CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theatre | joyUS justUS

joyUS justUS is an evening length participatory Activist Dance Theater experience that takes on joy as the ultimate expression of resistance. Whenever humans have survived immense hardship and injustice, prevailing with their humanity intact, the presence of joy­­ or, the knowingness and celebration of our true beauty and power has always been at the root. joyUS justUS reclaims the dominant deficit ­based narrative of people of color in this country as being underprivileged, voiceless, powerless, and victimized, and flips it on its head by embodying stories of joy collected from communities of color in South Los Angeles.

Conceived and directed by Ana Maria Alvarez the piece includes choreography by Alvarez and each company member who contributed their unique ideas and richly diverse movement styles, music by Las Cafeteras, whose powerful East L.A. sound and socio-political message closely compliment our own, d. Sabela grimes, whose soundprints were the heartbeat of Agua Furiosa, Charlese Antoinette, whose costumes help our dancers radiate joy and power, Emily Orling whose altar quilts create a beautifully sacred visual environment and Tuce Yasak, whose technical direction has literally brought light to so many of our stages.

CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater | ¡Azúcar!

“More than a hip isolating dance ensemble…CONTRA-TIEMPO pushes boundaries” —Washington Post

CONTRA-TIEMPO’s ¡azúcar! is a courageous naming of, confrontation with, and intentional obliteration of the often unspoken undercurrent of anti-Blackness in latinidad. Questions are continuing to drive the process as we begin to understand the complicated history of sugar and the messages from our ancestors. What does it feel like to individually and collectively heal, what does it move like? Twenty brilliant artists and collaborators take audiences through a journey of Celia Cruz’s vibrations, unearthing history embedded in our bodies. Through ¡azúcar!, CONTRA-TIEMPO explores ancestral wisdoms about a plant that once aided in our healing, used as a way to sweeten medicinal concoctions, now extracted, refined, and used as weaponized poison. This courageous work is rooted in and inspired by the sacred feminine, personal narratives of food, labor, community, sabor, and explorations of “familying” and healing as practices.

CONTRA-TIEMPO is a bold, multilingual Los Angeles-based activist dance theater company that creates communities where all people are awakened to a sense of themselves as artists and social change agents who move through the world with compassion, confidence, and joy.


Read the Program

Princess Lockerooo’s The Fabulous Waack Dancers: The Big Show

Princess Lockerooo is a whirling force with a singular focus; spreading the gospel of waacking. (New York Times) Experience the Epstein Family Amphitheater like never before, as the stage is transformed into a post-modern disco saloon hosting the world premiere of The Big Show, performed by The Fabulous Waack Dancers. The audience, welcomed as club goers and seated on-stage will be immersed in the culture, history and scene of waacking as Princess Lockerooo, the “Queen of Waacking,” honors her mentor, pioneering queer Black waack dancer and Soul Train legend, Tyrone Proctor, who died in 2020, and carries on his legacy through the dance he championed.

Renowned composer Harold O’Neal contributes an energizing and nostalgic soundtrack that takes audiences on a musical journey through various eras of American black music culture. From jazz and disco to soul, RnB, pop, and blues, the diverse soundtrack enhances the emotional impact of each performance, creating a truly immersive experience that will linger in the hearts of club goers.

Join us at 6:30 pm for Waacking Dance Lessons and stay after the show for a dance party.

What is waacking?
In the 1970s, a dance form called waacking was born in the underground gay clubs of Los Angeles. Members of the gay community risked their lives to perform such an effeminate, expressive style of dance at a time when being openly gay often resulted in violence and imprisonment. The dance was popularized on Soul Train by Tyrone Proctor and brought to the spotlight on the Diana Ross Tour thanks to Billy Goodson. With the AIDS crisis, waacking became nearly extinct. Today the art form has been re-born as a booming social media sensation and global queer rights movement.

Pre-Performance lesson WITH PRINCESS LOCKEROOO
Do you want to learn the art of Waacking by the “Queen of Waacking” at a pre- dance party before The Big Show? Arrive onstage at the Epstein Family Amphitheater at 6:30 pm in your favorite party outfit that makes you feel like your best, most freeing self. It could be from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or now, we just want you to be you.

Stay after the performance to dance with The Fabulous Waack Dancers and be the Bell of the Ball. With DJ’s spinning house music, disco balls overhead and libations on stage, you get to showcase your Waacking enthusiasm with others at a free form dance party.

Featuring Princess Lockerooo
Performed by The Fabulous Waack Dancers
Presented by ArtPower, UC San Diego


Princess Lockerooo (Samara Cohen) is a visionary in the dance industry, known for her exceptional work as a producer, public speaker, event curator, director, and choreographer. With a reputation for excellence and numerous accolades, including a Bessie award for Breakout Choreographer and a nomination for Sustained Achievement as a fellow of the RSA, Princess is a highly regarded artist and leader in the dance world.


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serpentwithfeet | Heart of Brick

“There can be few albums this year more wholesome, soppy, or unabashedly life-affirming.”—The Guardian

Three genre-defying artists join forces to tell the story of love and self-discovery in Heart of Brick, a theatrical dance and music production that captures the multi-generational spirit of the Black queer community. Experimental R&B musician serpentwithfeet embarks on his first theatrical stage work alongside multimedia artist and MacArthur “genius” Wu Tsang, whose art intertwines film, aesthetic performance, and political activism. Completing the team is choreographer Raja Feather Kelly, an artist whose surrealist aesthetics explore the intersections of popular culture and human desire. With a cast of seven dancers and live performance by serpentwithfeet, Heart of Brick follows the love that blossoms between two men in a Black gay nightclub. Beguilingly gentle and sincere, the work features music from serpentwithfeet’s newest album, weaving together music and dance into a theatrical experience.

Atamira Dance Company: Te Wheke

Atamira Dance Company is the leading international creator of contemporary dance and performance. Based in Aotearoa, New Zealand, a remote and wild landscape where indigenous Māori stories are a powerful voice in the arts locally and, increasingly, internationally, Atamira is integral to the contemporary Māori performing arts conversation and movement.

The company performs it’s powerful new full-length dance work Te Wheke, which brings together Aotearoa’s leading names in contemporary dance. The piece explores the dimensionsof human experience symbolised by the eight tentacles of the Te Wheke—the Octopus, a powerful guardian on this journey from past into the future.

A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

“Lush movement, infectious music and magnetic dancers” (New York Times) in an enticing program A.I.M by Kyle Abraham brings a unique program to UC San Diego that ranges from the bold to the sensual to playful. The program includes Big Rings choreographed by A.I.M company member and Dance magazine’s “25 to Watch”, Keerati Jinakunwiphat. This powerful, yet fun, work is a celebration of the unique style and camaraderie of this dynamic dance tribe, as well as an ode to her hometown Chicago. Also featured is Our Indigo: If We Were a Love Song, a series of poetic vignettes that explore the intimacy, intricacies, and vulnerabilities of Black Love set to the songs of Nina Simone. The film adaptation of this work has been nominated for a 2023 NY Emmy. This flavorful gumbo of cultural expression is one you won’t want to miss.

Ephrat Asherie Dance Company: UnderScored

UnderScored is a multi-faceted project rooted in the intergenerational stories and memories of New York City underground club heads. Created in collaboration with legendary elders from the underground dance community, Archie Burnett, Michele Saunders and Brahms “Bravo” LaFortune, the cast ranges in age from age 28–79. This project takes shape as a series of performances, community based events and an oral history archive.

Rooted in African American and Latine street and social dances, Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD) explores the expansive narrative qualities of various street and club styles including breaking, hip hop, house and vogue, as a means to tell stories, develop innovative imagery, and find new modes of expression. 

Co-commissioned by ArtPower at UC San Diego

Canceled: Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group: POWER

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group is a Brooklyn-based dance company whose mission is to create, research, develop, and present new performance work that investigates the intersections of culture and movement practices. The Company’s body-of-works draw from the spiritual and mundane traditions of Africa and its Diaspora; Fist and Heel believes in the potential of the body as a valid means for knowing. 

The company performs POWER, Reggie Wilson’s newest work.  It reimagines compelling core Shaker values, contributions, practices and histories through a postmodern American lens.

The presentation of POWER was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation.

Ronald K. Brown\EVIDENCE
Upside Down, Grace, and The Equality of Night and Day (TEND)

Founded by Ronald K. Brown in 1985 and based in Brooklyn, New York, EVIDENCE is a dance company that focuses on the seamless integration of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word. Through his work Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the importance of community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty of traditional African forms and rhythms with his blended contemporary style. He has set works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and  many others. “I hope that when people see the work, their spirits are lifted. I am interested in sharing perspectives through modern dance, theater and kinetic storytelling. I want my work to be evidence of these perspectives,” says Brown. The company is thrilled to be returning to San Diego after a long hiatus and will share three works; audience favorites,  Upside Down and Grace, and its newest work The Equality of Night and Day (TEND).

A.I.M by Kyle Abraham
An Untitled Love

Elastic and electric, luxuriantly rippling, poetically arranged with moments of perfect stillness that arrive amid splashes of expression.”—Dance Magazine

An Untitled Love is Kyle Abraham’s newest evening-length work. Drawing from the catalogue of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D’Angelo, this creative exaltation pays homage to the complexities of self love and Black love, while serving as a thumping mixtape celebrating our culture, family, and community.

About the Company

Founded in 2006 by choreographer Kyle Abraham, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is a Black-led contemporary dance company that provides multifaceted performances, educational programming, and community-based workshops. The mission of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is to create a body of dance-based work that is galvanized by Black culture and history. The work, informed by and made in conjunction with artists across a range of disciplines, entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on music, text, video, and visual art. While grounded in choreographer Kyle Abraham’s artistic vision, A.I.M draws inspiration from a multitude of sources and movement styles.

Since A.I.M’s founding, Artistic Director Kyle Abraham has made more than 15 original works for and with the company. In 2018, A.I.M began commissioning new works and performing existing works by outside choreographers to expand its repertoire and offer a breadth of dance work to both the dancers and audiences. The repertory now includes works by Trisha Brown, Andrea Miller, Bebe Miller, Doug Varone, and A.I.M dancer and early-career choreographer Keerati Jinakunwiphat.

A.I.M’s audience base is as diverse as A.I.M’s movement vocabulary, which ranges from hip-hop to formal ballet technique. As Abraham says, “I’m interested in a really wide range of folks from the brother who owns the corner store to the woman who has never even heard of a corner store. I want those people to interact, and I want them to be sitting next to each other sensing the other person’s experience. And then, I want them to stick around for the post-performance discussion and hear the other person’s perspective and learn more about each other. That’s what is most exciting for me.”

The presentation of An Untitle Love was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.