grace shinhae jun

grace shinhae jun, Ph.D. is a mother, wife, artist, scholar, organizer, and mover who creates and educates on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kumeyaay Nation. The daughter of a South Korean immigrant, a North Korean refugee, and Hip Hop culture, she values a movement practice that is infused with historical and contextual education and focuses on community, compassion, and empowerment to encourage rhythm and expression.

Her work as an educator and artist is influenced by choreographers Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Doug Elkins, and critical scholars Dr. Nadine George-Graves, Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Dr. Imani Kai Johnson, Dr. George Lipsitz, and her husband Dr. Jesse Mills.

She has worked with choreographers Rebecca Bryant, Monica Bill Barnes, Tammy L. Wong, Wendy Rogers, Victoria Marks, Gabe Masson, Allyson Green, Lionel Popkin, and Jean Isaacs. She has presented her work in Trolley Dances, Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Dumbo Arts Festival, San Diego International Fringe Festival, and at Link’s Hall. grace has choreographed for numerous staged plays, most notably for Will Power’s “The Seven” at Occidental College.

She is a founding core member of Asian Solidarity Collective, a grassroots organization committed to expanding Asian American social justice consciousness, condemning anti-Blackness, and building solidarity for collective liberation. Most recently grace has been working with artists and healers to launch the Street Dance Activism Global Dance Meditation for Black Liberation 28-day mediation series.

grace graduated with honors from UCSD with a BA in History and a BA in Choreography & Dance and received an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. With her dissertation “Moving Hip Hop: Corporeal Performance and the Struggle Over Black Masculinity”, grace received her PhD in Drama and Theatre through the joint doctoral program at UCSD/UCI. She continues to research and present her scholarly work on Hip Hop Dance and Culture and teaches at UCSD, San Diego City College, and with transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project.

Ant Black

Anthony Blacksher Ph.D. (Ant Black) has helped bring the San Diego poetry community to national prominence. He is one of the founders of Collective Purpose and the open-mic Elevated. A five-time member of the San Diego Poetry Slam Team he led the 2013 team to final stage at the National Poetry Slam. He is a professor of sociology at San Bernardino Valley College and a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University. His research interests include race and ethnicity, Black studies, popular culture, and the representation of spoken word poetry in commercial media. He is the associate publisher for the San Diego Poetry Annual and facilitates the blog which uses spoken word poetry to illustrate sociological themes. 

Miesha Rice-Wilson

Miesha “Ocean” Rice-Wilson is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and all things WOMAN. She has a B.A. and M. A. in English Literature and Liberal Studies and has been writing and performing original and collaborative works for over 15 years. She started traveling, teaching and performing poetry with the Concrete Generation, based in Charlotte, NC in 2005 where she was given the stage name: Ocean. She has released three spoken-word albums, placed 4th at the Women of the World National poetry slam in 2009, and has competed nationally with the two-time National Poetry Slam champions, SlamCharlotte and the 2011 Elevated! San Diego Slam Team. She was welcomed into the synergy of bkSOUL, a collective of artist for social justice advocacy in 2014, where she continues to practice her belief that the stage is a sanctuary and a vessel for expression. Ocean is a Teaching Artist with Arts For Learning San Diego where she develops personalized curriculum for performance poetry and ignites little fires in our future creatives.  Her opportunities for collaboration and teaching has been the most dynamic form of maintaining creativity. “I am always learning, and I love sharing and exchanging knowledge and experiences.”

Kendrick Dial

Kendrick Dial is a Navy veteran and artist with a purpose. Utilizing the mediums of theatre, poetry and music, he continues to find ways to balance his mediums artistic expression with meaningful messages understanding self-love, healthy relationships and social justice. He attended SDSU where he received his BA in Africana Studies/Psychology in 2010 and graduated in 2013 from USC with his MSW. His last productions include Blacktop Sky (IARP Theatre) and Ordinary Magic with Gill Sotu. He currently works as an EOPS counselor at City College, a trainer with the National Conflict Resolution Center, the Culturally Responsive Academy, and a coach the Strengths Finder Consultant Group.

Jesse Mills

Jesse Mills, Ph.D. (Director of Music) has been writing and playing music since age 11. His musical influences range from Jimi Hendrix to Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley to Maxwell, B. B. King to Meshuggah, Guns N Roses to Public Enemy. Jesse has sung with the New England Conservatory Gospel Choir, the Coro Alegro Italian folk choir (Santa Rosa, CA), and has performed solo and in ensemble settings in schools and coffee shops in Northern and Southern California. At the University of San Diego, he is currently Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department and the Humanities Center Chair of Collaborative Research. Jesse proudly serves the community as an artist, activist, and scholar, organizing with the taxi union UTWSD, social equity funders SECF, and Black Lives Matter San Diego. He has degrees in Philosophy, African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, and his research, teaching, and community work challenge racism, imperialism, and injustice to contribute to collective social transformation.

Shivon Carreño

Shivon Carreño is a trained jazz vocalist from San Diego and has been singing professionally since the age of 11. Shivon has performed at venues such as the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and The San Diego Dixieland Jazz festival, and Spreckels Theater to name a few. Shivon joined bkSOUL in 2014 and has had the honor of performing in Love H.E.R, Illegible, and The Lioness at the San Diego International Fringe Festival, Live Arts Festival, and the Social Justice Education Conference at San Diego City College. When not singing, Shivon is finishing her BS in Public Health, advocating for autistic people, providing coaching and education for parents of autistic children to ensure their needs are met in and out of school, creating a youth choir, tirelessly advocating for her patients at UC San Diego, and caring for her two sons, dog, and cat.

Ian Isles

Ian Isles is a native of San Diego where he formally began his dance training as a young adult. He earned a degree in World Arts & Cultures from UCLA where he focussed on Contemporary Modern Dance, Composition, and various somatic practices, he has finished the Integrated Movement Studies curriculum for Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals under the direct instruction of Peggy Hackney as well as the curriculum for the Body Arts & Science International school for Pilates under the direct instruction of founder Rael Isacowitz. He recently returned from Israel where he further studied Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language, Gaga, with Ohad Naharin himself as well as both current and former company members of Batsheva Dance Company. In addition to bkSOUL, Ian is currently working with Erica Buechner’s Sound Dance Company, has performed as a soloist for Vic Marks and David Rousseve, and performed for Jesse Zaritt, Mark Haim, Maria Gillespie’s Oni Dance, Nguyen Nguyen, Alexx Makes Dances, Ate9 dANCEcOMPANY, and Sara Silkin.