Metro Weekly

Spotlight: ‘The BlackLight Summit’ at Clarice Performing Arts Center

A virtual three-day event to help amplify, inspire, and affirm BIPOC and LGBTQ narratives

the blacklight summit
Johnnie Cruise Mercer — Photo: Ashima Yadava

Next weekend, The Clarice Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland will host a virtual three-day event featuring roundtable discussions, movement labs, and artistic presentations as part of a year-long dance initiative that aims, according to an official description, “to create a platform to amplify, inspire, and affirm the narratives/experiences of marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities,” and “to facilitate an equitable presentation series for emerging millennial artists of color.”

The three-day March summit is billed as “a Black, POC, and LGBTQ+ celebratory space and an open invitation for participation, learning, and conversation with all.”

Dance Place’s Christopher K. Morgan will give a Keynote Speech along with Kahina Haynes on the summit’s first day, Thursday, March 4, which will end with a co-presentation by Dance Place featuring short-form digital works performed by Shanice Mason and Carlo Antonio Villaneuva, two emerging dancers selected by Baltimore-based summit artists Candace Scarborough and Jamal Abrams. Mason, Villaneuva, Scarborough, and Abrams will also participate in a post-performance discussion exploring the summit theme of “amplifying unfairly silenced voices through action” led by Tariq Darrell O’Meally, the BlackLight curator/producer who is also a current Artist-In-Residence at Dance Place.

Additional highlights include a keynote speech by Dr. Gaynell Sherrod and the panel discussion “Undocumented & Uninterrupted: The Privilege of Being Left Alone” on Friday, March 5, and keynoter Ronya-Lee Anderson and the panel discussion “Knowledge is Power: Gatekeepers & Locksmiths” on Saturday, March 6.

Over the course of the three days, there will also be Breakout Discussions & Movement Workshops with additional featured artists, including Los Angeles-based dancer/choreographer Micaela Taylor of the TL Collective and New York-based dance performer/creator Johnnie Cruise Mercer of TheRedProjectNYC.

It’s all free, with streaming links to the events provided upon registration. Visit

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