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Surge Afrofuturism: Dance Performance & Film Screening w/ Raissa Simpson & Maurya Kerr / Tinypistol

Join us for a dance performance and film screening with director of PUSH Dance Company, Raissa Simpson, and and artistic director of tinypistol, Maurya Kerr.

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Event Series Event Series: Surge: Explorations in Afrofuturism

May 22, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged, but not required for entry.
Parking is available in the Arts Lot #126Purchase a permit or use ParkMobile

Performed in site-specific locations and onstage, Raissa Simpson will be performing an excerpt of EMME YA: Expedition, which applies a conceptual underpinning of Afro-technoculture through movement and media. This ongoing exploration includes various frameworks to reimagine paths of survival that are born out of moments of collective trauma and the reclamation of Afrofuturism as a creative metaphor for healing.

Additionally, Maurya Kerr/ tinypistol will be sharing Saint Leroi, a short film about a Black avenging angel come down from on high. By reinstating Blackness as arbiter of justice and punisher of wrong amidst the ceaseless anti-Black apocalypse of America, Saint Leroi challenges who is allowed judgement, destruction, rapture, and rebirth. While a trenchant indictment of the blood-stained hands of all those—past and present—who know what they’ve done, Saint Leroi is ultimately an expression of belonging, utter grief, radical love, the afro-future, and the afro-now.

This event is part of Surge: Explorations in Afrofuturism, a multidimensional and transcultural month-long festival on Afrofuturism spearheaded by composer/performer Karlton Hester, choreographer Gerald Casel, and artist Aaron Samuel Mulenga. Afrofuturism is a global artistic and social movement, intent on imagining a world where African-descended peoples and cultures can live and flourish.  For Surge, an extended program of music and dance performances, film screenings, and discussions will bring together artists and thinkers to creatively engage Afrofuturist strategies for liberation and the restructuring of society free of racism.

Surge is made possible by generous support from the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, the National Endowment from the Arts, UCHRI, UCSC Academic Senate, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

About the speakers

Raissa Simpson

Raissa Simpson is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar and director of PUSH Dance Company in San Francisco. After receiving her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase, Simpson had an extensive performance career in the San Francisco Bay Area dancing with Robert Moses’ Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. Hailed by Dance Spirit Magazine as “Reflective Contemporary Choreography,” she has been presented at Ferst Center at Georgia Tech, Sacramento State, Joyce SoHo, San Francisco State, Washington Ensemble Theater, Evolve Dance Festival/NY, Los Angeles Theater Center, Black Choreographers Festival, Renberg Theater and many more.

Maurya Kerr

Maurya Kerr is a bay area-based artist, poet, educator, and the artistic director of tinypistol. Much of her artistic work, across disciplines, is focused on Black and brown people reclaiming their birthright to both wonderment and the quotidian. Maurya was a member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet for twelve years, an ODC artist-in-residence from 2015 to 2018, and holds an MFA from Hollins University. Her poetry is anthologized in “The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry” and was recently chosen by Jericho Brown as a runner-up in Southern Humanities Review’s 2021 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. Maurya is currently a UC Berkeley ARC (Arts Research Center) Poetry & the Senses Fellow.

Please familiarize yourself in advance with the full COVID-19 protocols required for admission. If you have a disability-related need, please contact the Arts Events Office at as soon as possible.


May 22, 2022
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
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407 McHenry Rd
Santa Cruz, California 95064
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