andrea has led 12+ cultural connection tours to Ghana/Benin, Cuba and Ethiopia (upcoming), bridging international artists through cultural exchange. She is also the founder and director of Global Education for the People! (GEP), fostering cultural consciousness and addressing issues of equity in study abroad. Andrea is the mother of one daughter in college.
Lee’s Dance Projects/Choreography:
The Harriet Tubman Ballet- “Ain’t No Turning Back
- A full-evening work celebrating the tenacity of American heroine, Harriet Tubman. Dimensions Dance Theater will perform excerpts of this work as a part of the company’s 45th Anniversary performance in April, 2018. The full musical, “The Harriet Tubman Ballet- Ain’t No Turning Back” premieres in Ghana, West Africa, centering the work in the homeland of Harriet Tubman’s grandmother who was captured from Ghana and enslaved in America at the age of 12. Performed by the Ghana National Dance and Theater Ensembles, this collaboration celebrates the company’s 25th anniversary season in Ghana, West Africa, 2018.
- “Cesspool” – a new work exploring tensions imposed by macro/microcosmic aggression. “Cesspool” poses how the inner soul disappears and re-appears in response to these invaders.
Lee’ Community Service:
- Safe spaces for dance rehearsal collectives- Laney College; various community sites
- Small grants for small artists (volunteer grant-writing/seasonal)
- Andrea has been organizing annual trips to Ghana, West Africa for community, students, educators-including the young and the elderly since 2008
- Arts advocate K-12 and post-secondary
Lee’s Professional Projects:
Planning team- Career, Technical Education (CTE) & Arts Peralta Summer Institute
Chancellor’s Management Development Leadership Academy (MDLAP)-Cohort II
Vice Chancellor, Academic Services appointee- PCCD Liaison/International Recruiter
Lee’s Current research projects:
- Preservation of African Dance in Community Colleges
- Dance Study Abroad Curriculum and Program Development
- Equity in Study Abroad
- Post Modern-Dance forms of the African Diaspora
Dr. Zakarya Diouf
Dr. Zakarya Diouf is the founder and director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.Born in the African nation of Senegal,Dr.Diouf received his Ph.D in Ethnomusicolgy from U.C.Berekely. Dr.Diouf has combined a brilliant career as a choreographer and performer with teaching.He has done extensive research into African Music and dance along with choreographing some of the best dance and dramatic pieces for renowned companies such as:African-American Dance Ensemble Dimension Dance Theater of Oakland,CA, Harambe Dance Company,a variety of dance companies in New York and Diamano Coura.Dr Diouf’s expertise has extended to consultancy on the Classical/African fusion choreography,”Lamberena” with the San Francisco Ballet, Ballet of Utah,Florida,Indiana,Singapore and South Africa.
Since 1973,Dr.Diouf has taught at San Jose State University, Sonoma State University,University of San Diego,University of California at Los Angeles and San Francisco,and California State Hayward.Dr.Diouf currently teaches West African music, dance and history at Laney Community College in Oakland,is an Aritst-In-Residence teaching free woman’s Sabar Drum techniques along with weekly classes in music and dance at the Malonga Casquelourd Center of the Arts in Oakland,and does consulting and workshops in drum-making,choreography,African history and performing arts.
Jacqueline Burgess is a native of the Bay Area and has been actively involved with dance for over thirty-five years as a performer, choreographer, instructor, administrator and scholar. Ms. Burgess completed her undergraduate studies at San Francisco State University and received her Master’s Degree from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She taught dance for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Contra Costa Community College District, and has been an instructor at Laney College since 2007. During her part-time tenure at Laney College, she has served as a Senator on the Faculty Senate, on numerous standing committees, and continues to work closely with the shared governances to ensure quality service and greater student successes. She has updated the Associate Dance Degree Program, written curriculum for ten new dance courses, and served as co-chair for the Department of Dance.
Ms. Burgess is a former principal dancer with Dimension Dance Theatre, Nuba Dance Theatre, has appeared as a special guest artist with numerous Bay Area Dance Companies, and has performed nationally and internationally. She has been trained in Classical Ballet, Modern, Jazz, 2nd Generation Dunham Technique, West African and Congolese Dance. She has studied with: Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Ruth Beckford, Frank Shawl, Talley Beatty, Grath Fagan, Rod Rogers, Debra Isaacson, Naomi Diouf and Malonga Casquelourd, to name a few of the many great teachers she has studied with throughout the many years of her exciting dance career.