Drawing inspiration and strength from the dancers and choreographers who preceded them, members of Sacramento/Black Art of Dance (S/BAD) will present Ancestral Voices for their next concert, part of Sacramento State’s Arts Experience for spring 2016.

“Next year is our 25th anniversary, and I thought it was the perfect time to start paying honor to those whose shoulders we stand on,” says Professor Linda Goodrich, concert director and S/BAD founder.

S/BAD will perform at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18, 24, and 25; 8 p.m. Feb. 19, 20, 26, and 27; and 2 p.m. Feb. 21 and 28, at Solano Hall Dancespace 1010 on campus.

S/BAD dancersS/BAD dancers rehearse for their performances. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

Ancestral Voices features eight choreographers and 36 dancers, performing numbers in styles ranging from modern to Afro to hip-hop to folkloric.

Leanne Ruiz, a 2014 Sac State graduate, is one of the choreographers. “I’m playing with a contemporary hip-hop style for my piece,” she says.

Ruiz’s number, “Stronger Together,” features an instrumental version of “No Church in the Wild” by Kanye West and Jay Z, “Vaihtovirta” by Pan Sonic, and “Paradise” by Big Sean. There are nine main dancers, plus a 10th “surprise” dancer.

“The piece examines how different groups can be strong within their own environment, but as an even larger community, they are even stronger together,” Ruiz says.

While the dance number is a reflection of society now, Ruiz also was inspired by The Hunger Games, in which separate districts, each with its own way of life, learn to join forces to oppose those who are holding them down.

Ruiz’s biggest challenge in staging the piece was time – or rather, the lack of it. She not only choreographs this number but is a dancer in four other pieces. So, in addition to rehearsals every day, she has had to juggle her S/BAD commitment with outside obligations and be ready in time for an opening date a week earlier than usual. “But I’m really confident in my dancers,” she says. “They’re a strong group.”

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. performances are $8 general, $5 for children. All other performances are $12 general, $10 seniors and students, and $8 children. Tickets are available at the University Ticket Office, (916) 278-4323 or www.csus.edu/hornettickets.

More information about S/BAD and the Department of Theatre and Dance is available at www.csus.edu/dram or (916) 278-6368. – Craig Koscho