PCS Clyde’s

Photo First: Hope and joy

A showcase of student dancers highlights the talent and promise of a new generation.


Jump for Joy: Lighting up the Winter Showcase.


There were at least two people in awe at Da Vinci Arts Middle School on a mid-January evening while attending the Winter Showcase of Faubion and Harriet Tubman Middle School: this young lady and me.

As Harriet Tubman Principal Natasha Jackson, in unison with teachers, staff and musicians from the other organizations, put it: People of all races and all backgrounds are coming together to celebrate art and the achievement of these young dancers who have worked hard to present an incredible program. Both schools have a diverse student population, with many languages on their website to get information to all those parents who have newly arrived. To see all those different faces merge into dance ensembles that became one in the movement really represented hope: for a future where unity fights back the forces of segregation.

Harriet Tubman Principal Natasha Jackson.
Vice Principal Cleann Brewer.
Vice Principal Lavell Wood, with a student.

The program was focused on African dance but also had some modern dance pieces put in the mix. Oluyinka Parsons- Akinjiola and Sekou Walker did a marvelous job with the choreography; I can only begin to imagine the amount of work they put into this to reach such a tight performance. The Sebé Kan drummers had one of the most energetic sessions I have ever seen them perform, but the glory belonged to the dancers. They have come such a long way and between raw talent and tremendous amounts of rehearsal they were really hitting it.

Teacher/Choreographer Derrell Sekou Soumah Walker, with the next generation.
Teacher/Choreographer Oluyinka Akinjiola-Parsons.
Karida Griffith Walker.

Even during the nightmare of any live performer, when the technical equipment that played the music (by Ella Mai and Burma Boy for the modern dance pieces) somehow decided to quit midstream, they continued to dance with poise when the live drumming simply stepped in and rescued that moment. Bravo!

The musicians, from left: Dré Espinosa, Kahlil Cummings, Jelani Blunt, Hakim Muhammad, Derrell Sekou Soumah Walker, Naby Camara.

Girls and boys, across middle-school ages, showed not just skill and an increasing repertoire. They were so full of passion, so clearly in the moment exuberant and letting it fly that the entire auditorium was humming with excitement. It was simply a joyful moment during these dark January days.

Dances originated from diverse traditions: from an Afro-Cuban background, from the Guinea independence movement, some honoring the Sousou ethnic group, others the Mandeng and the old Mali empire. I will let the photographs speak for themselves.


MYS Oregon to Iberia

Last-minute rehearsal and warmup in the gym.
Waiting for the stars to appear …

Boys held their own…

… as did these warriors.

Energy was palpable:

Costumes were beautiful:

And the modern dance was evocative:

Let them all flourish and enrich our communities.



MYS Oregon to Iberia

  • Friderike Heuer’s photo essay was originally published on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, on her site YDP – Your Daily Picture,  under the headline There’s Hope. It is republished here with permission.

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Friderike Heuer is a photographer and photomontage artist. Trained as an experimental psychologist at the New School for Social Research, she taught at Lewis & Clark College until she retired to pursue art full time. Her cultural blog www.heuermontage.com explores art and politics on a daily basis through photography and commentary. She has exhibited most recently at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education and Camerawork Gallery, on issues concerning migrants and refugees. She frequently volunteers as a photographer for small, local arts non-profits. For more information, visit www.friderikeheuer.online.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Triangle Productions FLO
PCS Clyde’s
MYS Oregon to Iberia
Profile Theatre Orange Sky
OCCA Monthly
NW Dance Project
Maryhill Museum of Art
PAM 12 Month
Pacific Maritime HC Prosperity
PSU College of the Arts
Oregon Cultural Trust
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.