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Movement as Healing: An exploration through Film & Performance

  • Starline Social Club 2236 Martin Luther King Junior Way Oakland, CA, 94612 United States (map)

Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancers Adji Cissoko and Courtney Henry return to Oakland, celebrating five years of MATATU in the Bay Area. The occasion marks the dancers' third MATATU performance, and one of their last performances together before Henry re-centers her career in Berlin. 

Dancers, sisters, and friends, Adji Cissoko and Courtney Henry of Alonzo King LINES Ballet collaborate with filmmaker Lino Brown and Kora master Al Housseynou Cissoko in this open air expression of their personal journies. As fine artists performing on the world's most highly acclaimed stages, Cissoko and Henry believe that change is certain, and that movement is healing. Their opposing origins of Germany and the United States contribute to this conversation of identity with the inherent knowledge of movement as the conductor. In the many miles they've traveled together around the world, these women choose to return to the body - where memory, pleasure, and pain are stored; where restoration begins from the inside out.

Featuring Black women who've dedicated their lives to the language of ballet, participants gain a greater understanding of the dancers' missions to move the immovable despite outer realities, and in spite of inner struggles. Vulnerability. Honesty. Heart. Watch as their love of the moment and reverence of the movement connect the dots within, emanating the patterns of afar.

ADJI COSSOKO grew up in Munich, Germany where she trained at The Academy for Music and Theatre. At the age of 18, Cissoko moved to New York City in order to attend the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre on full scholarship, before joining the National Ballet of Canada in 2010. In 2012 she was awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada. Cissoko joined Alonzo King Lines Ballet in 2014.

COURTNEY HENRY, from West Palm Beach, Florida, began her training at Palm Beach Ballet Center. As a high school senior, Henry was a finalist and chosen to perform in Youth American Grand Prix’s “Stars of Tomorrow” program on the City Center stage in New York City. After graduating from A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, she returned to New York to attend Fordham University/The Ailey School, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in dance. Henry joined LINES Ballet her senior year of college in 2011. In 2013, Henry was honored with the Princess Grace Foundation – USA and Chris Hellman Dance awards. She began her first season with Richard Siegal’s “Ballet of Difference” in January 2017, and has since premiered new works in Cologne, Germany.

MATATU is a platform for conversation, experience, and expression that helps ordinary people share their journeys. Together, we hope to enhance empathy and understanding of the global human condition. 

We are a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts, and supported by KQED, East Bay Express, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Learn more about us at

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