Black Futures Artist in Residence Program
Zaccho Dance Theatre’s Black Futures Artist in Residence Program is open to diverse voices, emerging and established, called to express the Black experience through an arts practice that inspires dialogue and builds community. Our goal is to support artists at all points of their process and to give them an opportunity to conduct in depth research without the pressure of presenting a completed work by the end of the residency.

The Black Futures Artist in Residence Program is funded by the City of San Francisco’s Dream Keeper Initiative.

NEW: 2023-2024 Black Futures Artists

Zaccho Dance Theatre is thrilled to announce the 2023-2024 Black Futures residencies awarded to five outstanding San Francisco and Bay Area performing artists. The Black Futures Artists in Residence Program offers a monetary stipend, free studio space, production and marketing support, mentorship, and community engagement opportunities. Performing artists in the fields of dance, theater and music are recognized at all stages of their careers.
Ashanti Taylor
Instagram: @WeSayAse
Ashanti Hazina is an emotional wellness and movement practitioner based in San Francisco. With a rich background in movement and creative arts, she has been on a transformative journey for the past 5 years, using these practices as a pathway to self-discovery. Over the last 2 years, Ashanti has honed her focus on utilizing movement and art-making to facilitate emotional regulation and expression, particularly for emerging adults, creatives, and those seeking to connect with their emerging selves.

Ashanti is actively engaged as a dancer with the Diamano Coura African Dance and Drum Company, contributing to performances celebrating culture and history. She has been honored to participate in significant events during Black History Month and their repertory showcases, having danced in all of the company's pieces. She has contributed her dance expertise and clinical knowledge as a somatic/movement and art-based practitioner at the Freedom Community Clinic, delivering art-based sessions at staff retreats and community events.

Currently, Ashanti is a third-year graduate student pursuing a degree in expressive arts therapy at the California Institute for Integral Studies. Her educational foundation includes a BA in Psychology and a work-in-progress MA in Counseling Psychology, specializing in Expressive Arts Therapy. As the creator of We Say Asé, a creative wellness space, Ashanti is dedicated to sharing tools that encourage embodiment, creative exploration, and the deepening of emotional fluency. Both online and in-person, she is passionate about helping individuals cultivate sacred daily practices that foster curiosity, introspection, and an embodied life.
Coral Martin
Instagram: @coraldances
Coral Martin is an educator, performer, and small business owner. She has served as the school director for Berkeley Ballet Theater and has taught dance at Boston Ballet School, ODC School, Berkeley Ballet Theatre, Shawl Anderson Dance Center, and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, among others. Coral has performed with Capacitor, Oakland Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, City Ballet of Boston, Robert Moses, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, PUSH Dance, SF Jazz Festival, SF Opera, Muriel Maffre, and has collaborated extensively with Jetta Martin. Coral holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where she studied cultural anthropology, for which she was awarded highest honors, and is the winner of the Evon Z. Voght Prize, Artist Development Fellowship and the Shaw Traveling Fellowship.
Jetta Grace Martin
Jetta Grace Martin earned her A.B. in Social Studies and African American Studies from Harvard University. Jetta is a dancer, performer, and choreographer who has worked nationally and internationally, and whose choreography has been presented by the Museum of the African Diaspora, Black Choreographer’s Festival, and Mark Foehringer’s Dancing in the Park, among others. Jetta is the recipient of the Cornel West Prize and the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize, for her research on Katherine Dunham. Jetta is the co-author of Freedom: The Story of the Black Panther Party, a historical non-fiction book for young adults released in January 2022.
Nekia Wright
Instagram - @ujamaaexperiences
Nekia Wright is a musician, app developer, and healing practitioner based in San Francisco who wields sound energy alongside coaching to promote relaxation and balance while developing and implementing a long term wellness plan. She produces her own sounds combining traditional instruments with custom beats.

She is a California certified education specialist with over 15 years of experience teaching adults and children globally and a certified African traditional medicine practitioner through the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healer’s Association. Nekia has served over 500 people in the US, Guatemala, Mexico, and Zimbabwe through her partnerships with nonprofit organizations. She also offers workshops and retreats for individuals, schools, & businesses. Nekia's unique method of healing and teaching evolved from her self-healing experiences from abuse and trauma and her dedication to ending oppression.
Ramón Ramos Alayo
Ramón Ramos Alayo is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of CubaCaribe and Alayo Dance Company. He is respected throughout the Bay Area as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. His work is an innovative fusion of Afro-Cuban modern, folkloric, and popular Cuban Dance. He eloquently articulates his aesthetic vision through a synthesis of these dance styles, citing from each traditions, movements, narratives and concepts indicative of Cuban culture.

At age eleven, he was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba. In 1990 he earned a master’s degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from Havana's National School of Art, specializing in folkloric and contemporary dance. He was a principal dancer with several prominent Cuban dance companies, including Danza del Caribe, Narcisco Medina Contemporary Dance Company, touring throughout Europe, Belize, and Canada.

After relocating to the U.S. in 1997, he has performed as a dancer with numerous outstanding companies, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, Zaccho Dance Theatre, and Robert Moses’ Kin. Ramon currently teaches Cuban popular dance, Afro-Cuban modern dance and children's movement at several local dance studios and schools.

Ramos has choreographed and produced thirteen full-length dance performances. He was featured in the article “Dance Across America” in National Geographic Magazine in 2006, and received the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation’s “Emerging Choreographer’s Award” (2005). He was the recipient of a SF Bay Guardian 2010 Goldie Award, hailed by dance critic Rita Felciano as “the best Afro-Cuban dancer whose choreography stands well beyond traditional modes.”
What is the Dream Keeper Initiative?
Inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem of the same name, the Dream Keeper Initiative is a new, citywide effort to reinvest $120 million over the next two years from law enforcement into San Francisco’s Black and African American community. This initiative is part of Mayor London N. Breed’s roadmap for reforming public safety and addressing structural inequities in San Francisco.

The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes

“Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.”