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'Her Brown Body is glory' sheds light on hardships brought by race

Black women encourage healing from generational trauma through a dance performance

Dancers in the "Her Brown Body is Glory" performance pose for a photo at Blok Studio in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2019

To most, the room looks like any other empty living room, but to Hannah Victoria, a third-year graduate student studying dance, the room is a safe haven that allows her to mend and reflect on her harsh experiences of being a black woman in America.

Victoria said she wanted to create something epic and meaningful for her thesis production project. 

Her performance “Her Brown Body is glory” will be presented through an event, the Emerging Artists series, created by Master of Fine Arts candidates in dance. The event will premier on Friday at Bulldog Hall with two other shows on Saturday and Sunday. 

The performance was created as a capstone project for dance majors within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

According to Victoria, the piece was aimed to be deeper than a project, and she wants to create a new environment for black women. 

“The main reason for this was to create a space where black women can come together to dance, talk and heal,” Victoria said. “I decided to just start (at) home, and my home is black women, and it just made sense to create a space where I can pour into the next generation."

The name “Her Brown Body is glory,” was inspired by a song called “Images,” which was popularized by Nina Simone and based on a poem by William Waring Cuney called “No Images.” 

The song inspired Victoria to counteract and create something that showed how black women are glorious. 

“The poem explained how a slave woman only saw beauty on the outside, and she didn’t see any beauty within herself. She believed her brown body had no glory,” Victoria said. “When I heard that I said, 'But wow, her brown body does have glory.'” 

Within this piece, Victoria wishes to put out the message that black women can recover from past instances and suffering. 

“The message, specifically for black women, because I am a black woman, is to know that they have the ability to move beyond past traumas and move beyond things that keep them in bondage,” Victoria said. 

Victoria said this performance will be historical as this will be the first all-black women cast on stage at ASU. Victoria and nine other women will be performing this piece, and two of the performers are guests. 

Armani Moten, a sophomore studying dance, said she hopes this dance will serve as an outreach for African American women that have dealt with the difficulties of being a black woman at ASU. 

“This is setting the ground and showing all black women, not only in the dance major but any major, that they can do anything they put their mind to,” Moten said. “As women of this generation, this performance will show how we’re using generational trauma to get through so many different things.”

Moten said this dance displays her voice and story, giving herself a release from the struggles of being a black woman. 

“Being black is already so hard but being a black woman is harder. This dance is my voice, it is my story, I can finally tell my story while I do something I love,” Moten said. 

Sophomore dance major Azana Pierre said she found a sisterhood within the group as she prepared for this performance. 

“I can look back and say that I was a part of a great group and now I have sisters that I have a strong connection with: A group of beautiful black women that bring a smile to my face immediately,” Pierre said. 

Pierre said she expects the dance to bring confidence to black women, therefore bringing them to contentment within themselves. 

“I want the thought that it is more than OK to be a black woman to be known and after going through the memories and proper healing. I want them to feel like they finally found peace with who they are,” Pierre said. 

Tickets range between $8-20. The Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday's show starts at 2 p.m.

 Reach the reporter at and @JadinStatePress on Twitter.  

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