After the company’s January 2021 visit was cancelled, Celebrity Series of Boston sought opportunity to bring a new community event to Boston.

Seven finalists will be chosen through an application process to work with Afro-Colombian choreographer Rafael Palacios to turn personal stories into short dance films.

BOSTON–Oct 13, 2020–BLACK VOICES BOSTON: Our Stories in Words and Movement is a World Premiere collaboration between Afro-Colombian dance company Sankofa Danzafro and Celebrity Series of Boston that will tell stories of seven Black Boston community members through words and movement. Participants, chosen from an applicant pool (applications are open through Oct. 27 at, will work one-on-one with Sankofa Artistic Director Rafael Palacios to translate personal stories into short dance films that will be shown at an online event Dec 6.

Sankofa Danzafro was scheduled to return to Boston through Celebrity Series in January 2021, but travel restrictions and coronavirus shutdowns made the visit impossible. While company dancers were quarantined in Colombia, Palacios devised a method to keep them moving and motivated by expressing their fears, joys, challenges and triumphs through dances made and performed in their homes and personal spaces. Celebrity Series Director of Programming Amy Lam heard about the initiative and asked if Palacios could adapt the idea for U.S. audiences.

“BLACK VOICES BOSTON brings an international conversation here, and we want people of all experiences and abilities to see themselves in this project,” says Celebrity Series President & Executive Director Gary Dunning. “You needn’t be a dancer, or poet, or painter to be part of this project. It’s important that a variety of voices from Boston’s Black communities are here. Rafael will create a Boston-based body of work anchored by words and motion, built on the ideals of social bonding, personal growth, and the positioning of local cultures in global dynamics.”

Applicants will submit stories, reflections, concerns, moments of joy, or other topics in letters to Palacios. Submissions are meant to be personal in nature, but reflect something about each applicant’s community. They will be reviewed by a group of leaders and influencers from Boston’s Black communities, who will select the final seven participants.

“BLACK VOICES rises above borders,” says Palacios. “From the local to the universal, this is a way for the African diaspora to self-define, transcend and forge a future focused on social transformation and social justice. Dance is our history; it says to the world that we are human, and we have been through battles. By weaving conversations through dance, and connecting the many different Black communities in Boston, we amplify our collective voice. We dance to be heard and seen, especially during times of confinement and silence for the performing arts.”

# # #

MEDIA CONTACT: For more information on BLACK VOICES BOSTON: Our Stories in Words and Movement, contact John Michael Kennedy at or 781-620-1761.