SAMMAY (Samantha Peñaflor Dizon) is a Bay Area-based choreographer/producer and interdisciplinary performance artist of Kapampangan, Ilokano, and Bikol descent born and bred in Carson, CA/Tongva Territory and now reclaiming space in San Francisco, CA with honor and gratitude to the Ohlone. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Sociology and minors in Dance & Performance Studies and Global Poverty & Practice from UC Berkeley. SAMMAY defines her body as a “tool of resonance” for spiritual intercession and envisions a future in which our indigenous traditions co-exist with(in) our urban landscapes.
SAMMAY has performed in the works of Jack Gray, Rhodessa Jones, Alleluia Panis and has been featured through Diego Rivera Art Gallery, RAW Artists, and Dance Mission Theater’s D.I.R.T. - Dance In Revolt(ing) Times Festival among others. SAMMAY has taught throughout the Bay Area and was a guest artist through Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU where she taught for DANCES WITH WOLVES: Indigenous Contemporary Dance Master Class Series and performed in the first ever Indigenous Dance Forum. Her desire to discover global bodymindspirit connections and uncover the secrets left behind by her ancestors has also led her to Brazil, Philippines, Cuba, and New Mexico for Dancing Earth Summer Intensive led by Rulan Tangen. Most recently, SAMMAY traveled to Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC, Canada) where she performed and presented at the Third International Babaylan Conference.
SAMMAY is a two-time recipient of the "Presented by APICC" Artist Award which has enabled her to produce, choreograph, and curate for URBAN x INDIGENOUS at SOMArts Bay Gallery. She is part of the inaugural cohort of the CrossOver Collaborative Residency at Red Poppy Art House curated by Zena Carlota Pearl and Amara Tabor-Smith. SAMMAY is the Featured Artist for APAture 2016: Here and Performing Diaspora 2016 Artist-in-Residence at CounterPulse.
Founder/Producer of URBan x INDIGENOUS
Founded in January 2015, URBAN x INDIGENOUS (UxI) is a multi-disciplinary, inter-generational convening of artists, activists, incubators, scholars, and community members who seek to honor our ancestors and embrace our complex cultural identities.
Her choreography is a unique blend of Hip Hop, urban dance, and contemporary movement with African diaspora influence - inspired by the desire and longing to (re)connect and (re)vitalize our relationship with the earth and each other.
Sammay will finally be pursuing one of her lifelong dreams this 2017 - to record her first EP. Singing is her first love and she is excited to bring your a new sound interlaced with story - stay tuned for the release by the end of this year.
Known as 'Ms. Sammay' to her students - she has taught for various teams and studios in Northern California as well as within Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, USF's Performing Arts & Social Justice Department, and San Francisco Ballet School's Dance in Schools and Communities Program.
“You know a flower that grow in the ghetto know more about survival than the one from fresh meadows."
I am on a quest for deeper knowing through rooted movement and interconnected systems. I believe art is the most powerful process of self healing and self-discovery and so I want to not only use my artistry to bring knowing and understanding to the inequities we face each day but moreover, I want to use my artistic expression to un-layer the sediment and un-cover the deception that they have attempted to bury us in. Let us rise above this day and age in our most peaceful protest and let us use our movement to fuel the long-awaited movement towards peace, love, and equity.