Teaching Artists
Jo Kreiter
Teaching Artist
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco-based choreographer with a background in political science. She thrives at the intersection of social justice and acrobatic spectacle. Through dance she engages imagination, physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. She founded her company, Flyaway Productions, in 1996. Flyaway Productions is an apparatus-based dance company that advances social issues in the public realm and explores the range and power of female physicality. Under Kreiter’s artistic direction, Flyaway creates dances on both architectural and fabricated steel objects, which are typically off the ground, with dancers suspended anywhere from two feet to 100 feet above the ground. The company creates a sense of spectacle to make a lasting impression with an audience, striving for the right balance of awe, provocation, and daring. Kreiter’s tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, a feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity.
Over the past 20 years, she has developed a nationally recognized expertise in creating and presenting site-specific performance work. Since 1996, the company has presented or co-presented numerous large scale works, including the award winning Niagara Falling (2012) and Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane (2014). Kreiter/Flyaway is a recipient of four Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, as well as awards from the Center for Cultural Innovation, New Music USA, the Artist Investigator Project of the California Shakespeare Company, CHIME, the NEA, CA Arts Council, Creative Work Fund, Meet the Composer, MAP, the Wattis, Rainin and Gerbode Foundations, the SF Arts Commission, and the SF Bay Guardian GOLDIE. Her articles have been published in Aerial Dance, Contact Quarterly, In Dance, STREET ART San Francisco, Site Dance — the first book written on contemporary site specific performance. In the 2015 book, “Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performances”, Jo Kreiter’s work is highlighted in the chapter, “Civic Interventions: Accessing Community” using her work as an example of “the politically-driven work of the experienced and prolific site dance artists”. Kreiter is one of a few women worldwide to have gained expertise in the art of Chinese pole acrobatics.
Shakiri
Teaching Artist
Goldie and Izzie Award winner Shakiri has been a performer and choreographer in the San Francisco Bay Area for over thirty years. Her improvisational style developed by performing to live music and by working with the great Ed Mock helped her to become one of the Bay Area’s most exciting and energetic performers. 4’7 Shakiri learned her stature would not allow her to go the traditional route. As a result Shakiri, who has studied African Haitian, various styles of African, modern, and jazz has performed in all genres, and used her experience to develop work of her own. Shakiri has written, directed, and choreographed several dance and theater pieces including, With My Face On Their Face, Breathe, Barnstormin’, and And Their Children’s Children. Her work has a reputation for confronting difficult issues and has been listed twice on the “Best Ten” of the year by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Shakiri is a member of the internationally acclaimed Zaccho Dance Theater Company touring around the country and abroad since 1988. Shakiri has choreographed for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, danced and toured with Dance Brigade, Ellen Sebastian, Hassan Al Falak, and with her own company Shakiri/Rootworkers. She was a principle performer in famed Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, and enjoyed dancing the part of Nutcracker for several years.
Shakiri is proud to be an arts educator and has taught kindergarten age children to adults at recreation centers schools, Colleges and Universities. She’s also a visual artist and has shown in local galleries, as a part of Art in Public Places, and taught at the Crocker Art Gallery this past summer. As a writer she has short stories published in Zica anthologies, and her latest novel 14 Years Later can be purchased from Amazon. She continues to work on her one woman show Lottie’s Ghosts premiered at Brava For Women in the Arts in San Francisco, and a piece dear to her heart titled Crazy Black Women addressing grief over murdered children. Shakiri is presently collaborating with Bay Area dance company NAKA on a project titled RACE, and an audio book in collaboration with singer composer Melanie Demore.
Rashidi Omari
Teaching Artist
Born and raised in Oakland, CA, the Town’s social and political make up made him. Rashidi Omari, Shidi O, The Bandit King. He has learned the art of alchemy, mixing the elements around him to create something different. Every action made has multiple levels of communication and interpretation. Rashidi Omari has been rocking the mic since 1993 performing both nationally and internationally. He honed his skills performing with Bay Area based groups Loco Bloco, Unsmokables, Bodirock Emcees, and the trailblazing trio Company of Prophets, which Jeff Chang called, “One of the hottest, most versatile crews in the Bay—bold hip-hop that sets your soul afire.” A captivating performer and lyricist, Rashidi Omari’s new solo album, Auditory Philosophy, is the hip-hop you've been yearning for. ​As a dancer and choreographer, Rashidi Omari is known for his magnetic mashups of traditional dance styles. Hip Hop, B-Boying, Popping, Locking, Dancehall, Lindy, House, modern, and jazz are integral parts of his extensive repertoire. Performing professionally since 1998, he has danced with DREAM, Avatar Flux, Adia Whittaker Dance Company, Liberation Dance Theater, Joanna Haigood, and Kiandanda Dance Theater among others. Rashidi Omari is the head choreographer and co-director of the Oakland-based Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company. A gifted educator with over 14 years teaching experience, he offers classes and workshops nationally and internationally.
José Navarrete
Teaching Artist
José Navarrete is a native of México City where he was first exposed to theater and dance, choreographing and performing in parks, hospitals, and children's parties as a clown and dancer. He studied dance at the National Institute of Fine Arts in México, and has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and M.F.A in Dance from Mills College. He has studied dance with Sara Shelton Mann, Taiko with Hiroyuki Nakagawa and Argentine Tango with Nora Dinzelbacher. In 2004, José was the recipient of a Bessie Schönberg residency at The Yard, and a Djerassi residency. José is the recipient of a CHIME Mentorship with Jess Curtis, and a CHIME Across Borders fellowship with Ralph Lemon. Navarrete has taught dance and performance to youth and adults in Mexico, and in the San Francisco Bay Area at Berkeley High School, Marin Academy, Cal State East Bay, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He currently teaches youth in Eastside Arts Alliance’s Guerilla Performing Group.
Joanna Haigood
Teaching Artist
Since 1979 Joanna has been creating work that uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium Museum, the National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d'Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, the US Artist Fellowship, and a New York Bessie Award. Most recently, Haigood was a recipient of the esteemed Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, the San Francisco Circus Center and at Zaccho Studio.