From Dance Revolutionary to Hip-Hop Professor, Alum Halifu Osumare Stayed in Step with Times

Friday, March 16, 2018
Photo of Halifu Osumare leaning against a tree

SACRAMENTO BEE -- As a child, Osumare moved with her family from Texas to the Bay Area. She considers herself in part a product of that time and place. For example, she was a student at San Francisco State University in 1968 when students launched a five-month strike.

“A lot of my consciousness as a black person and as an artist was nurtured by the revolutionary ’60s in the Bay Area,” she said.

Osumare’s work eventually took her to Europe, where she founded her own “jazz ballet” company in Copenhagen. She learned from such luminaries as Katherine Dunham, Rod Rodgers and Alvin Ailey. Her mentors form a who's who of black modern dance in terms of both performance and philosophy.

“Dance is not just steps but the summoning of a larger consciousness plus the spirit and soul to communicate something,” she said.

Photo by Elton King