In Summer 2015, AC Faculty, Choreographer/ Director and Community Engaged Artist, Krista DeNio partnered with ACES and Theater Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS), and several programs on campus, including Cal's Re-entry Student and Veteran Services program, Urban Scholars Initiative, and Underground Scholars Initiative, to create the ACES course, TDPS 52AC, 'Reflections of Gender, Culture, and Ethnicity in American Dance.' In this course, students learn how lineages of white privilege create dominant frameworks through which the performing arts are legitimized, viewed, written about, and documented. Viewpoints and strategies are offered to address critical multicultural concerns, along with multiple ways to understand how dance reflects, shapes, contends with and negotiates issues of racial, cultural, gender and ethnic identity in the United States.
Students were able to meet with guest speakers who shared their experiences as U.S. military veterans and formerly incarcerated individuals. Students then developed their own creative responses which they presented as performances in class to community members which expressed and shared factual and experiential information about different campus community organizations. Their performances explored ideas about how community engagement can both demystify difference and systemic oppression, and drive education for members of served and underserved communities. Below are videos of the students' final presentations and course community partners.