Maria Monge, Meggan McCall and Rita “CoCo” Clark.
Sacramento/Black Art of Dance – S/BAD – marks a milestone this month with its “20th Anniversary Concert: Past, Present and Future,” Feb. 16-19 and 22-26.
For two decades, the company has showcased black concert dance forms, such as West African, Brazilian and modern jazz, following the principles of famed African American choreographer Katherine Dunham.
Theatre and Dance Department Chair Linda Goodrich is S/BAD’s founder and director, beginning the troupe when she came to Sacramento from the Bay Area, where she had participated in another dance company. “And when I moved here, there was just that ache that I needed to have a similar vehicle to express my own choreography,” she says.
Concerts are now produced by the Theatre and Dance Department. In the beginning, the company was partnered with another campus group, African Creative Expressions.
“The initial response was wonderful,” says Goodrich. “That gave me the signal that this was something I could really develop here in Sacramento.”
S/BAD is not just a dance company. It’s also an educational tool in which the dancers’ opinions are sought. Goodrich did all the choreography in the beginning, but over time the dancers wanted to know more about choreography, so she began workshops on the subject. “They have a lot of input in their own pieces,” Goodrich says. “And in the pieces that I create, I give them a lot of leeway to co-create with me.”
Renee Waters and Nicole Manker are two alumni returning for the concert. Waters was with the group in 1997-98 and also danced with AXIS Dance Company in Oakland. Manker joined S/BAD in 1997 and stayed with it until 2005. She has done freelance choreography for fashion shows and theater in Europe.
When asked why she originally wanted to join S/BAD, Waters is quick to answer: “The energy of the dancers. They’re so strong, and Linda’s work is so energetic and fun it makes you want to do it.”
“You end up developing a really strong kind of community feel among the other dancers,” says Manker.
Both dancers also admire the influence Goodrich has had on their lives, as well as those of other dancers.
“I never felt like I hit a plateau with her,” Waters says. “I always felt like she kept pushing me, and that really helped my dancing, even after I moved on.”
“And all of that translates into other parts of our lives in terms of the degrees that people have gotten,” says Manker. “I think being in S/BAD really helped a lot of people.”
Performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and 24-25; 2 p.m. Feb. 19 and 26; and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22-23. Tickets for the 6:30 performances are $8 general, $5 for children. All other performances are $12 general, $10 for students, seniors and Sac State employees, and $8 for children. Tickets are available at the campus Ticket Office, (916) 278-4323 or www.tickets.com.
For more information, call (916) 278-6368. For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
– Craig Koscho