Elijah Alhadji Gibson, Founder and Artistic Director of Social Movement Contemporary Dance (SMCD), began his training at the San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Gibson continued his education and studied dance in college and received his Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, with a focus on dance history, somatic studies, and pedagogy. In 1999, he joined the world-renowned Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, touring nationally and internationally, performing work by the late Gus Giordano, Margo Sappington, Billy Seigenfeld, Christopher Huggins, Mia Michaels, Liz Imperio, Randy Duncan, Mark Swanhart, Tony Powell, Ron De Jesus, Alberto Arias, and Davis Robertson, among many others.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Gibson has received commissions to create work around the world. In his artistic process, he draws on personal experiences, current issues, and systems surrounding him. Gibson's choreography reflects his belief that dance mirrors how people embrace and/or resist the cultural boundaries, limitations, and expectations laid upon them by social constructs. This conviction motivated Gibson's creation of We Are Greenwood, which received critical acclaim and has been performed both at the Kennedy Center and Jacob's Pillow. He followed up We Are Greenwood with The Black Card, an evening of new works providing a glimpse inside his personal experiences dealing with race, cultural affirmation, and expression in the United States. The show illustrated the problematic duality of assimilation, specifically, how one may reject their own cultural identity to fit in, and the aftermath of those choices. Through expression of the struggle against established systems of oppression that hinder the pursuit of the "American Dream," Gibson explored the boundaries of cultural appropriation and appreciation and offered a solution towards reconfiguring the ideas and values that have shaped the nature of subjugation in the United States.
PHOTO: Jared Doster
Gibson has also had the privilege of guest performing with many companies, including Instruments of Movement, Cirqua Rivera Dance Theater, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Especially Tap Chicago. He has taught throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Latvia, Spain, Ecuador, Canada, and Mexico, in addition to serving on the faculties of Gus Giordano Jazz Intensive, American College Dance Festival Association, Jazz Dance World Congress, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, RDA Midwest, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Leon Dance Arts NY, Embrace Dance Convention, Black College Dance Exchange, and Key West Modern Dance.