30 Dec 2023

Zaccho Dance Theatre


Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you all for your presence and support throughout 2023. We had a productive and inspiring creative year, one with new challenges and life changing insights. 

Among the many events offered this year was Flying to Freedom, a new and hopefully annual event commemorating the anniversary of Juneteenth. Commissioned by the Bayview Opera House, this work showcased 12 extraordinary Black performing artists in music, theater, aerial arts, and dance, each contributing their unique perspectives on personal and collective liberation. 

We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop with our Youth Performing Arts Program. Our amazing community youth and teaching artists created a gorgeous celebration of this transformative art form with special guest Grand Wizzard Theodore, creator of the needle drop and scratching, performing alongside the Zaccho Youth Company. 

We also were invited to join SFBATCO’s wonderful New Roots Theatre Festival, where we performed Dying While Black and Brown, our project that advocates for the abolition of the death penalty. 

We are so grateful to all the artists who have shared their beautiful work with us both at Zaccho through our programs and those who have inspired us from afar. 

As we express our deep appreciation, we also acknowledge the stark reality that this year has seen the loss of tens of thousands of lives in wars worldwide, including innocent children. The horrific events in both Israel and Gaza have rightfully driven many of us to the streets in protest, yet they have also given rise to contentious dialogue and harmful actions that pit us against each other. There is no denying that the solutions are complex, but one thing has become abundantly clear to me - we must stop killing each other, end the cycle of hatred and violence, keep working to eradicate systemic injustice, and stand in solidarity with all people striving for liberation. We must gather the courage to open our hearts to forgiveness.

All of us at Zaccho are grateful for the extraordinary privilege and opportunity to be artists and to be anchored by a creative practice. It is our hope that our art-making can connect us in ways that bridge our differences, allowing us to embrace our humanity and find the means to peacefully live together. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives us guidance with his words “Love is the most durable power.” This, I am certain, is how we get there. 

Happy New Year and may 2024 be the turning point for world peace. 

Joanna and the Zaccho Team 

Photo credits (1st to 3rd row, left to right):

Black Futures resident artist Toni Cannon. Photo by Camille Miliani.

Dying While Black and Brown presented during SFBATCO's New Roots Theatre Festival, November 2023, featuring: Dazaun Soleyn, Toni Cannon, Erik Lee, jose e abad. Photo by Zaccho Dance Theatre.

Zaccho's Youth Summer Aerial Dance Lab with Ciarra D'Onofrio and Star Burton.

Jason Span in Zaccho's Flying to Freedom, June 2023. Photo by Brandon Davis.

Cast & Crew of Zaccho's Flying to Freedom at Bayview Opera House. Photo by Brandon Davis.

MC Sha-Rock and Joanna Haigood at residency for The Bronx Revolution and The Birth of Hip Hop, January 2023.

Veronica Blair in Zaccho's Flying to Freedom, June 2023. Photo by Brandon Davis.

Love, a state of grace film screening during the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, October 2023. Film by Bryan Gibel and Joanna Haigood.

Black Futures resident artist Susana Arenas Pedroso. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Poster design by Charlie Formenty for Zaccho's Flying to Freedom, June 2023.